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Commonwealth Scholarships

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer to the right hon. Lord Morris of Manchester of 14 October 2008, Official Report, House of Lords column WA45, on the Commonwealth Scholarships Programme, whether the working group on scholarships has been formed; what its (a) composition and (b) mandate is; and when it is expected to report. (240672)

The interdepartmental working group on scholarships has been established. Its membership includes the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Department for International Development, UK Trade and Investment, the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly Government (to be confirmed), the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland, Universities UK, Research Councils UK, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council, The Russell Group, the British Council, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and the Confederation of British Industry (to be confirmed).

The group is a vehicle for the exchange of information and ideas between government, the higher education sector and organisations which deliver scholarships in order to improve the UK scholarship offer to international students. Its terms of reference are for approval at its first meeting on 19 February 2009, but I have placed the draft terms in the Library of the House.

The group does not have a deadline to produce a report. It will continue to work for as long as is useful.