International Education Strategy - global potential

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International Education Strategy - global potential

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International Education Strategy global potential, global growth
March 2019


International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth

International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth





Executive Summary


1. Setting the foundations for global success 7

2. The UK’s global ambition


3. Global reach


4. Equipping the sector to reach its global



Annex A: Actions summary


Annex B: Organisations engaged in the

development of the strategy



International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth


Joint foreword from the Secretary of State for Education and the Secretary of State for International Trade
The UK has a world-class education offering, a global reputation and a strong presence in international markets. Our higher education institutions are amongst the most renowned and prestigious in the world. Our early years providers and schools provide international benchmarks for safeguarding and choice, and whilst it may have previously only been the names of top public schools that gathered recognition past our shores, we can now boast some of the best state schools in the world. Our skills and training providers offer the flexibility and unique solutions required in a world where the nature of work and employment is changing at a pace unseen since the Industrial Revolution. Throughout the world, the UK brand is one that is earmarked by quality, excellence and pioneering thought leadership.
All of these bring many benefits to the UK. They make an important contribution to economic growth, helping to generate the investment and jobs the UK needs. There are also wider benefits that come from broadening the UK’s soft power. In strengthening our international collaboration, we can help to tackle global challenges like poverty, and, in turn, strengthen our national security.
The global education market is developing quickly. Whilst this changing market offers many opportunities to the UK, our ambitious competitors are also galvanised to action. It is becoming ever more globalised, specialised and competitive, rewarding providers with the experience, talent and reputation to meet its rapidly growing demand. We must rise to meet this challenge.

As we leave the European Union and reach out to meet the emerging possibilities of the wider world, we have the opportunity to build on these successes and embrace our ambitious objectives for the education sector.
The Government, in partnership with industry, has been working hard to do just that: identifying where barriers to their exporting success exist, and finding the right tools to overcome them.
The Government’s Export Strategy has set the scene for how government will support UK exporters following the UK’s departure from the European Union. This strategy builds on that ethos for the education sector.
UK education is punching above its weight, but below its potential. The sector tells us that they face a range of issues in increasing their international footprint. Some businesses may believe they are not suited to overseas sales, or lack the confidence or knowledge in how to pursue them. They may not have the information they need about how to tackle policy or regulatory barriers to access overseas markets, how to seek and get finance, or even where to go for help.
This strategy is about meeting these challenges. At its heart is an ambition to increase the value of our education exports to £35 billion per year, and to students hosted in the UK to 600,000 per year, both by 2030.
In sharing knowledge, skills and innovation with international partners around the world, we can also generate opportunities to help raise education standards both at home and around the world.
To do this, this strategy sets out a cohesive approach to our global education sector, recognising where Government can best help and where the sector should take the lead.

International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth


It sets out a whole-of-government approach, across government departments and Devolved Administrations, to put in place the practical, advisory and promotional support to further strengthen the UK’s position at the forefront of global education and as an international partner of choice for institutions and governments around the world.
But it also recognises that it is the sector – not government – that must be at the forefront of our ambition. That is why this strategy has been developed in cooperation with education providers across the education sector to understand their ambitions and address the practical barriers they face in expanding their exports and breaking into new markets.
With around 90% of global economic growth in the next five years expected to originate outside the European Union, forging a new role for the United Kingdom on the world stage starts with rising to the exporting challenge – of which this strategy and the education sector will form a key part. Working together, we can help UK education reach its full, global exporting potential.

Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP Secretary of State for Education

Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade


International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth

Executive summary

The UK has a global reputation for education, characterised by excellence and quality. Our global education offer encompasses the full range of the education spectrum, including early years, independent schools, further education and colleges, higher education, transnational education, education services, education technology and English language training.
We have 4 universities in the world’s top 10 and 18 in the world’s top 100, according to the QS1 world rankings. We have some of the best known schools and universities in the world. This is underpinned by the quality of our globally recognised assessment system, from Early Years Foundation Stage through to A-Levels. We are ranked first by international students for student experience across several measures2. With almost a quarter of Europe’s education technology companies based in the UK, we are the European leaders for education technology.
Our cultural credentials generate global connections and relationships. English is one of the most widely used languages in the world. Alumni of British education hold senior roles in many of the world’s governments. The Higher Education Policy Institute estimates that over 50 serving world leaders have benefited from a British education3.
This position on the global stage delivers many benefits to the UK. Education related exports deliver an important economic contribution generating almost £20 billion in 2016. This includes over £1.8 billion generated by our transnational education (TNE) activities, an increase of 73% since 2010 in current prices. In 2014-15, Universities UK estimates

