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UK govt announces new international education strategy

Ambitions to grow international student numbers by 30% and boost the economic impact of the industry to £35bn annually by 2030 are at the centre of the new UK International Education Strategy.

The strategy aims to boost international student numbers in the UK. Photo: Pixabay

An International Education Champion will be appointed to develop global partnerships

Announced today by the education secretary Damian Hinds and the international trade secretary Liam Fox, the strategy includes a number of measures to boost the sector’s role in the global market as the country prepares to leave the EU.

“There is no limit to our potential and this strategy will help cement our status as a world-leader in education”

“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,” Hinds said in a statement.

Among the key points of the strategy is an extension of the post-study work visa “to ensure the UK continues to attract and welcome” international students, and plans to improve the visa process and support student employability.

Included in the immigration white paper announced in late 2018, the new policy will give bachelor’s and master’s graduates six months and PhDs a year of post-study work leave.

Other propositions include the appointment of a new International Education Champion to develop global partnerships, tighter collaboration across government department on international education policy and a call for sector groups to bid into the £5m GREAT Challenge Fund to promote the UK internationally.

Hinds said, “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 strategy plans to take the number of international students in UK universities from the current 458,000 to 600,000 and to raise the £20bn a year generated by education export and transnational activities to £35bn over the next 10 years.

It will focus on “not only retaining links with Europe,” but strengthening the profile of the education sector in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

“From English Language Training in Latin America to Higher Education partnerships in Vietnam, trade minister Graham Stuart and I have encountered a remarkable amount of enthusiasm for British education goods and services across the globe,” Fox said in a statement.

“The ambitious target to grow the number of international students…sends a strong message of welcome”

There will also be a focus on improving availability of data on education exports to drive performance and map out further opportunities.

The new strategy was first announced in January at the World Education Forum, after months of consultation between the government and key industry organisations had taken place.

“Over the last six months we have been in regular dialogue with the Department for International Trade and the Department for Education regarding this strategy, facilitating ‘soft’ consultation with the sector, and we are pleased to note the cross-government approach announced today,” Universities UK president Janet Beer said in a statement, commenting on the announcement.

“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.”

Another point that Beer praised was the planned improvements to the visa regime, including the extension of PSW to six months for bachelor’s and master’s and one year for PhDs. However, she noted, UUK will keep advocating for a more generous provision.

“We would like the government to go further and extend this opportunity to at least two years and we will continue to urge them on this point,” she said.

English UK chief executive Sarah Cooper welcomed the announcement, praising the “holistic view of the industry” with the recognition of the importance of the ELT sector to the whole industry.

“The UK English Language Teaching industry is clearly seen as pivotal to the wider international education sector in this strategy, with a welcome recognition for the first time of the part it plays in introducing UK education to the wider world,” she said in a statement.

“We are excited by the opportunities this bold strategy outlines, both for the promotion of the UK as the premier destination for English language learning, but also the support planned for growing the export of UK ELT quality and expertise to countries across the globe.”


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7 Responses to UK govt announces new international education strategy

  1. It is good for the United Kingdom that more international students are coming to study in the UK universities; it is, however, equally important to realise that most students do not have the resources to make it. It is, therefore, important that the UK Government considers providing cheaper solutions to the students of developing countries by offering online programs, joint degree programmes by forging partnerships with universities in the South, and so on.

    • Thank you very much for that wonderful reply that was what I was about to say too some of us can’t afford the fee.

  2. Because I myself received offer from some universities there but due to financial issues am not able to attend but if it becomes affordable for us too then things will be easier as education is the key to one’s future.

  3. Hypercompetition anyone? By my count the 2030 growth targets of just the top 10 host countries exceed some estimates of the total number of globally mobile students.
    Everyone seems to have the same ‘Plan B’ and, for the most part, to be ignoring the fact that by 2030 the world will be a very different place:
    -a growing and ageing global population;
    -the displacement of 400 million workers from jobs affected by AI & automation;
    -the rise of Gen Z in the classroom and workplace;
    -the effects of climate change

    will all have profound impacts on international education as we currently know it.

  4. At Oxford EMI we work with universities around the world who are internationalising. We train lecturers to teach international classes. EMI stands for English Medium Instruction and this is a vital factor in attracting international students. Now, globally, students do not need to come to the UK to study through English. Top class universities around the world are offering high quality undergraduate and graduate courses taught through English. This means that the UK needs to be much more proactive and competitive so this is a welcome development.

  5. Its difficult for uk to rival other countries like USA Canada Australia, the have give financial solution for new coming student to chose UK as preferable distination

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