The conservative party seems hell bent on destroying the U.K education system. This is becoming increasingly apparent as they bungle, backtrack and blindly blast away with no real understanding of the institution they are attacking. I would feel more confident of their ability to handle our public education if I believed any of them had ever been part of it.
But this new meeting of dumb immigration policy and bad educational policy has me astounded. One of the major ways that universities managed to exist at all in this country was a constant stream of foreign students drawn to the high quality of higher education on offer here. So the idea of reducing the number of visas available for students from other countries seems like madness. Especially to a government who have complained endlessly about the costs of providing education for the citizens of this country.
Consider my last educational institution Bath University. Around 17% of their students are international students, each of which pays 3-4 times that amount of tuition fees a UK student would pay. If the government is so worried about funding universities, it seems like madness to remove this regular income in the interests of pandering to a right-wing conservative base who are worried about too many people from other countries coming into the UK.
Even if, for a brief moment, you are willing to give their knee-jerk xenophobic ramblings the time of day, the people coming in on these visas are not the ones they are scared of. These are students coming here to study. Not terrible troublemakers here to nick your stereo, or nasty people here to take jobs that “hard working British workers” could be doing. (Honestly if the British worker is so hard working, why on earth are these people worried? I would have thought employers would be lining up around the block to recruit these super-workers.) These are students here to get higher education. Now there are many negative stereotypes about students, don’t get me wrong, I get as sick of idiot students vomiting in the street as the next man. But in my humble experience of six years in different universities the international students are the least of our worries. It’s the British students who have the unhealthy binge drinking culture, not some nice guy from Singapore here to learn computer science.