that UK universities and their international students and visitors supported over 940,000 jobs. We have seen students who come to the UK to study stay on as graduate innovators, setting up enterprises such as language training in London, catering services in Newcastle and business support technology in Glasgow.
Even as UK education exports continue to grow, an increasingly competitive global environment means that we need to take steps to preserve market share. To meet this challenge, we will provide the support to our education sector that only government can give. We will seek to grow education exports and international partnerships through encouragement, information, and connections, mirroring the ethos of the 2018 Export Strategy, Supporting and Connecting Businesses to Grow on the World Stage. We will seek to use the opportunities presented by our newly independent trade policy when the UK leaves the EU to boost our trading relationships and push for greater access for UK services and service providers.
Education exports also bring value in the collaboration and partnerships they foster, helping to forge soft power and global relationships. These underpin opportunities for the UK and our international partners to develop, trade and collaborate. Our approach to international engagement is based on partnership. We work with UK education sector providers, UK global industry, and governments around the globe to meet the multiple opportunities and challenges of the modern world by sharing knowledge, skills and innovation.

1 Quacquarelli Symonds 2 T he UK’s Competitive Advantage, 2017 update, ‘Universities UK International present findings from the International Student Barometer’ 3 Higher Education Policy Institute, 2018

International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth


Our objective is to drive ambition across the UK education sector. We will champion the breadth and diversity of the UK’s international education offer, strengthening our position as the partner and provider of choice for countries and individuals around the world. Working in tandem with the education sector, we will provide the practical solutions and tools it needs to harness its full international potential. We will focus on the role of government in supporting exports while recognising that government should do only those things which it alone can do. To make a real difference, the government’s action must be met by the ambition and activity of the sector.

Our ambition is to increase education exports to £35 billion by 2030. International education exports were worth almost £20 billion to the UK in 2016 and, based on current rates of growth, could be expected to reach an estimated £23 billion by 20204.
Achieving this ambition will require an average annual growth rate of 4% per year. In order to drive progress against this target, we intend to build our global market share in international students across the education sectors. We also intend to improve how we capture education exports data in order to monitor our progress against this ambition.
This ambition is not just economic: international collaboration brings with it a better understanding of the UK system by our overseas partners. When appropriate, we will offer government support to UK providers working to support other countries’ education reforms, by helping them to share knowledge and exchange policy, as set out in Section 4.
As part of this ambition we want to grow the numbers of international higher education students studying in the UK to 600,000 by 2030. More broadly, we will support our global partners in their education objectives and, by doing so, increase the UK’s global reach and influence.
The actions we set out in this strategy aim to make these ambitions achievable and support the education sector to drive progress towards them. We have engaged with the sector in developing our actions and will continue to do so as we work towards implementing this strategy. This document sets out the start of that journey and its actions should lay the foundations for continued growth to help boost the activity of sectors across the education spectrum. A list of the actions, including timeframes and additional information, is provided in Annex A.

4 The 2020 figure is calculated by assuming the average growth rate seen between 2010 and 2016 continues.


International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth

To support implementation of the strategy, we are committing to 5 key, cross cutting actions that will support the whole education sector.

1. Appoint an International Education Champion to spearhead overseas activity, open international opportunities, develop strong international partnerships in new and established markets, and help tackle challenges and barriers.
2. Ensure Education is GREAT promotes the breadth and diversity of the UK education offer more fully to international audiences, from early years through to higher education. We will encourage education bids to the GREAT Challenge Fund for 2019. This £5 million fund supports export activity for the sector across the globe.
3. Continue to provide a welcoming environment for international students and develop an increasingly competitive offer. This includes extending the post-study leave period5; considering where the visa process could be improved; supporting employment; and ensuring existing and prospective students continue to feel welcome.

