An Updated Global Education Strategy for Post-Pandemic Recovery
Intelligent Overseas Education Global Education Strategy Update:
Time-pressed? The highlights are:
- The UK’s updated International Education Strategy commits to previously stated growth targets.
- Jobs for students and student immigration are among the priorities listed.
- Encouraging new student sources is also a priority.
- International students already benefit from a large sum set aside to assist them in managing the outbreak.
International students at UK universities increased by 12% last year despite the pandemic. For the first time, it surpassed 500,000 students enrolled. The UK government has updated its International Education Strategy, first announced in 2019.
Achieving £35 billion (US$48 billion) in education exports and hosting 600,000 international students annually by 2030 are reaffirmed in the update. Among the ways to pursue this growth are:
- Ensuring international students studying and working in the UK have access to clear and accessible information.
- Promoting UK education through new free trade agreements (FTAs).
- Identifying priority source countries and forming close relationships with their governments and institutions
- Promotion of financial aid/scholarships among international students
- Improving international students’ experiences, including job placement;
- Encouraging online and blended learning exports globally
- Increasing global alumni outreach.
The update also acknowledges COVID’s challenges and outlines a plan for the sector’s revival.
The British government has already allocated millions of pounds to help domestic and international students affected by COVID. Last December, £20 million was allocated to higher education providers to help needy students. This £70 million is in addition to the £256 million government-funded student premium universities can use this academic year. Students whose COVID travel restrictions make it difficult to travel to the UK can continue their studies without missing much class time, and they can remain eligible for post-study work opportunities.
A new focus on post-study work as well as settlement
Its international student population grew slowly under Theresa May’s government (2016–2019) due to more restrictive immigration policies, which slowed demand from India. New immigration routes and work opportunities for international students have replaced those policies. People once again view the UK as a hospitable country in markets like India, in the same way they saw it previously, in years before the UK’s EU and EEA membership. A sharp increase in the number of Indian students occurred in the past year, rising from 27,505 in 2018/19 to 55,465 in 2019/20. Expanded work and immigration opportunities drive international student demand for UK higher education, and the 2021 International Education Strategy update reiterates this commitment. Specifically:
Post-study employment rights:
All international students will have two years of post-study work rights, and Ph.D. candidates will have three years. A disrupted study by COVID will not affect students’ eligibility for the Graduate route as long as they “arrive in the UK to complete one term of face-to-face learning.”
The UK has developed a unique immigration route called “Student” to assist international students in applying to universities. It also aims to make immigration more transparent. The Student route complements the Tier 4 route by providing:
- Applicants from outside the UK have more time to apply for student visas.
- Postgraduate study time limits are no longer in place.
- Extending student visas is possible from the UK.
Identified priority markets
Sir Steve Smith, the country’s first International Education Champion, has been appointed to promote UK education abroad as part of the 2019 International Education Strategy. “Next year, I will be working with the industry, govt colleagues, and the devolved administrations to help them understand the excellence of our education offer and showcase it to potential foreign partners, investors, and consumers,” Mr. Smith announces in his 2020-2021 update. I will work closely with foreign governments and officials to strengthen G2G partnerships, thereby expanding international market opportunities for the sector and removing market access barriers in priority markets.” While the number of students and funding flowing into the UK from countries outside the EU has grown, the most notable increases are coming from China, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Hong Kong, and India.
Delivering content online
Restrictions on COVID travel and safety have spurred unprecedented innovation in digital education and hybrid learning models. Even after the pandemic is over, institutions that provide excellent online content will have a distinct competitive advantage, especially in foreign markets. To improve and expand digital education capacity is now a priority, according to the UK’s updated International Education Strategy 2021.
Mobilization funding increase
The Turing Scheme will begin in September 2021, according to the updated Strategy. It will help around 35,000 students from UK universities, colleges, and schools study abroad. Like Erasmus+, the Turing Scheme “will provide similar opportunities for students to study and work abroad as Erasmus+ but will be genuinely global and deliver enhanced value for money for taxpayers.”
Educators get new certifications.
It’s (International Qualified Teacher Status) “will allow teachers worldwide to train to world-respected domestic standards,” the government says.
The themes are expansion and diversification.
COVID has completely changed the educational landscape globally, at every level of learning, as reflected in the 2021 strategy update. It’s unlikely that students will be indifferent to in-person learning or see it as reliable and ongoing. Excellent online options and exceptional blended learning are possible. That no other pandemic or crisis will derail their educational, career, or immigration goals, before COVID, British universities could compete for international students based on their academic reputation and the prospects for graduates. And the Strategy appears to understand the new and complex dynamics that will characterize international students’ choice of program and country.
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