A team comprising myself, Maria Fasli, David O’Mahony, Vanessa Potter, Louise Beard and Ivan Hutchins visited India to meet with university partners, raise the profile of the university and host our first graduation ceremony in India – and the first graduation of any UK university in the country. Supported by Lorena Saiano and Jasmine Gray and our regional team in India led by Sandeep Sharma, 67 graduates and over 200 supporters attended this wonderful ceremony in Aero City and we awarded four VC’s Awards to amazing Essex graduates Sanchita Ain, a human rights lawyer and an Advocate-on-Record in the Indian Supreme Court, Ankit Mehrotra founder of Dineout and an Angel Investor, space scientist Anushree Srivastava and Manish Michael, head of the Partnership for Reliance Foundation.

Students at India Graduation 2024 in New Delhi.

We also visited OP Jindall University, Bennett University, Ashoka University and Amity University in the New Delhi National City Region. In addition, Louise Beard met with the British Council to discuss current and future opportunities, Maria Fasli gave two guest lectures, I was a panel member of an international higher education conference at Amity University, and a number of the team gave interviews to media outlets, to raise the profile of the University and the value of a British university experience. Transferring to Chennai, we visited SRM University, Vellore Institute of Technology and Anna University. 

Three students at our India Graduation in New Delhi. 2024.

The Indian Government is requiring all undergraduate degrees to move from 3 to 4 year undergraduate degree programmes, creating a number of opportunities, if we can offer progression routes onto our degree programmes and joint degrees. A strong theme was a focus on employability, internships and placements, so that when students graduate they are well placed either to get a great job in the UK, through the Graduate Visa (post study work visa) route, or in other countries. We highlighted the very exciting “Essex for All’ initiative and the recently approved and unique Essex PGT international student health bursary, where we cover the cost of the NHS Surcharge, as a way to address some of the additional costs of studying in the UK. With over 2000 students from India, this is now our largest group of students from any one country and the Indian sub-continent will remain a very important region of the world, both for recruitment and research partnerships.