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Blair backs UK education in LSBF interview

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair has stressed the importance of international education to the British economy in a recent interview sponsored by London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), the international business and language chain.

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair and education secretary David Blunkett discussed the importance of international education to the UKFormer UK prime minister Tony Blair and education secretary David Blunkett discussed the importance of international education to the UK

Blair emphasised the importance of attracting those from overseas to the UK

In the video interview with David Blunkett, a former education secretary and visiting lecturer at LSBF, Blair said that creating a knowledge-based economy in the UK that could be marketed around the world would be “central to prosperity”.

“Higher education is a major export… For many of the developing countries that need to develop fast, they need to import the academic and development capital. And if we’ve got institutions that are available to provide that capital, it’s of enormous benefit,” Blair said.

While not mentioning the government’s current policies on HE funding or student visas, Blair emphasised the importance of attracting those from overseas to the UK.

“The truth is that we’re up there now with the best in the world at attracting students from all over the world to come and study here. Those students will go back not just having studied the English language but [having] some tie to our country.”

The interview is a coup for fast-growing LSBF, which caters to 20,000 students from more than 150 countries each year. LSBF has campuses in the UK, Canada and Singapore. Blair praised the company’s innovative use of technology in its courses and defended the role of private providers in UK higher education – an issue that still courts controversy.

Anton Baboglo, managing director of the Business School at the LSBF said, “Higher education is currently high on the agenda in the UK both in terms of home and international students.

The interview is a coup for fast-growing LSBF, which caters to 20,000 students each year

“Given that one of Tony Blair’s most famous speeches was about “education, education, education”, we thought it would be a very interesting opportunity to have both a former UK Prime Minister and former Education and Home Secretary… in conversation discussing the UK’s future in light of current changes in higher education.”

LSBF has a rolling programme of high profile guest speakers designed to give students insights into the business world. Recent speakers have included David Blunkett, designer Paul Smith and eBay’s Miriam Lahage.

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