Category: UK

Wonkhe’s #BrHExit: time for a new internationalism in UK HE?

“We are a resilient and a resourceful community”

What does Brexit mean for universities in the UK? This is what stakeholders from across UK HE came together to discuss on 9 August at a day-long conference hosted by Wonkhe in London. Here are a few highlights from the afternoon’s sessions…Read More

Beckie Smith is senior reporter at The PIE News and manages The PIE Blog. To get in touch, email beckie[@]thepienews.com.

Brexonomics: what does the leave vote mean for UK universities?

“There’s no absolute guarantee that EU students starting three or four year programmes in September will have visas to study once Britain is outside the union. That’s a very high level of risk for any EU student”

Ant Bagshaw, assistant director at Wonkhe, the UK’s leading higher education policy analysis website, digs down into the economic impact of Brexit for the UK higher education sector.

Let’s start with the good news. With the value of the pound falling to lows not seen since 1985, the cost of exports – including tuition for foreign students – have reduced dramatically. International students with places to study in the UK have just seen their fees and costs of living reduce by ten per cent. That should be good for demand even if the global PR disaster that is Brexit (we’ve decided to become a more insular nation) diverts some students to other Anglophone markets.
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Ant is Assistant Director at Wonkhe, following roles as a policy wonk at LSE and the University of Kent. He has also worked for UCL, the NUS and as a reviewer for QAA. As Assistant Director, Ant is responsible for leading a range of activities including training, events and projects. He is particularly interested in leadership, management and strategy in higher education and the positive impact that effective policy advice can have on decision-making.

Brexit headlines around the world

Coverage of the UK’s vote to leave the EU in last month’s referendum has been extensive – including our own over at The PIE News of how Brexit might affect international education. Here we take a look at some of the headlines from across the EU and beyond, concerning how the events will affect student mobility and funding in different student markets.

Tuition fee uncertainty

Predictably, coverage within the EU focused largely on concerns over tuition fees for their own countries’ citizens studying in the UK.

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Beckie Smith is senior reporter at The PIE News and manages The PIE Blog. To get in touch, email beckie[@]thepienews.com.

After Brexit, UK HEIs should partner to thrive worldwide

“At the end of last week, from one day to the next, the international landscape changed shape for British universities”

By Simon Butt-Bethlendy of @GlobalHE and Chair of CIPR Education & Skills Group, writes about what the UK’s momentous Brexit decision might mean for UK universities and TNE.

At the end of last week, from one day to the next, the international landscape changed shape for British universities.

At 9am on the morning after the EU Referendum vote I chaired a teleconference with some of my CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) Education & Skills Group committee. Fellow education communicators registered shock, bafflement and despair.
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Simon Butt-Bethlendy is a communications and reputation management consultant for universities who shares news and views about international education on Twitter at @GlobalHE, TNE at @TNE_Hub and research impact via @REFimpact. He is also Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Education & Skills sectoral group.

The UK’s international education industry on Brexit: the sector speaks

“Simply stunned. our first priority should be to try to reassure the many EU students, academics and friends and work tirelessly to keep them”

In a referendum that saw the highest turnout in a national vote in nearly 25 years, the UK has chosen to leave the EU, with immediate dramatic consequences for the value of the pound sterling and a period of uncertainty for all industries. Here’s what #intled stakeholders had to say.

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Beckie Smith is senior reporter at The PIE News and manages The PIE Blog. To get in touch, email beckie[@]thepienews.com.

How can universities enhance the experience of their international students?

“International students spend most of their time outside the classroom. We can’t leave that experience to chance”

What are the challenges and what are universities doing to make sure they meet the needs of their overseas cohort? These were some of the questions asked at Universities UK’s conference on Enhancing the International Student Experience.

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Beckie Smith is senior reporter at The PIE News and manages The PIE Blog. To get in touch, email beckie[@]thepienews.com.

“Perhaps the scales are tipping”: women in UK HE senior leadership – a personal perspective

“I firmly believe that if I had stayed in India, I would not have achieved what I have managed to here in the UK”

Sonal Minocha, pro-vice chancellor for global engagement at Bournemouth University, writes about her experience of being a woman in a senior leadership position, and how her experience might be different if she’d stayed in India.

This tweet, the data it highlights, and the very persuasively presented blog, together made me think – perhaps consciously for the first time – of how privileged I am to be a product of UK Higher Education. My career, both as a student and a staff member, has thankfully defied the allegations and statistics that this article summarises.

So let me give you my personal context – I am Indian by origin – born and brought up in Delhi, and my first time away from India was as an international student to Newcastle in 2001. I am (or at least was then) very much a migrant, a foreigner, an ethnic minority!
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Sonal Minocha is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement at Bournemouth University.

Brexit might not deter students, but it could devastate global faculty and research

“The lifting of the cap has inadvertently made international strategies more real – at least when it comes to student diversity. Would a so-called Brexit end all of that? I don’t think so”

The lifting of the cap on student numbers at UK universities led many institutions to rethink their recruitment and internationalisation policies, with many putting greater efforts into recruiting students from within the EU than before, writes Vincenzo Raimo, pro-vice-chancellor (global engagement) at the University of Reading. Here he looks at how this has led to growth in European student numbers, and asks: how would this change if the UK were to leave the EU?

