Tamil Nadu Government partners with British Council for a hybrid student study programme

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Chennai, 16 February 2024: Today, British Council and the State of Tamil Nadu announced a short-term specialised course for 100 meritorious students from the state, under the GREAT Scholars for Outstanding Undergraduate Talent (SCOUT) programme by GREAT for Government of Tamil Nadu. The programme will deliver approximately 64 hours of comprehensive learning – 24 hours online. From this, the University of Durham will shortlist 25 students based on an online assessment and other criteria, who will visit the UK for an on-site classroom module, that will be delivered over a week (approx. 40 hours).

The primary goal of the initiative is to offer learning opportunities and essential skills to students with limited or no access to international education and enable them to take the path towards innovation and research on a global scale.

A memorandum of understanding was exchanged by Ms. Innocent Divya, IAS., Managing Director Tamil Nadu Skills Development Corporation and Ms. Janaka Pushpanathan, Director South India British Council in the presence of Thiru. Udhayanidhi Stalin, Honourable Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development, Government of Tamil Nadu and Oliver Ballhatchet MBE, British Deputy High Commissioner to Tamil Nadu & Puducherry.

Government of Tamil Nadu has identified two important themes for the proposed course/programme: Data Science: Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence: Practical Applications. These themes align with the larger objectives of the programme of democratising access to international education, empowering talented individuals, promoting academic excellence, innovation, and local impact. The programme aims to establish enduring collaborations between the Tamil Nadu Higher Education Institutions and UK Institutions, specifically supporting innovative transnational education (TNE) models for TN & UK higher education institutions.

The programme will enable students to develop critical thinking around AI, data science modelling, entrepreneurship and team building skills. The invaluable experiences gained through this initiative will significantly impact their future professional and academic path beyond the university.

Thiru. Udhayanidhi Stalin, Honourable Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development, Government of Tamil Nadu, said, “Our goal is to position Tamil Nadu as a leading center for advanced knowledge through global collaborations, and our deepening ties with the UK government align perfectly with this vision. This new program, complementing our existing merit-based scholarships, holds immense promise for the talented students selected from across the state. We anticipate that initiatives like these, alongside the ongoing efforts of the British Council and the Honourable Chief Minister’s flagship programme, ‘Naan Mudhalvan,’ will drive innovation and significantly enhance the employability of Tamil Nadu’s students. This programme further reinforces our commitment to building on the successful collaboration between Tamil Nadu and the British Council, and we eagerly look forward to more such collaborations that nurture the potential of our state’s budding talents.”

Janaka Pushpanathan, Director South India, British Council, said, “Over the years, Tamil Nadu and the UK have collaborated on diverse educational initiatives. We are excited to partner with the State government, sparking the development of programs that mutually benefit both regions, contributing to Tamil Nadu’s educational objectives. Through this alliance, our focus is to offer students a platform for global exposure and networking, enabling skill and knowledge enhancement through engagement with globally esteemed universities. We are looking forward to the impact of the programme, on the 100 selected students and we extend our best wishes for their future success.”

Programme Schedule:
The Programme be delivered in two phases on a hybrid model:

Phase 1
➢ 100 students nominated by the state of Tamil Nadu as per the agreed criteria.
➢ 24-hour online module by UK institution – to be completed by February 2024.
➢ UK higher education institution conducts an online assessment and shortlists 25 students (end February 2024)
➢ Certificate of participation to be issued to all students who complete the final assessment.

Phase 2
➢ The 25 students (with 5 students on reserve list) visit UK for a 40-hour course (March 2024)
➢ The state will identify and support travel of two accompanying staff with the students
➢ UK university to arrange accommodation
➢ Cultural immersions in terms of tours, visits, dinners to be arranged for the visiting
➢ Post visit event to be organised by Tamil Nadu government within 60 days of return.
For more details, you may visit www.britishcouncil.in