A recent report by the Workplace Foundation has warned that visa restrictions could cause the UK to lose ground as a leading choice for international students.
The report, ‘Making the Most of Public Services’, marked the international education sector out as an area which was failing to reach its full potential as an ‘intangible public sector export’.
The report praised the UK education system’s strong international reputation. However, it said that the UK was facing rising competition from universities in China and the Middle East, and that tuition fee rises and immigration controls could have a detrimental effect on the UK’s performance in future years.
International students are estimated to boost the UK economy by as much as £40bn per year – a figure similar to the income the country receives from financial services.
The report comes as many educational institutions are planning to expand their provision for international students. Recent surveys have shown that e-learning is gaining increasing popularity with European education providers as a way to expand their reach worldwide.
Distance Learning College and Training has recently reported rapid increases in the number of enrolments received from international students. Stanley Wise, General Manager of Distance Learning College and Training, said “The UK has a long-standing reputation for academic excellence, which attracts students from all over the world.
“Increasing numbers of colleges and universities are making use of distance learning and e-learning technologies to increase their accessibility to international students. As visa restrictions make it more difficult for students to study in the UK, distance learning will become an increasingly popular way for students worldwide to gain the benefits of a UK education.”