The focus of the majority of UK university international strategies for the past 20 years or so has been fee income growth. Constrained within a highly regulated system with strict limits on domestic students, the only way universities could grow was to recruit (unregulated) international fee paying students. As well as adding to the diversity of our universities and the quality of student experience, these international students brought income which allowed our universities to grow and develop, appoint new faculty and build new and better facilities.
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Vincenzo Raimo is pro-vice-chancellor (global engagement) at the University of Reading in the UK.

Is it time for Gilligan II?

“The target for the UK’s market share proposed by the British Council in 2000 was 25% by 2005 – a fantasy figure which just didn’t see the competition coming”

Universities’ international marketing strategies have no doubt grown smarter in the 15 years since an influential report on the subject was published, writes Vincenzo Raimo, pro-vice-chancellor (global engagement) at the University of Reading – but as competition stiffens and the challenges facing UK HE change, is it time for a new one?

It’s been 15 years since Professor Colin Gilligan published his report for the British Council on international marketing and student recruitment practices within UK universities. The Gilligan Report challenged UK universities to professionalise their marketing activity and to meet the opportunity of growing international student intakes.
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Vincenzo Raimo is pro-vice-chancellor (global engagement) at the University of Reading in the UK.

I was a rookie teacher and had no confidence – so I came to London

“I was told I’d love it here and no account to book a return flight. Of course I didn’t listen and had to cancel it a few weeks later!”

Kimberley Poon, a supply teacher in London with Prospero Teaching, writes about making the big move from Australia to England to teach, and why braving the journey to the other side of the world – despite dubious encouragement from some of her friends – was worth it.

“Wow, you’re going to London!”

“If you can teach in London. you can teach anywhere.”

What would a translation app have made of my colleagues’ good wishes? “You’re crazy! You’ll be eaten alive by British kids.” Thanks, guys!

It was a fair point, though. Why was I leaving Australia straight after graduation to put myself at the mercy of the English education system – something I knew almost nothing about?

My last term at university in Melbourne had been a tough one for personal reasons. And in the education faculty, our heads had been filled with warnings about the near-impossibility of achieving a work-life balance in teaching. Burn-out was the risk, we were repeatedly warned: “Sixty per cent of you won’t make it beyond five years in teaching.”

Encouraging. Not.

I’d dreamed of being teacher since I was 13; it was all I had ever wanted to do. And I just knew that I was a prime candidate for burn-out. I would give it my all because, temperamentally, I didn’t know how not to.

I was in line for two full-time teaching jobs back home but decided half-way through my interviews that the right way into the profession for me was to work part-time as a supply teacher.

I needed to take it gently and start by boosting my confidence so I had more faith in my own abilities before I took the plunge in a full-time post.

By chance, I found a flier for a British-based teacher recruitment agency and got in touch. And I know I simply wouldn’t have come to the UK without Paddy, the recruitment consultant they teamed me up with in London.

I can get pretty anxious and at this point I was still dithering about whether or not it was a good idea to come to Britain.

Eventually, with much encouragement and calming of nerves from Patrick, I decided to come over – for three months. Patrick said I’d love it here and told me on no account to book a return flight. Of course I didn’t listen and had to cancel it a few weeks later!

So here I was in London, faced with the prospect of my first teaching post. I was still not feeling at all confident in my abilities – I had only just finished my teacher training, after all, and my final school placement in my last term hadn’t gone particularly well and had shaken what self-belief I had.

But straight away in London, I was already experiencing a new sense of independence and personal growth. Back home I lived with my family; here I was an adult building a new life in an unfamiliar city.

And I think London schools are incredible. It’s quite a shock being in such a complex culture, with so many accents to get used to. At home, the area I come from is not very diverse, so this is a new – and exciting – experience for me.

“At home, the area I come from is not very diverse, so this is a new – and exciting – experience for me”

And the range of school types in Britain is so different to Australia. I have taught in public schools (which are actually fee-paying and not free at all), free schools (part of the state sector but free of local authority control), academies (similar to free schools) and Church of England schools. It has been so interesting to see all the different ways teachers plan their classes and the approaches they take.

And as I acquired so much new experience in such contrasting types of school in a very short space of time, I began to find my feet.

Gradually, I began to feel I was missing out on the continuity of seeing the kids through the learning process. So for the last half term I’ve been doing a job share at a school where I’ve been doing supply cover for a while. And I’m working the rest of the week, too, in supply roles.

With the teacher over-supply situation at home getting worse, a lot of my friends have still not got jobs whereas here there’s as much work as I want.

Some of my friends in Australia are doing supply teaching. But, unlike me, their work isn’t guaranteed. In London, once I’ve said which days I’m available, the agency finds me work – or pays me off. It’s a win-win situation.

I’ve made life-long friends among other Aussies in London working for the same agency. We hang out together a lot. The agency let five of us take time off together to do a tour of the Baltic and Russia. It was fantastic.

So, having cancelled my flight home, I’ve been in the UK for two years. And I want more of it. I’m now looking for ways to stay on here. Any ideas?