Brexit Dilemma and Indian Students
People may be tired of hearing about ‘Brexit’, but unfortunately it is the buzzword of 2019 that has international implications. It’s not only going to impact our lives in the UK, but globally in key areas like trade and education.
Taking into account the major area of education, the UK universities already heavily rely on international student numbers to help fund the deficits. Whilst the numbers from UK students can also be increased, they do not provide as much per student fees than do foreign students. On average when a British student brings in over £8000, a foreign student can bring three times as much depending on the degree.
Reported in the Sunday Times, the principal of Glasgow University Sir Anton Muscatelli predicts that British students will soon be outnumbered at some top seats of learning as foreigners are targeted to offset a dramatic decline in income triggered by Brexit. India and China are the big targets for recruitment.
Sir Muscatelli, who is considering increasing the proportion of Glasgow’s European Union (EU) and overseas students to up to half the total, said, “Many universities will try to do this because it will be the only way to respond to a sudden fall in income “.
The issues relating to education are complex. By encouraging more overseas students, there will be a major imbalance for British students who may feel foreign in their own country and it may further lead to difficulty in the job market. There is already pressure on the government to be more flexible over foreign students working visas and allowing them opportunities in the UK.
A loose analogy to this is the Premier League Football where foreign players dominate the game and home-grown players have little chance of making it in the first team. Whilst the league has brought in billions of pounds to the game and its popularity, there are question marks as to how much impact it has made for home grown players.
Similarly, the universities and the job market face similar dilemmas. If the UK does not get a deal from the EU over Brexit, university leaders say it would be “catastrophic”, with the UK cut out of 1.3 billion pounds of EU research funding and a collapse in EU student numbers.
In addition, the Government is trying to put an upper cap on university fees to £6,500 which will further tighten the noose around the funding.
And whilst the UK will try to attract the high fees Indian and Chinese students to the UK, in recent times there have been a fall in numbers especially for the Indian students. Their numbers have fallen at a peak of 24,000 in 2010-11 to around 10,000 in 2016-17.