UK International Education StrategySeptember 26, 2013
Over the summer the British government put out a major component of its soft power strategy although oddly the term never appears… It’s the Department of Business Innovation and Skills industrial strategy document International Education: Global Growth and Prosperity.
This covers the whole range of UK international education activity: international students coming to the UK, support for UK education providers operating overseas, the export of educational services and equipment, research collaboration etc.
The key messages are that this is a sector where the UK is strong but is facing challenges from lack of coordination, the conservative structure of schools and universities, visa issues, competition from commercial education providers and new countries as well as changing demands from customers. From my reading the main policy push is to develop transnational provision, to support UK schools and universities in setting up overseas and to build system to system links with emerging countries: China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Turkey, Mexico, Indonesia, and the Gulf.
You do get the sense of the importance and complexity of the sector in the UK. The report is here. (The executive summary is seven pages and is plenty). There’s also an ‘analytical narrative’ which isn’t a narrative but provides the data underpinning the report. The report covers a lot of ground but it seems a bit thin in terms of specific targets and timeframes rather than general aspirations.