Indian beauty loves the Brit buzz

May 26, 2000

It was more like a movie premiere than the launch of a higher education recruitment campaign.

Celebrities from the worlds of film, TV and fashion joined politicians and businessmen for a glitzy gala party at the Park Royal Hotel in New Delhi to help promote British universities and colleges in India.

The British Council organised the glamorous gathering to hear British high commissioner Sir Rob Young announce a new undergraduate and vocational scholarships scheme as "the most significant step taken in the past decade to increase very substantially the number of Indian students going to the UK".

The scheme will offer 300 scholarships, bursaries and fee reductions worth more than Pounds 700,000 in 60 institutions that have come together to support the initiative.

It was launched at the celebrity bash, along with a new identity for UK education - "Education@UK: The best you can be" - as part of the government campaign to attract 50,000 more HE students and 25,000 more FE students to Britain by 2005.

The new scholarships add to a range of measures designed to ease access, including streamlining the visa application process, websites and e-recruitment services and improved arrangements for overseas students to take on term-time or vacation work.

British Council director Colin Perchard said there were now more than 6,000 young Indians in British schools, universities and colleges. They have been attracted by the quality and range of courses and facilities and by the "happening" lifestyle, he said.

Among the partygoers was the Indian former Miss World, Diana Hayden, who is studying for a postgraduate diploma at the Drama Studio in London. She told The THES she chose to study in the UK rather than the US "because the standard of education in Britain is so high and very well respected across the world".

She added: "I lived in the UK for two years after I won Miss World and I loved it. There is such a buzz, so many opportunities."

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