Tuesday is the Guardian’s weekly higher education day, and today’s paper leads with a profile of a new British Council and Education UK report that attempts to identify the “value of educational exports” (using trade in services parlance) to the UK economy.
The report can be downloaded here britishcouncil.pdf
The back page of the report highlights the scale of these exports (see bullet points below), while the Guardian notes that education exports are worth more to the economy than the automotive or financial services industries.
- The total value of education and training exports to the UK economy is nearly £28 billion
- The total direct value of education and training exports to the UK economy is over £12.5 billion
- The total value to the UK economy of international students in the HE sector (excluding TNE) is over £5.6 billion
- The total value of transnational HE to the UK economy is nearly £200 million
- The total value to the UK economy of international students in the HE sector (including TNE) is nearly £6 billion
- The total value to the UK economy of international students in the FE sector (excluding ELT) is over £1.2 billion
- The total value to the UK economy of international students in the ELT sector is over £1 billion
- The total value to the UK economy of international students in the independent schools sector is nearly £315 million The total value of international students to the UK economy is nearly £8.5 billion
As with the Canadian posting yesterday, the organizations producing this analysis have framed the issues at a range of scales such that they identify intra-national regional impacts within the UK, but also how the “competition” that is taking place is global in nature. In the end they recommend that the state needs to play a more strategic and proactive role in guiding the development process. This is how the Guardian story put it:
Martin Davidson, chief executive of the British Council, said education was vital to the UK both economically and culturally. “Fundamentally, this report shows the shift of axis of our education system from one that operates predominantly domestically to one that operates on a truly international basis.
“However, our position is vulnerable. Unless we start taking education much more seriously as a global business, we will lose out to other countries who understand the value of education to their economy much better than we do.”
He is, of course, alluding to the USA and Australia, but also to emerging ‘players’ like Singapore. Interestingly the report makes no reference to the role of the European Union (the UK, after all, is part of the EU), or the Bologna Process (see this recent posting on the issue), in shaping the development process.