The Institute of International Education in New York points out that despite record numbers of overseas students admitted to United States colleges the rate of increase there is slowing down (THES, February 3). This is especially true in the countries where competition from the United Kingdom and Australia is most intensive.
The British Council's Education Counselling Service has just completed a market survey in Malaysia, the country that provides more overseas students to the UK than any other. There was an enormous increase in the numbers of students going to the US during the early 1980s, peaking in 1985 when approximately 23,000 young Malaysians furthered their education in the US. But the trend has been downward with 13,720 claimed last year. Britain's numbers fell dramatically to less than 6,000 in the early 1980s following the imposition of full-cost fees. Since then the partnership of British education institutions and the British Council in the form of the Education Counselling Service has seen numbers rise to the present 13,000, only slightly less than the total in the US.
A similar story can be told for the numbers of overseas students coming to the UK from Taiwan, while increases are now showing from Pakistan, India and China, countries from where the increase in number of students going to the US is declining.
So far there has been little challenge to the US in her traditional markets, especially South America. This may change as the Education Counselling Service plans to diversify activities into new countries. Total numbers of overseas students in the UK now stand at 107,000 for courses of nine months or more and the partnership of the British Council and British education plans to make this total even higher.
Business Development Manager
The British Council