UK government publishes new international education strategy

The British Government has published a new International Education Strategy outlining plans to increase student numbers and income generated from international education.

The new strategy would aim to increase the number of international students studying in the UK by more than 30 per cent.  This would help boost the income generated by education exports to £35 billion.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox have published a brand-new International Education Strategy looking to cement Britain’s leading role in the global market as it prepares to leave the EU.

The UK currently hosts around 460,000 international higher education students at any one time. The strategy sets out an ambition to grow the total number of international students during the year to 600,000. The plan focuses on not only retaining existing markets such as Europe, but raising the profile of the education sector in global markets such as Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“The UK’s education system is world-leading and its reputation is the envy of many countries around the globe,” said Minister Hinds. “As we prepare to leave the EU it is more important than ever to reach out to our global partners and maximise the potential of our best assets – that includes our education offer and the international students this attracts.

“There is no limit to our potential and this strategy will help cement our status as a world-leader in education, while creating real benefits for the country and students across the globe.”

The international education strategy includes a number of measures to help the sector maximise the potential of UK education exports abroad, including:

– Appointing a new International Education Champion to boost overseas activity by developing strong partnerships and tackling challenges across the world;

– Encouraging sector groups to bid into the £5 million GREAT Challenge Fund to promote the entire UK education offer internationally;

– Extending the period of post-study leave for international student visas, considering how the visa process could be improved for applicants and supporting student employment;

– Improving data on education exports to enhance and drive performance while also mapping out where the best opportunities lie globally; and

– Closer working across government departments on international education policy and opportunities.

There will be no limit on the number of international students that can study in the UK, and to ensure the UK continues to attract and welcome them, the post-study leave period will be extended to six months for undergraduate and masters students attending institutions with degree awarding powers, and a year for all doctoral students. The strategy also looks at ways of supporting international students into employment.

“I strongly welcome the publication of this strategy as a signal of a change in direction,” said Professor Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK. “I particularly welcome the ambitious target to grow the number of international students to 600,000 by 2030 which sends a strong message of welcome.”

Article published 19th March 2019