News that four of the top six universities in the world are in England is a reminder of how tremendously successful our higher education sector is at persuading some of the most talented people around the world to buy university and post-graduate education from British outlets.
It’s a remarkably successful export industry, and one which brings many benefits to the UK. It brings in money that helps finance our education system. It brings in diverse and talented students which makes it easier to recruit the best and brightest academics too, because being surrounded by such good students is a major attraction. It benefits British students too, because they benefit both from that and also from the diversity and quality of their contemporaries. And it benefits British society by continuing the centuries-old tradition of brining in some of the best ideas and trends from around the world.
As I put it last year:
I’ve seen this first hand with the classes I’ve contributed to at City University and the London School of Economics. When talking about politics or journalism, having people with experiences of lots of different systems makes for a better education for everyone in the room.
Yet bizarrely this amazing success story is something the Conservatives keep on trying to cripple, by having targets to reduce immigration that include overseas students.
The Liberal Democrats should continue to push hard for increasing the numbers of genuine overseas students coming to the UK, not capping their numbers.