Cash in on demand for education from overseas, Vince Cable tells universities

Universities and schools have been urged to open campuses abroad to cash in on the international demand for a British education. This is from the Evening Standard…

Business Secretary Vince Cable also announced plans to increase the number of overseas students in UK universities by 20 per cent over the next five years — an extra 90,000 students.

The plans are part of the new International Education Strategy launched today, which reveals for the first time that the UK’s education export industry is worth £17.5 billion to the economy. Experts have warned that debates on immigration risked damaging the economically valuable recruitment of overseas students.

Research that found more than half of overseas students in the UK say they have felt “less welcome” because of policies on migration.

Universities continue to campaign to have students counted separately from headline migration figures. Mr Cable said: “Overseas students make a huge contribution to Britain. They boost our economy, and enhance our cultural life, which is why there is no cap on the number of legitimate students who can study here.

“Thanks to our world-class universities, our network of UK alumni who are now in positions of influence around the world is impressive, opening doors that would not otherwise be possible. Today’s strategy will help build on this success, ensuring we continue to attract international students and promote the UK’s expertise in education.”

David Willetts, universities and science minister, said: “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 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. As part of the new strategy an “Education is Great” campaign will be launched to promote UK education to overseas students.

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