UK Education Secretary Against Reduction of Int’l Student Enrolment

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Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Feb 16, 2023 01:45 PM IST

The international education sector is troubled as the UK Home Secretary plans a proposal to reduce the number of foreign students. However, reports say that the UK Education Secretary will vehemently oppose such proposals.

UK Education Secretary Against Reduction of Int’l Student Enrolment

Gillian Keegan, UK education secretary has extended her support for the international student sector and reports say that any attempt of the UK Home Office to cut down the international student number will be opposed by her.

Keegan said to Financial Times that they should be proud of this sector as it is a world learning advertisement for the UK. She envisions building the education export market of the UK and expanding revenues from GBP 26 billion to GBP 35 billion by 2030. They have a strategy focusing on revenue growth.

The comment from Keegan comes at a time when there are reports that Suella Braverman, the home secretary will suggest a reduction in the post-study stay period of international students in the UK from two years to six months- a move that was vehemently opposed by the Education Department.

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Education providers have called Keegan’s support significant. Amidst the uncertainty around immigration statistics, she has clearly stated that she will work with the home secretary to address the issue. International education will be a vast sector of opportunity for the UK.

Keegan and Braverman discussed last week regarding international student numbers and the ability of the students studying “low-value courses” in the UK and increasing the burden of dependents. 

In November 2022, university stakeholders raised concern over their ability to provide for and support international students and their families. 

Study providers also addressed the dangers of highlighting courses as “low-value” as the courses are made to meet the quality standards created by the regulators. Also, it is incorrect to regard the value of a professional or technical qualification from a modern university as paltry because of its low initial salary. 

Regarding dependants, only postgraduate students are eligible to bring dependants. The UK must consider the losses before they take any harsh decisions. Stakeholders consider offering post-study work opportunities in a globally competitive education environment essential for a prospering economy. 

Keegan has agreed to assist the UK Home Office to identify the abuses of the system and ensure high-quality courses for domestic and international students. 

The Home Office has recently pointed out that some Indian students are taking advantage of asylum rules that allow asylum seekers to study in the UK on domestic fees. About 250 Indian migrants crossed the English channel this year in a boat. 

On the other hand, Karan Billimoria, parliamentarian and chancellor of the University of Birmingham, has demanded the parliament’s reassurance that international student numbers will not be reduced as they have already hit the 6,00,000 mark. He also asked for confirmation for two years work visa to be retained instead of being reduced. He requested the government to exclude international students from net migration figures.

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A government spokesperson reported that the UK point-based immigration system is designed to be flexible enough for the needs of the country which includes attracting international students to contribute to the academic pool of the UK and to help the universities remain globally competitive. 

Immigration policies are constantly under the radar to ensure that they serve the country well.

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Source: PIE News

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