Foreign Students in English Unis in Decline

The number of foreign students admitted at universities in England declined for the first time in 29 years, BBC News said, citing a report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

According to the Hefce report — Global demand for English higher education — the number of students from the European Union and other parts of the world has slid from 311,800 in academic year 2011-2012 to 307,205 in academic year 2012-2013. The report says that most decline were in the number of university entrants from South Asia, like India and Pakistan, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

In 2011-2012, the number of Indian students in English universities was 13,250, but dipped to just 10,235 in 2012-2013. On the other hand, there were 4,580 Pakistani students in 2011-2012, but for 2012-2013, their numbers dropped 38 per cent to 2,825.

The Hefce report noted that the decline in foreign students was especially evident in the postgraduate market. It showed that between 2010-2011 and 2012-2013, the number of full-time international postgraduate students in England dropped from 72,245 to 71,260. Of the total full-time postgraduate numbers in England, UK students accounted for 26 per cent at 30,320, followed by those from China (23 per cent at 26,860)

Stricter visa regulations since April 2012 have been blamed for the decline. Under the Tier 4 visa regime, students from abroad are asked with tougher questions regarding their destination. The regime also provided limits on the students’ ability to work in England and carried stiffer rules on their English-language capability. Critics said the rules would discourage international students from studying in England. Interestingly, international students are worth up to £3 billion a year to universities in the UK.

Why should UK universities and colleges be concerned of the number of international students taking their courses?

According to Hefce chief executive Professor Madeleine Atkins, the analysis paved for greater understanding of the global demand for English higher education. She said that international students enrich UK universities and colleges “academically, culturally, and through their contribution to the economy.”

“Supporting high-quality international education is a crucial part of ensuring that the UK continues to engage with, and benefit from, the increasingly interconnected world,” Atkins was quoted by BBC News as saying.

On the other hand, a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills quipped that international students make a huge contribution by boosting the economy and enhancing cultural life. The spokesperson said that this is the reason why there is no limit on the number of legitimate students who can study in England.

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, meanwhile, remarked to BBC News that if the UK wants to fulfil its potential in this growth area, there is a need for policies to attract qualified international students to the country.

“This is why in the run up to the general election, Universities UK will be calling for a growth strategy for international students,” Dandridge said.


To read the whole article from BBC, “Decline of overseas students at England’s universities,” click here.


About ugnholmes

I could call myself as a social reformist with a focus on education. Education is a path, life is a way. I love nature and animals and at the same time I love reading and writing. I love arts and sports and I also have a deep inkling for science. Eugene Holmes is a news breaker, trivia bringer and essay writer for you.

Posted on April 7, 2014, in News and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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