New Delhi, Sept. 13: India has asked Britain to protect the interests of its students following the bar on the London Metropolitan University from teaching anyone from outside the European Union.
An estimated 277 Indians figure among the university’s 2,000-odd overseas students, who may have to leave Britain unless they can secure transfers to other institutions within November 30.
The London Metropolitan University (LMU), however, said on its website today that it had challenged the curb in the high court, which would hear the matter on September 21.
India’s HRD ministry has conveyed its concerns to the country’s London mission, which has taken the matter up with a British taskforce set up on the issue.
The taskforce is made up by representatives from the Higher Education Funding Council for England; Universities UK; the department for Business, Innovation and Skills; the UK Border Agency and the National Union of Students. “The taskforce has said efforts are on to accommodate the students in other institutions,” a ministry source said.
Last month, the UK Border Agency withdrew LMU’s licence to teach students from outside the European Union after it found many of its international students violating visa conditions.
The Border Agency, which has not revealed what the violations were, will tell the affected students they must obtain a transfer to a new university within 60 days from October 1, or they may have to leave the country.
Professor Keith Hoggart, vice-principal of King’s College London, said Universities UK had asked its 120 member universities to explore ways of accommodating the affected LMU students.
“I shall be surprised if they do not find places in other universities. But the universities will consider the transfers on a case-to-case basis,” Hoggart, who is in India, said.
He said factors such as the availability of seats in the subjects being studied by the LMU students, and the academic performance of the students, would determine which student gets a transfer.
Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the Cambridge University vice-chancellor, who is now touring Indian institutions, told The Telegraph: “We (Cambridge University) get serious (overseas) students. They enrich the academic strength of the university. The way the LMU issue has been handled is a concern. We want Britain to be welcoming foreign students.”
The principal of King’s College London, Professor Sir Rick Trainor, said many universities have their agents in India and other countries to recruit students. These agents do not educate the students about the visa conditions and about what they should avoid doing in the UK when they are there on a study visa.