The UK government aims to “harness the power of the United Kingdom’s education sector” in its future trade deals. This was the tone of the Universities UK’s International Higher Education Forum.
According to UK’s parliamentary under-secretary of state, Mark Garnier, the event marks the shift in focus towards education exports beyond Europe while the Brexit negotiations are ongoing. In order for the sector of higher education to thrive, it must be built on UK’s successes in exporting education.
While avoiding comments on post-Brexit immigration policies, Garnier said that the government will support transnational education activities. Garnier further said that China, Brazil and Malaysia are the countries where they are pursuing great campaigns for thousands of export opportunities.
At least 90% of global growth takes place outside of Europe and educators must realize the opportunities. Education is a global industry and the government will not turn in its back on its European trade partners.
Paul Wellings, vice chancellor of the University of Wollongong in Australia cited Australia as an example where education is its 3rd largest export. The government has a clear mandate to increase offshore enrolments. Wellings also noted the prominence of education in Australia’s 2003 trade agreement with Singapore. In 2014, Australia also signed a bilateral agreement with China to extend the number of Australian private HE institutions or white list of quasi-approved institutions.
Wollongong forges agreements with its overseas partners through cooperative research and credit transfer agreements. In order to ensure confidence in the international activities of higher education in communities that are shunning globalization, Australia has implemented a sophisticated community strategy alongside its global strategies.
Meanwhile, Abdi-Aziz Suleiman, the former president of Sheffield Student Union and international student from Somalia, said that educators must recognize the real value of international education particularly to people who feel that they are being left behind.
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