There are few sectors of the UK economy with the capacity to grow as impressive as education. Our universities, colleges, awarding organisations and schools are recognised globally for their excellence. However, there is more that we can do to take advantage of this powerful reputation, and to seize the opportunities that stem from it.
Overseas students who come to Britain to study make a huge contribution to our economy. Each student in higher education on average pays fees of about £10,000 a year and spends more than this again while they are here. In 2011/12 we estimate that overseas students studying in higher education in the UK paid £10.2bn in tuition fees and living expenses. They boost the local economy where they study – as well as enhance cultural life, and broaden the educational experience of the UK students they study alongside. It is because we value this massive contribution that there is no cap on the number of legitimate students coming to Britain, nor do we plan to impose one.
Yet this is only one area in which we can grow. Education is in the early stages of globalisation. There are many countries that are experiencing a surge in the young population. They want to effect a massive expansion of their education systems and they want to do so fast. This is a huge opportunity for us and one Cover People are embracing.
Quite rightly our education system is envied on many levels, stretching beyond our academic excellence. Other countries are attracted to the expertise that UK institutions and organisations can offer on governance models, on professional development and curricular design, on construction, on the international reputation of our qualifications and on management and finance. The attraction also extends to the innovative equipment and technology solutions that our educational suppliers are constantly developing. The UK can also learn from others.