BU urges review to approach to international students
30 May 2012
Bournemouth University has signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging the government to support the UK’s universities in their efforts to recruit genuine international students.
The letter has been signed by nearly 70 UK university chancellors and chairs of council, as well as business leaders, peers from all major parties and other prominent figures from the arts and media in their roles as chancellors or chairs of universities.
Signatories to the letter include BU’s Chair of the University Board, Sue Sutherland, former Conservative minister Baroness Bottomley (Virginia Bottomley), writer and broadcaster, Lord Bragg (Melvyn Bragg), former Director-General of the CBI, Sir Richard Lambert and former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Menzies Campbell MP.
They are backing calls for international university students to be removed from net migration statistics for policy purposes, bringing the UK into line with our major competitors. They are urging the government to make a clear distinction between temporary and permanent migration in order to help the UK maintain its position as a world-leader in international higher education and send out the message that the UK welcomes, and values, genuine international students.
The UK continues to have one of the strongest higher education systems in the world and universities can play a considerable part in driving the UK’s economic growth. Countries such as the US and Australia have recognised the potential in this growth area and are taking active steps to attract international students, broadcasting very different messages to the world than the UK.
The letter states: “In an age of increasing global mobility, the number of individuals considering a university education abroad is growing rapidly. In this market for talent - and export income - the UK performs exceptionally well, with 9.9% of the total market share in 2009, and export earnings of £7.9 billion. International students also play an important role in towns and cities up and down the country, and contribute significantly to local economies. There is a clear opportunity to build on this success, with forecasts suggesting that export earnings from this activity could more than double by 2025.”
BU has also written to local MPs to raise awareness and ask for their support.
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