International Educator - November/December 2014 - 26

InternatIonalIzatIon
StrategIeS

26  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR N O V + D E C .14

Investment government department]
and the British Council to tackle the
growing negative misconceptions, with
the British Council as the key delivery
partner on education," says Hughes.
Recently, the UK Prime Minister [David Cameron] went to India
to declare that there was no cap on
international recruitment. "After a
concerted effort to dispel myths and
reach out to ambitious young people,
we had a 10 percent increase in Indian
undergraduate applications to the UK
in 2013-2014," Hughes says.

Impacts of Immigration Policies
With parliamentary elections scheduled for 2015 and immigration still a hot-button issue, the largest questions
for many, however, is whether the politically charged talk
on immigration could inflict new wounds and whether
the nation's immigration policy is, in relative terms,
sufficiently accommodating to not create a competitive disadvantage compared with countries aggressively
courting students with more generous policies to award
visas, to allow work while studying, and to remain in their
countries after graduation, such that it will offset the UK's
other higher education advantages.
UK universities are actively involved in seeking immigration solutions. "We are very actively involved in that
effort," says Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, a body that represents universities in the UK.
"We are promoting a system of coregulation of student immigration [between higher education institutions and the
government] to make sure the students in the system are
compliant but to also send a positive message to students.
It is painful, slow, and resource-intensive work that involves
matching their resources and ours. If a student wants to
have a job but has no skills in higher education, we do not
want him or her to gain admittance to the university system. But it's an academic judgment at the end of the day.
These are autonomous universities and it is wholly inappropriate for the government to be making these decisions."

A National Strategy
The country is seeking to build and fine-tune its academic
outreach to international students with a new International Education Strategy (IES) outlined in a report published
in July 2013, International Education: Global Growth
and Prosperity. It sets a goal of increasing the number of
international students in higher education in the UK by

UNIVERSITIES UK

The impact of higher education as an
export market in the UK is large, with the
UK Department for Business, Innovation
and Skills estimating that in 2011 education exports were worth £17.5 billion, or
nearly $30 billion, to the UK economy.
So it was a cause for alarm when
an April 2014 report, Global Demand
for English Higher
Nicola Dandridge
Education, by the
Higher Education
Funding Council for England, showed
a drop in international and EU students
registered on full-time programs at English higher education institutions from 2011-12 to 2012-13, the first drop
in 29 years of measurement.
However, subsequent recruitment numbers appear
to suggest that the decline was an anomaly and limited
to certain submarkets. "The most recent [Universities
and Colleges Admissions Service] application data from
March 2014 shows a year on year nine per cent increase
in applications to UK universities from non-European
Union [EU] applicants," says Rebecca Hughes, director of
education for the British Council, the UK's international
organization for educational opportunities and cultural
relations. "There are increasing numbers of international
students coming to the UK for pre-university courses, and
then continuing for an undergraduate course. Postgraduate taught master's courses remain very popular. There are
also increasing numbers of students coming from 'new'
markets, Brazil, Nigeria, and others."
Much of the recruitment downturn from 2011-12 to
2012-13 was related to the Indian subcontinent, where
popular press accounts of UK government efforts to limit
illegal immigration and an actual change to student visa
regulations in 2010 led to the impression in some Indian minds that Indian students were not wanted. Other
factors contributing to the decline included improved
educational opportunities at Indian institutions and a less
favorable exchange rate, Hughes notes.
A variety of British Council and other governmental
efforts are now aimed at improving results in that market and, according to Hughes, are having an impact. "We
have an active campaign in India, in partnership with UK
education institutions, and government departments, to
'demystify' the visa application process, along with stories
of success from Indian UK alumni, and Indians currently
studying in UK," Hughes says. "For example, in India,
the GREAT campaign was launched in 2013 jointly by
the [Foreign & Commonwealth Office], [UK Trade and



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