Britain is global leader in education

September 19, 2012, 9:44 AM GMT+0

‘We need to get it right’ on student visas, minister tells YouGov-Cambridge forum

Adding to the on-going debate over student visas, Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire has said that Britain must continue to attract foreign students in order to maintain and improve Britain’s reputation internationally, but that the system has been “abused” in the past.

Responding to a question on the student visa issue at the YouGov Cambridge forum, held on September 13th and 14th in Cambridge, Mr Swire said:

“Unfortunately, the system has been abused in the past. … We need to get it right. We need to make sure people can come here from all over the world, because then when they go back to their own countries they have a greater sense of what we’re about.”

Global leader

A cross-country study prepared for the YouGov-Cambridge forum revealed that Britain is viewed as a global leader in education on a par with – or in various cases preferred over – the US as the best place to receive a university education.

The poll was conducted across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and China and asked respondents where they would choose from a list of eighteen countries if they had to send their child to receive a university education in another country. Britain was ranked first in Pakistan (59%), in the US (47%), in the Middle East and North Africa (40% across the region overall), and in Germany (50% - in joint first place with the US). It was ranked second behind only the US in both France (37%) and China (56%).

Balancing act

Commenting on the findings, YouGov-Cambridge Director Dr Joel Faulkner Rogers said the study and the Minister’s comments on the issue would help illuminate the debate being waged over student visas.

“It is clear from the results of the YouGov-Cambridge study that Britain’s universities are held in the highest regard by people all over the world. The reputation of Britain’s universities is rivalled only by the US, and is helping drive interest in Britain in key emerging markets. Minister Swire’s comments reflect the challenge the Government is facing in balancing its pledges on immigration, while also ensuring that Britain maintains its reputation as a global leader in education,” Dr Faulkner Rogers said.

See the full results for the cross-country YouGov-Cambridge study here

And see the full original press release here

For more information please contact YouGov PR Executive Harris MacLeod