Dr Syed K.I. Bakht
Director Academic Affairs and Professor of Management, IKI-Paris Graduate School
Head of Partnerships and Collaborations, SME Higher Education Group
For the past 30 years I have been actively involved in either teaching, academic management and recruiting for the UK University sector and nothing has given me more pleasure than following some of my former students from around the globe who pursued University degrees in the UK Universities in which I recommended. They have not just gained a globally recognised degree but many have decided to stay and make Britain their home and developed their careers here in these shores. They have raised a young family who have now benefitted from their initial decision of studying for a UK University degree as international students.
There are almost 500,000 international students enrolled and studying for qualifications at Universities and HEI across the United Kingdom – equivalent to 20% of all HE students. International students contribute significantly to the UK’s economic and social prosperity, both in the short term during their studies as well as in the medium to longer term after they graduate. Hence without doubt we can say that international students are a vital source of export revenues for the UK. The Covid-19 pandemic affected the ability of students from around the world to access international higher education, through major economic damage and significant travel disruption. BREXIT also contributed to more negative perceptions of the UK among EU students and created additional barriers, through the need to obtain a visa or no longer being eligible for the same fee status and associated access to student finance as UK students.
There is no doubt about the positive economic benefits and impact the flow of foreign students brings to any economy. The City Manchester (which I know well), has one of the highest concentration of students and the economic benefits are visibly seen as all along the “Oxford Road University area” the impact on businesses is immense and has for decades generated “an economy within an economy” . In general the economic benefits of international students in terms of: The tuition fee income generated by international students studying in the UK, as well as the knock-on effects throughout the UK economy associated with UK universities’ spending of this international fee income on staff, goods, and services; The income associated with the non-tuition fee (i.e. living cost) expenditure of international students, and the subsequent knock-on effects of this expenditure throughout the wider economy; and the income associated with the spending of friends and family visiting international students whilst studying in the UK. Again, this expenditure leads to subsequent knock-on (indirect and induced) effects throughout the UK economy. There are also indirect benefits that the country receives. For example, these include: The tax revenues generated from international students (or their dependants) while they are in part time employment in the United Kingdom and of course when they graduate, they can apply for the Work Visas that the UK Government has recently introduced. The longer-term investment, business, and trade links from hosting international students in the United Kingdom; The soft diplomatic power exerted by the UK on an international stage because of the networks built up during their stays; and the wider cultural and societal impacts associated with a more diverse population.
Dr Syed K.I.Bakht has a proven track record in promoting and managing high quality academic programmes and teaching throughout global higher educational institutions and corporations spanning over 32 year. He is a proved EDUpreneur and has a demonstrable evidence of being a visionary and creative leader, providing a platform for the promotion of innovation and ideas and a unique academic and teaching experience. Currently the Director of Academic Affairs and Professor of Management at IKI-Paris Graduate School, Founder Director of the London Graduate School