4. Establish a whole-of-government approach by implementing a framework for ministerial engagement with the sector and formalised structures for co-ordination between government departments both domestically and overseas. This will be managed through an officials’ steering group including other government departments and the Devolved Administrations, feeding into the existing Education Sector Advisory Group, chaired by Department for International Trade and Department for Education ministers.
5. Provide a clearer picture of exports activity by improving the accuracy and coverage of our annually published education exports data, developing an approach with a strengthened methodology and a better range of sources.

In addition to these headline actions, we will also implement a range of specific actions to support each part of the education sector to build its international presence and exporting activity. These actions are set out in Section Four, ‘Equipping the sector to reach its global potential’.
We will publish annual updates to the strategy to reflect progress made against the overarching ambitions and actions. This ongoing review will create the flexibility to set out further plans and actions when needed, to respond to emerging opportunities and global trends and to reflect on the education sector’s experiences.

Education is a devolved policy area and the responsibility of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Governments. Officials from the Devolved Administrations have been engaged in the development of the International Education Strategy, however, this strategy represents UK Government policy and not that of the Devolved Administrations.

5 As set out in ’The UK’s future skills-based immigration system’ published on 19 December 2018.

1. Setting the foundations for global success


International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth

1.1 The story so far

In 2013, the government published the International Education Strategy: Global Growth and Prosperity. This strategy set out an ambition for the government and education sector to work together to take advantage of global opportunities. Aiming to build on the UK’s strengths, it focussed on international students, TNE, education technology (EdTech) and, more broadly, strengthening the UK’s education brand overseas.
Since the launch of the 2013 strategy, the government has worked across the UK education sector with international stakeholders and the British Council to strengthen the promotion of the UK’s global education offer in established and emerging markets around the world. An education team has been established within the Department for International Trade that focuses on 4 key geographical regions where we believe the work of government can best support the sector.
The GREAT campaign showcases the very best of what the UK has to offer, encouraging the world to visit, study and do business with us.

Figure One: UK revenue from education related exports and TNE activities


20 19 18 17
15.9 16

17.3 16.8

19.9 19.3 18.8 17.9

15 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

Total value of UK education exports and TNE activity in £bns

Source: Department for Education (2019)

The #EducationIsGreat banner has been used in over 36 countries over the past two years, covering Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The GREAT campaign and the British Council’s efforts generated £309 million for the UK economy in 2017/186.
UK education has a well-established global reputation for excellence, built on the strength of individual institutions, located across our regions and nations, many of which have a long tradition behind them. The global reputation of these institutions feeds into the broader renown of the UK education ecosystem. This is underpinned by autonomous institutions and organisations having the ability to set priorities, take decisions and develop strategies.
Recent reforms, such as the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, have reinforced this tradition, increasing innovation, quality and choice by removing the distinctions between public and for-profit higher education providers and encouraging new providers and competition. Government has also strongly encouraged the growth of academies and free schools, again with a view to increasing diversity, choice and improving overall standards. Many of these schools, often serving children from deprived backgrounds, are amongst some of the most successful in the country.
The UK has maintained its highly competitive position in the global education market. We are the second most popular study destination in the world for international students, behind the US. For higher education alone, the UK hosted almost 460,000 international students in 2017/187, our highest level on record. In 2016/17, over 700,000 students were studying for UK degrees outside the UK, up 17% from 2012/138.
The value of education exports has also grown steadily over time. In 2016, education exports and TNE activity was worth £19.9 billion to the UK economy, marking a 22% increase since 20109.

6 British Council, 2018, ‘GREAT Programme Board October 2018’ 7 Higher Education Statistics Agency, 2019, ‘HE Student Enrolments by HE provider 2014/15 to 2017/18’ 8 Higher Education Statistics Agency, 2018, ‘Aggregate Offshore record 2017/18’ 9 Department for Education, 2019, ‘UK revenue from education related exports and TNE activity 2016’
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