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Students sample U.K. varsities

Staff Reporter
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Greener pastures:At the Education U.K. exhibition organised by the British Council in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday— Photo: S. Mahinsha
Greener pastures:At the Education U.K. exhibition organised by the British Council in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday— Photo: S. Mahinsha

Colourful brochures, catchy flyers, weighty prospectuses and a line-up of engaging “international officers” full of facts, figures and hard sell…. For 340 students and their parents who walked into the Education U.K. exhibition organised at Mascot Hotel on Tuesday, the United Kingdom had seldom been packaged like this before, here.

Aspirants for an education in the U.K. were not just bombarded with details of the courses on offer and the implied conditions, they were also counselled on how higher education in Britain is cardinally different from its Indian counterpart.

Rajendra Sampat, International Development Manager (south Asia) for the University of East London, toldThe Hindu that he always pointed out to prospective students how universities in the U.K. placed a premium on self-study, critical thinking, and thinking out of the box. Students coming from India may be used to a lot of hand-holding. That did not happen in an U.K. university.

Non-payment of fee in a timely manner, lack of adequate attendance for courses and issues relating to plagiarism in academic work were some of the problems faced by foreign students in the universities there. He also made it a point to brief students on the do's and don'ts relating to ‘working while studying' in the U.K.

On hand at the exhibition, to try and infuse confidence in would-be students, was Jeethu Cherian, a native of Kottayam, who completed her masters in international relations in 2010 from London Metropolitan University. She toldThe Hindu that a stint in the U.K. helped her become a more confident individual, one who was aware of her capabilities. And what did the students want to know about the most? Mainly about the content of various courses, explained Rob Reeves, international officer for Staffordshire University. Students also wanted to know about scholarships available and about working part time in the U.K. Universities in the United Kingdom often organised a “welcome week” to allow foreign students time to find their feet and get to know people, he added.

L. Dhanasekaran, head of Education U.K. in South India, toldThe Hindu that the participating universities were very pleased with the response they received at the exhibition.

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