The event was organised by the British Council in cooperation with the British Embassy with the online participation of the UK Minister responsible for European affairs, Ms Wendy Morton, the Deputy Minister of Education for Higher Education, Mr Vassilis Digalakis and the British Ambassador to Greece, Ms Kate Smith. The event, with a longer duration and different structure, would be part of the Minister's planned visit to Athens which was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Minister Wendy Morton had the opportunity to exchange views with representatives of bodies related to UK education in Greece, on the impact of increased tuition fees, on the interest of Greek students in UK education as well as the opportunities for the further development of the educational relations of the two countries in the post-Brexit era. The UK minister praised the contribution of Greek students and academics to UK education and academia and expressed confidence that, despite the changes, educational ties and partnerships will remain strong. She also referred to the possibility for undergraduate and postgraduate students to remain in the UK for 2 years following the completion of their studies for job search. Similarly, doctoral students may remain in the UK for 3 years.
The Deputy Minister of Education for Higher Education, Vassilis Digalakis stressed the deep-rooted relations between the two countries in secondary and higher education. Regarding higher education in particular, he referred to the contribution of UK education to the studies of many Greek students and the professional development of Greek academics. He also noted that the internationalisation of higher education and the attraction of foreign students to Greece are a strategic priority of the Greek Ministry of Education and, as a result, the Ministry has established a framework that encourages the formation of international partnerships. Finally, he expressed confidence that close educational cooperation will continue in the post-Brexit era.
Kate Smith, British Ambassador to Greece, after welcoming and thanking the ministers for their participation, stressed the great importance of education in bilateral relations between the two countries. She expressed her strong will to help maintain these close ties despite the challenges of Brexit and increasing competition from other European countries as well as her readiness to support and utilise opportunities and prospects for new partnerships.
Closing the event, Anastasia Andritsou, Director of the British Council Greece who moderated the discussion, highlighted the primary importance of education in the work of the British Council in Greece and the close cooperation of the British Council and the British Embassy with the relevant bodies in Greece and the UK, to achieve mutually beneficial relations and partnerships.