Foreign Affairs CommitteeSupplementary written evidence from the Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford

COMMONWEALTH SCHOLARSHIPS

I was delighted to take part in the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) evidence session on 12 June, and to be able to assist your inquiry into the role and future of the Commonwealth -an organisation I feel passionately about. I was impressed with the wide-ranging discussion, demonstrating that the Commonwealth really is the necessary network of the future. Commonwealth scholars are a vital part of this network, and I was pleased that Andrew Rosindell raised the subject of Commonwealth Scholarships. Following this discussion, I thought it would be useful to set out the main facts on UK funded scholarships available to Commonwealth citizens ahead of your report.

The United Kingdom supports two scholarship programmes open to Commonwealth students:

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP).

Chevening Scholarships.

Funding for these programmes comes from different government departments, including the Department for International Development (DfID). The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The UK contribution to the CSFP is administered by the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission (CSC). You will be pleased to know that DfID has increased their funding and is providing up to £87 million of funding over a period of four years (2011–12 to 2014–15) to the CSC. I enclose a table selling out all HMG funding to the CSC and Chevening Scholarships.

In some cases, universities support Commonwealth Scholarships with joint funding. Universities and private sources also offer scholarships in their own right, which may or may not involve Commonwealth recipients. These do not typically involve government funding and no central record is maintained.

The CSC provide figures annually for the number of new recipients of awards, and the number of continuing recipients of awards in any year. The figure for continuing students is significantly higher than for new recipients, as some awards, notably those for doctoral study and those for part-time distance learning, extend beyond a single year. The figure of 1,478 for 2008–09 quoted by Andrew Rosindell at the evidence session represented the number of continuing students (described as on award). The figure for new awards in that year was actually 699. By 2011, new awards had risen to 734 but the figure for students on award had declined to 1,357. This was not due to the funding in those particular years, but represented figures for those who had completed their courses, approved as part of a special allocation by DfID In 2006. Although it is too early to give a precise figure for the number of new awards in the current financial year, this is estimated to be approximately 800.

Chevening scholarships also benefit Commonwealth citizens. They support FCO objectives by creating lasting positive relationships with future leaders, influencers and decision makers. The Chevening programme, begun in 1983, has developed into a prestigious international scheme offering about 700 scholarships each year. Chevening is a global programme and about a third of these awards go to Commonwealth countries. A total of 198 Chevening scholarships were awarded to citizens of Commonwealth countries in 2011–12 and India is amongst the top five recipient countries. We estimate that there will be well over 700 Chevening Scholars in total in 2012–13, but numbers have not yet been finalised.

I am delighted that overall, funding for Commonwealth Scholarships has increased in the past two years, and a four year settlement has ensured that this trend will continue until 2015. When compared on a like for like basis, award numbers are also increasing. Therefore funding has increased in real terms over the period 2011–15.

Commonwealth Scholarships have vast benefits and provide a valuable tool for future cooperation in a rapidly changing global landscape. We will continue to support Commonwealth Scholarships where possible. I hope you find this Information helpful.

Annex

COMMONWEALTH SCHOLARSHIPS FIGURES

UK Government Funding Allocations to the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission (CSC) by Year

Department

2009–10

2010–11

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

DFID

£17.4m

£17.5m

£19.1m

£21.1m

£23.4m

£24.1m

BIS

£400,000

£400,000

£400,000

£400,000

£400,000

£400,000

Scottish Government

£50,000

£50,000

£50,000

£50,000

£50,000

£50,000

Chevening Scholarships (Funded by the FCO) by Year

Chevening Scholarships

2009–10

2010–11

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

Chevening Scholars
(totals)

970

598

700

Estimated at 700 but still to be finalised

(Approximately
£15m)

(Approximately
£19m)

(Approximately
£20m)

Chevening Scholars
(Commonwealth only)

Figures unavailable

Figures unavailable

198

4 September 2012

Prepared 14th November 2012