Gherson are to attend the NAFSA Conference, Association of International Educators in Houston, USA from 27 May to 1 June 2012.With nearly 10,000 members, NAFSA is the world's largest non-profit professional association dedicated to international education.
NAFSA and its members believe that international education and exchange - connecting students, scholars, educators and citizens across borders - are fundamental in order to:
- establish mutual understanding among nations;
- equip the next generation with vital cross-cultural and global skills; and
- create the conditions for a more peaceful world.
One of Italy's leading universities has recently announced that it will be switching its main teaching language from Italian to English. This illustrates the continued globalisation of higher education as well as the international high regard for English courses. The university's aim is to provide its students with the skills and knowledge to gain access to the global jobs market. If the university rector's prediction that "in five to 10 years other Italian universities with global ambitions will also switch to English" comes true we will see an increased demand for English courses in the future.
The recent termination of the Post-Study Work visa category has raised the question of just how desirable a UK education is. Although still undoubtedly a top destination for international students, the UK's physical draw may be weakened in the future by the increased options of English courses abroad.
Furthermore, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has advised that David Cameron's aim to drastically cut net migration should not be achieved by cutting the number of international students allowed into the UK in the short term. 50,000 fewer student migrants could cost the UK between £2 billion and £3 billion a year in economic contributions.
In fact, the IPPR's report says that international students should be excluded from net migration figures altogether. With only around 15% of international students choosing to remain in the UK once their studies have concluded, the report casts doubt on whether they can be classed as 'long-term' immigrants. To include students in these figures is damaging to the UK's international education business and will undoubtedly affect the UK's role in the future of international education.
It is clear that the current attitude towards immigration is not conducive to the UK retaining its top position within the international education community. As we know, the UK remains a key destination for students, and an English education continues to be a highly valuable commodity within the international market. For the UK to remain a key player in the universalisation of education, consistency between the UK's economic and educational interests and the implementation of immigration policy must be developed.