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Future of British education and its relationship to European students post-Brexit

Author profile picture Stefan Feldiorean
Recipient profile picture Nadhim Zahawi
5 November
Dear Nadhim Zahawi,
In light of recent insurgences in tuition fees for United Kingdom-based European students, and the complex socio-political climate of the Brexit, the perspectives of these students in higher education degrees (MA, MSc, PhD) has become more clouded than before. Through the present letter I would like to address some highlights from my own personal experience as a European student at University of Arts London and voice perhaps some possible solutions that could address how the United Kingdom government will perhaps resolve future concerns. Firstly, the aspect of almost trippling the cost of tuition fees and reducing potential students' accessibility to government funding for their higher education may discourage them from pursuing studies across United Kingdom universities past the current academic year. On one hand, the potential amount of indebtment to a few tens of thousands of pounds before interest is worrisome and difficult to young, arising professionals who are now developing their work experience. One suggestion would be to offer more extensive counselling and advise on financial administration and taxing protocols to these potential students prior to them considering studying in the United Kingdom. Secondly, the inability to access maintenance loans or other forms of funding targeting costs of studying in the United Kingdom adds to the problem, simply because localised national loan options in some countries are exorbitant in terms of interest rates, additional commissions, prospective payments and other contractual obligations. With higher education not being a guarantee for a high-paying job post-graduation coupled with all subsequent academic journey costs during the study times have had students concerned with how well they can fare with working (either part-time or full-time) while studying so they can alleviate any financial costs. Hence, a bit more flexibility in terms of government loans and grants, even at a higher interest rate and shorter repayment periods, would be a more viable option to continue attracting European students within the United Kingdom Higher Education system. Following on the previous points, these elements impact upon the social dimension of sustainability, wherein biodiversity within the British Higher Education system may long-term suffer from localization and lack of diversity. Furthermore, the highly varied experiences students may have, along with their diverse upbringing, education and skillsets can affect the efficacy of future professionals. Therefore, the possiblities for acquiring the best available European talent is diminished. Instead of disregarding the aspect of social biodiversity, embracing the aspect of decolonising the academic system and creating a fairer distribution of odds for all foreign students should be considered. Isolating the academic market to national and international students will only be detrimental for the future of Higher Education in the United Kingdom. However, we have considered a number of concerns and worries. On the brighter side of the crystal ball, there are great arising opportunities. With remote studies becoming more popular, the creation of long-distance courses across Higher Education accessible anywhere in the world for just a portion of a full-time in-person course can alleviate the discomfort of losing on potential talent or diminishing biodiversity. Where these courses may have their own shortcomings (such as reduced capacity to teach crafts), their suitability for the future generations stems from i) the flexibility they offer, ii) the possible shorter length of courses, iii) a wider range of skillsets that can be remotely taught and iv) the great deal of customization to student needs, aligned with demands across the market. Moreover, considering the impact that globalization and digitalization have had over the last two decades across all aspects of life, it is safe to assume that digital networking and accessing the best services, education and possibilities for work will become an essential aspect of the 21st century's human's everyday life. Hence, creating a wider globalised structure of courses across higher education will become essential to creating a strong talent base for any high-performing and developing British industries. In summary, the tone of the conversation here is of a pragmatical nature, as there is a great deal of interest and enthusiasm towards the British educational system. My intention is to provide some factual (albeit slightly biased) insights into how a European student may thing. Should you consider the above points a relevant course of action, I am at your disposal with any further clarification you may need. Your sincerely, Stefan Feldiorean

Stefan Feldiorean

Author profile picture Stefan Feldiorean

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