Flawed student survey does not reflect reality

May 31, 2018

We at the National Union of Students are aware of the faults in the recent Migration Advisory Committee survey of students that resulted in it being halted (“Withdrawal of ‘flawed’ international student survey welcomed”, www.timeshighereducation.com, 18 May). While the MAC certainly must seek to gain a better understanding of the relationship between home and international students, it must do so in a sound and appropriate way.

Unfortunately, the survey was inherently flawed and included many of the tropes characteristic of the government’s hostile attitude towards immigrants. The questions suppose an “us” and “them” between UK and international students, with one question even asking students to make a judgement, seemingly based on appearance, about how many international students are in their class. This is not only shockingly insensitive, but it does not reflect the reality of our diverse yet cohesive university communities.

The survey was also open to abuse. There was no verification process for respondents, who were thus able to complete the survey more than once, if they wished. The survey results were intended to inform future policy that could affect the lives of thousands of students. That this could be based on such shoddy research should be a cause for scandal.

We welcome the speedy removal of the survey by the Home Office, and request that all data collected so far be discarded immediately.

Yinbo Yu 
NUS International Students’ Officer

Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@timeshighereducation.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments