A new UK parliamentary inquiry launched this month — seeking oral and written evidence from experts in education, business, trade and in local communities — in order to understand and create a more sustainable future for international students in the UK. Lord Bilimoria, co-chair of the inquiry, has said:
“International students are rightly asking if the UK will welcome them. With more international students looking for a global study experience, the UK should be their first choice, but many are choosing competitor countries instead. We provide the best education in the world and should be proud to share it with UK and international students alike.”
Indeed, Australia is now overtaking the UK as the world’s second biggest destination for international students, according to research from UCL. One of the key questions that the parliamentary inquiry will seek to answer is: what are the educational opportunities and challenges of welcoming international students into UK schools, colleges and universities?
One challenge to welcoming international students, that emerged in two recent student surveys, is perceptions of safety. A new report by Intead and FPP EDU Media found that 88% of international students now say that a strong campus safety programme is helpful or very helpful to their decision of where to study. While in the QS Enrolment Solutions International Student Survey, students were asked to rank their top five concerns about studying abroad — safety was ranked third.
Safety-minded students considering study in the UK may be concerned by recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) crime figures for England and Wales, which have led to news reports around the 16% rise in knife crime or the 12% rise in homicides. However, such reports may omit some of the positive actions taken by the Government:
The ONS said the crime