As an academic with experience in the UK and Saudi Arabia’s university systems, I welcome Faisal Abaalkhail’s accurate description of a “lowering of standards” in the UK as a result of an eagerness to recruit overseas students (“UK receives a rather undiplomatic assessment”, News, 26 March). It is an issue that is both real and a growing challenge, particularly for ill-equipped academic staff at the coalface. I believe, given the extent of investment from abroad, that there is a duty of care for the issue to be raised and some attempt made to ameliorate these poor experiences for future students. At the moment, attempts by UK universities to accommodate international students fall short of the large investments from overseas.
English language ability was identified as a concern. This is also an issue for more mature postgraduate international students and for native English speakers as well.
I don’t believe that there is any evidence of Abaalkhail’s presentation being “undiplomatic” – this seems to be used as a convenient coincidence and sidelines the main issues.