Positively international

August 6, 2015

I was encouraged by Sir Keith Burnett’s defence of the importance of international students (“Why are international students so important to our universities?”, Blog, 17 July).

Other countries have been far more proactive than the UK in promoting international education. Recently, Christopher Pyne, Australia’s minister for education, announced the creation of a coordinating council to develop a strategy that puts international education “at the heart of [the] nation’s economic prosperity”. By contrast, in a depressingly familiar scenario, our Home Office has presented international students with another set of restrictions: soon, they won’t be allowed to work while studying. This measure is likely to further dampen the UK’s appeal to students overseas, particularly in regions such as India.

Fortunately, Jo Johnson seems committed to using his position at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to attract more students; and the government is aware of the economic arguments for ensuring that the UK remains attractive to the “brightest and best” international students. We can only hope that BIS persuades the government to adopt more sensible policies that bring long-term benefits, for the UK and for students across the world.

James Pitman
Managing director, HE – UK and Europe, Study Group

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