promote closer cooperation between Kolkata and Scotland in the education sector.
Speaking at a workshop on education links organised by Scotland’s Colleges International (SCI) in the city on Friday, Ms McKechin said Scottish colleges were ideally placed to train Indian students in a wide variety of subjects as well as form partnerships with educational institutions in Bengal to help deliver training, skills and tailormade training courses for this region.
According to 2007 figures, India is Scotland’s biggest international market for college students with more than 1,400 Indians studying in Scottish colleges and another 3,000 in Scottish universities. The minister said the curriculum at Scottish colleges was wide ranging, from engineering and construction to fashion and creative industries and even greens-keeping expertise.
British deputy high commissioner Simon Wilson also spoke about Indo-UK education ties, including fostering research and supporting skill development. He said the UK-India education and research initiative (UKIERI) where both countries have pledged 23 million pounds each to improve educational links, is progressing well with 475 new Indo-UK higher education and school links having been created over the past two years.
“The flexible and competence-based approach to vocational education makes our colleges very attractive to students from India and elsewhere,” said Ms McKechin. “The West Bengal government has identified biotechnology and information technology as potential growth industries to capitalise on the state’s pool of skilled people. Scotland has strengths in both sectors,” she added.