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UK International Education: A progress report

   Jun 27, 2022
Credit : GMI Post

On his second year as the United Kingdom’s International Education Champion, Sir Steve Smith met again with GMI Post to provide updates on the government’s efforts to strengthen the education sector and reveal plans for the future.

GMI Post: What can Chinese students expect from the UK this coming year and where do you see growth opportunities for them in terms of work and post-secondary education?

UK International Education Champion Sir Steve Smith

Smith: The first thing they can expect is a safe and welcoming environment. They will get not only a great education whichever part of the UK they go to, but they will be looked after very well. They will be secure, safe, welcomed warmly. One of the big things that the British government did was introducing a post-study work visa that allows students to work here for between two and three years after graduating from PhD studies.

In the Caribbean, Tampere University of Applied Sciences came up with a program tailored for the region.

GMI Post: With travel borders reopening, what are you most excited about this upcoming year?

Smith: The most exciting thing is that people can travel again. The UK has done brilliantly in terms of distance learning and putting things online. But university is not just about learning on a screen, but also sitting in a coffee room at two in the morning discussing politics. It’s going to the theater, walking down the street, shopping, traveling, talking, going to gigs, and watching theater. I think distance learning is fantastic and it’s certainly important if people haven’t got the resources to travel, but there’s something about being there that matters.

GMI Post: What will be your priorities for the next two to three years?

Smith: I want to get to the countries that we’re working with to make sure that the British government and I understand their needs. We need to ask what their needs are and talk to them about what kind of educational experience they want and what programs they want. The British government asked me to focus on key relationships and remove all barriers.

Finally, I want to set up relationships between UK institutions and institutions in those countries, because the best research in the world is now increasingly done by people based in more than one academic setting. It’s about the internationalization of education and research.

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