Major call for more overseas students
John Major’s call for more overseas students to be allowed into the UK to help boost Britain’s reputation abroad echoes a growing viewpoint, says Salford student accommodation provider Portergate.
Portergate chairman Anthony Jackson has witnessed the increasing support for more overseas students and the positive impact they can have on the UK’s education sector over the past 12 months.
And he has also seen at first hand the standing the UK’s universities hold in China during a trade mission to Shanghai.
In a Times Education interview former Tory Prime Minister Sir John said: “The return in hard cash, let alone goodwill for having the brightest and the best coming to spend some of their time in the British education system – particularly universities – is absolutely enormous.
“And if that means easing the position on visas and helping the position on grants and encouraging scholarships and making it easier for foreign students to come here, it is in the interests of my children and my children’s children that we develop that. And I think that is an absolutely key point to make.”
Earlier this year current Business Secretary Vince Cable announced plans to increase the number of overseas students in those universities by 20 per cent over the next five years – an extra 90,000 students.
The plan to attract even more students is part of a new International Education Strategy, which has revealed that the UK’s education export industry is worth a staggering £17.5 billion to the economy.
David Willetts, universities and science minister, backed the strategy, saying: “There are few sectors of the UK economy with the capacity to grow and generate export earnings as impressive as education.
“Our universities, colleges, awarding organisations and schools are recognised globally for their excellence.
“However, there is more that we can do to take advantage of this powerful reputation, and to seize the opportunities to stay ahead in the global race.”
The prize in winning that race is massive. The global education market is estimated to be worth $4.5 trillion annually.
The new international education strategy is designed to ensure British schools and universities make the most of it.
Portergate this year opened its 242-hotel-class hall of residence, Riverside House, a purpose-built accommodation building on the River Irwell close to the University of Salford and to Manchester city centre.
Riverside House is within walking distance of the university, which each year attracts more than 3,000 international students from more than 100 nations around the globe.
The company also has planning permission for a £18 million project in Preston, Lancashire, close to the city’s University of Central Lancashire campus, which also attracts thousands of international students every year.
Portergate continues to attract major interest from overseas investment with its boutique student living concept and has performed extremely well at trade shows in China.