Name of Oxford University commands high respect in the field of education as many renowned scholars of the world are connected with it. Located at one and a half hour’s driving distance from London, this university has become a popular city, full of local residents and students coming from all across the world. Various buildings hosting colleges, administrative offices, restaurants & cafes, residences, museums and bookstores seem to form an educational town.
To take stock of educational co-operation with this University, Her Excellency, Mrs. Ruchi Ghanashyam, High Commissioner of India to the UK visited Oxford on 31st May 2019. During the visit, she held a fruitful meeting with the Vice Chancellor of the University to explore possibility of further strengthening engagement in the field of education.
Visit to the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, meeting with its director and academicians, formed an important part of her programme. The Centre studies and offers courses in Hindu culture, religion, languages, literature, philosophy, history, arts, and society. Its 19 online courses have 1200 enrolments from many parts of the world. Mrs. Ghanashyam also had a guided tour of the Ashmolean Museum which exhibits a number of artefacts showcasing ancient Indian culture.
Later half of the day was full of activities in the Somerville College where she held meeting with its Principal and academic staff, conversed with Indian students, and also planted a tree to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Principal of the Somerville and the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, referred to the fact that Cornelia Sorabji was the first Indian woman to study at Oxford, the first woman of any nationality to read law at Oxford and the first woman to practice law in both India and the UK. Smt. Indira Gandhi, first female Prime Minister of India also studied modern history in this college in1937.
The visit of the High Commissioner was important in the backdrop of that fact that the number of Indian students in the UK has crossed twenty thousand this year. While Oxford University has over 23000 students representing more than 140 countries, the number of Indian students in Oxford is only 400. One may hope that more Indians will come to the UK for pursuing academic and professional degrees.