LONDON: The British Council has opened the latest round of scholarships for 2019-20, worth 1 million pounds, for 70 Indian women wanting to pursue a Masters degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the UK. Britain's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities announced the second round of the 70th Anniversary Scholarship programme last week, as Prime Minister Theresa May felicitated the previous set of 104 Indian women STEM scholars who are studying at 43 universities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in London on Friday.
"Meeting the Prime Minister at her home in 10, Downing Street is an unforgettable day for our scholars," said Alan Gemmell, India Director, British Council.
"The scholars' visit is a reminder of the critical importance of the educational relationship between Britain and India and that the UK welcomed 18,000 students from across India last year," he said.
Gemmell described the 104 women, who comprise the 2018 British Council 70th Anniversary Scholars, as ambassadors for the future relationship between the UK and India - a relationship focused on "creativity, innovation, and life-changing opportunities".
More than 50 per cent of the 104 scholars from 2018 are from Tier 2 and 3 Indian cities, which the British Council said underlines its commitment towards improving access to quality education, skills and qualifications across the country, and creating opportunities for Indian women to succeed in India and globally.
Sheryl Paul, British Council scholarship winner from Maharashtra who is studying for her MSc in Computer Science from University of Oxford, said, "The past year has been one of the most fulfilling years of my life. From finding out about the British Council STEM scholarships to meeting some of the most influential people across the world as a result of the scholarship, and pursuing a world-class Masters degree in the UK, it has all been great".
"I aim to make the most of this opportunity and am very excited to learn that this opportunity has been extended to more Indian researchers".
As part of the second edition, the British Council and some of the world's best universities located in the UK will fund full tuition scholarships worth 1 million pounds for 70 Indian women to study a Masters programme in STEM subjects for the academic year of 2019-20.
Female candidates with an offer from a UK university by January 30, 2019, will be eligible to apply for this new round of scholarships.
"British Council's investment in women scholars supports Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shift to women-led development and the British Council's own focus on women and girls and UN Sustainable Development Goal 5," the British Council said in a statement.
It highlighted the rising numbers of Indian students choosing the UK as a destination for higher education, with a 32 per cent hike in the number of Tier 4 (student) visas granted to Indian nationals in the year ending June, 2018.
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