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Higher education is not broken - it just needs to fix its diversity problem

Reviewing the past week's higher education news, Rachel Hewitt, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Higher Education Policy Institute, takes issue with claims that UK higher education is "broken" and sees encouraging signs that it is addressing issues over diversity.

New year presents HE sector with fresh challenges

Professor Malcolm Todd, Deputy Vice-Chancellor/Provost (academic and student experience) at the University of Derby, comments on what he sees as the most significant higher education news and opinions making headlines in the first week of 2020.

Universities UK International calls on employers to back study abroad campaign

Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, introduces the launch of Year Three of UUKi's Go International: Stand Out campaign, calling on employers to promote the value of international experience.

University leaders commit to pension talks as strikes begin

University leaders have written to the University and College Union to formally outline their commitment to continuing to work with UCU to deliver long-term reform of the Universities Superannuation Scheme. The move comes as UCU members at 60 universities begin strike action in disputes over both pensions and pay.

Gateway to university expertise now provides 'smart match' with business

A platform providing a single access point for businesses to university expertise and funding opportunities has been further developed by the National Centre for Universities and Business, Research England, and UK Research and Innovation, to help 'smart match' business and industry with higher education institutions, in a bid to boost R&D collaboration. Shivaun Meehan, Head of Communications at the NCUB, outlines the latest features of Konfer.

HEi-think: Evidence needed from HEIs on barriers to growing UK’s HE export potential

As the Higher Education Commission gathers evidence for its inquiry into the export potential of UK HE, it is particularly keen to hear from HEIs about barriers to international growth as Brexit approaches, says Dr Mary Bishop, HE Commissioner, TEF Panellist, and JISC HE & Student Experience Expert.

 

With globalisation a key driver of change, UK higher education retaining its reputation for gold standard provision is vital in the international market, particularly as we head towards Brexit.

The Higher Education Commission has recently launched its sixth cross-party inquiry to investigate the export potential of UK HE, the economic implications of Brexit and the government’s 2020 £30bn export target (currently not on target!).  Although the HE sector remains strong as an exporter of education services, both in attracting international students to study in the UK and through transnational education provision, it is imperative that this strength is developed and not weakened in the impending wake of Brexit with all its implications in terms of attracting students, research funding and the potential for enriching student experience by reciprocal student exchange.

The Commission has already taken evidence from some key stakeholders – including the Director General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities on the importance of scholarship for accessibility; the CEO of UKCISA focusing on portfolio and student experience; and the Vice Chair of the British Universities International Liaison Association (BUILA) around the impact of the relentless number of changes in Home Office visa regulation. 

This inquiry is Co-Chaired by Professor Simon Marginson, the Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education; and Conservative Peer Lord Norton of Louth.  Professor Marginson commented: “Through the regulation of supply and demand, especially restrictions to student visas and post-study work rights, the industry has been held down. The proportion of students coming from China continues to grow but that won’t go on forever and there have been sharp falls in students from most other countries, such as India and Saudi Arabia. Yet this is a crucial sector for the economy; the second largest in UK services exports.”

With a focus on how this international export market can weather the economic implications of Brexit and reach its export target, and concerned by loss of market share, the perceived lack of welcome given by the visa regime, and an increasingly aggressive market with a real change in dynamic over recent years, the Commission is seeking evidence from Higher Education Institutions.

In particular evidence is sought around current barriers to growing British Higher Education internationally as well as the industry support mechanisms it needs to thrive in a highly competitive global market.  With contributions already received from the LSE, Warwick University, Reading University and the University of Portsmouth, the Commission is keen to take further evidence of experience and perspectives around these issues. 

The inquiry call for evidence terms of reference are available at the Policy Connect website Please contact Pooja Kumari, Research Manager pooja.kumari@policyconnect.org.uk.

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