The brand new information from the Greater Schooling Statistics Company revealed that in 2020/21 the UK had hosted 152,905 college students from Europe (a rise of three% on 2019/20) and 452,225 from the remainder of the world (a rise of 11% on 2019/20).
The truth that the UK had reached this goal in 2020/21, an educational yr so closely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, made the information much more outstanding to some. It’s information although that for me needs to be seen as testomony to the laborious work of colleagues throughout the UK sector and to the braveness of the scholars themselves to proceed with their examine plans within the face of such uncertainty and adversity.
It is usually true, nevertheless, that as quickly because the information of the goal being met had damaged, questions began to movement in. Amongst them, how sustainable is that this progress, how ready was the UK for it and, with the goal met, is the UK’s Worldwide Schooling Technique nonetheless related?
Each 2020 and 2021 had been distinctive years for all, together with for the worldwide mobility of scholars. Whereas laborious to quantify, it appears possible that the increase to the UK’s numbers was not simply as a result of actions taken by the UK sector and authorities, although these shouldn’t be underestimated or undervalued, but in addition because of these of different governments and sectors all over the world.
Put merely, in the course of the essential conversion durations of spring and autumn 2020, the UK remained open to worldwide college students in a approach that different locations didn’t.
This and some different essential components such because the stark drop in EU functions and acceptances reported by UCAS for the present educational yr and the some indicators of cooling demand from China, seen in each HESA and UCAS stats, imply that we can’t be sure that this stage of progress might be sustained. Over the following few years, the UK sector might want to reply to the challenges of decreased EU scholar curiosity within the UK as a examine vacation spot and to the shifting sands of curiosity exterior of Europe.
The UK’s Worldwide Schooling Technique continues to be essential to making sure the long-term sustainability of this progress.
“Profiting from the Graduate route has been a much-discussed matter within the sector since its introduction”
Additionally essential is sustaining high-quality experiences and good outcomes for worldwide college students within the face of such progress, particularly throughout a worldwide pandemic, is one other extremely necessary subject. Profiting from the Graduate route has been a much-discussed matter within the sector since its introduction – we can not relaxation on our laurels and assume the provision of the route itself is ample.
How the sector delivers on this impacts not solely the UK’s present worldwide college students, but in addition its future attractiveness as a examine vacation spot. From first-hand expertise I do know it’s a matter that colleagues throughout the UK sector are working laborious on. For me, it’s important not solely to replicate on the magnitude of progress when contemplating the expertise and outcomes of worldwide college students, but in addition on the altering form of the worldwide scholar inhabitants within the UK and due to this fact the evolving nature of assist they could require.
Many people, myself included, are fast to confer with worldwide college students as a homogeneous group however they’re removed from it. The demographics of that group in UK universities are altering and, in some universities, altering quick. We want to verify all of us work collectively, together with with the UK authorities, to answer this, sharing greatest observe and channeling funding and focus into this space. As soon as once more, the UK’s Worldwide Schooling Technique with its actions referring to the worldwide scholar expertise and graduate employability stays a extremely related and necessary car by means of which to channel this necessary collective effort.
So, whereas the UK has met one of many targets in its Worldwide Schooling Technique, it’s not the top of the laborious work by any means. Now it’s time for the UK to focus greater than ever on the scholar and graduate expertise for the scholars who’ve chosen to check within the UK.
At Universities UK Worldwide’s Worldwide Greater Schooling Discussion board (IHEF), on-line on 16 and 17 March 2022, senior leaders in worldwide increased training from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, will talk about the massive points in worldwide scholar recruitment.
Discussions will revolve round aggressive benefit, the Covid 19 pandemic, and EdTech disruption. We are going to debate what the longer term could appear to be for worldwide scholar recruitment methods throughout these examine locations, together with the place the UK goes subsequent. Discover out extra right here.
Concerning the writer: Steph Harris is the Appearing Assistant Director for Coverage and International Engagement at Universities UK Worldwide, main the organisation’s work within the areas of worldwide scholar recruitment, transnational training, international analysis and innovation and worldwide expertise.