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UK: QAA publishes student experience guide

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has published a guide for UK higher education providers to support and enhance the experience of international students studying at their institutions.

"At the core of the international reputation of UK higher education is its quality"

The guide, which has been released this month, provides information and advice to staff at higher education providers, such as international officers and student services managers, with the aim of developing and maintaining an inclusive environment for international students.

“The idea behind the guide is to facilitate the sharing of good practice across the sector”

Entitled Supporting and Enhancing the Experience of International Students in the UK: A Guide for UK Higher Education Providers it outlines information in three main areas: recruitment and admissions; arrival and inductions; and learning and enabling student development.

Published this month and available online, the guide gives practical advice to educators. For example it says during the orientation period, providers will find it helpful to give details on how to open a bank account, arrangements for healthcare, details on safety and personal security, as well as advice on dealing with culture shock.

It also advises on having in place certain arrangements to help students where English is not their first language, as well as to ensure they can cope with the workload demand.

Fabrizio Trifiro, international manager at QAA, said that the guide should be seen by providers as a “reference tool for reviewing and enhancing their practices”.

“The idea behind the guide is to facilitate the sharing of good practice across the sector, with regard to supporting and enhancing the experience of international students throughout their student life cycle, from the marketing and recruiting stage to graduation,” he told The PIE News.

QAA is an independent body entrusted with advising and monitoring on quality standards in the UK. All institutions that provide directly funded higher education subscribe to the organisation including all public institutions.

With the newly elected UK government keen to increase education exports to £30bn by 2020, Trifiro emphasised how the guide conveys that both the QAA and the UK “take the experience of international students coming to study in the UK very seriously”.

“The guidance is further there also to signify and acknowledge that at the core of the international reputation of UK higher education is its quality,” he said.

“And to remind higher education providers that the quality of the student experience should be at the heart of their strategies for international student recruitment.”

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