Graham Able, Chair, Exporting Education UK, has responded to a leading article published in the Times (24.2.15) on Education as Export:
Education as Export (The Times, 24.2.15, via subscription) highlights that students from overseas provide a very valuable source of foreign exchange to the UK. Beyond the strong contribution international students make to the UK economy, international students also give British students an opportunity to interact with, understand and learn from those from different cultures. Long-term, overseas students provide an important source of our nation’s ‘soft power’.
The international education export industry is rapidly expanding, but the UK is in real danger of losing its market share to the global competition. The UK should be making a clear, consistent and attractive offer to international students, benchmarked against our leading competitors: Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. The reintroduction of the right to work in the UK for two years post-graduation for international students and an extension to all students of the right to undertake paid work during their higher level studies and vacations, alongside a more welcoming student visa regime, would help to make us more attractive relative to rival destinations and allow the UK to build its share of this lucrative market, bringing both short and long-term benefits to the country.