News ID: 128391
Published: 0245 GMT October 06, 2015

British universities seek to attract top students

British universities seek to attract top students

Universities must adopt a ‘global outlook’ to attract the best students to help solve the current UK skills shortages, a leading vice-chancellor has said.

Professor Sir Nigel Thrift, vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick, said that, increasingly, students and staff were expecting universities to offer opportunities to engage with institutions around the world.

He added that, attracting the best students from abroad, could help solve the skills shortages that the UK is currently facing, the Telegraph reported.

"There are real concerns about UK productivity among business and policy makers, and one of the key problems driving that is skill shortages," he said. "Universities could choose to ignore that and leave it entirely to the FE sector, but that would in my view be a mistake.

"Universities should be exploring how they can assist in this area while retaining their research and teaching missions.”

Nigel said that partnering with global universities made it simple to implement an exchange system for both staff and students.

"We hope that in four years around 400 students will be able to visit [Monash University in Australia ] and 400 of their students will be able to visit us. Already we are having classes taught between the two universities simultaneously," he said.

"The most important benefits are for the students," he continued.

"They get to experience another country, they get to experience different ways of teaching, they get to experience, in some cases, subjects that wouldn’t have been taught at Warwick.

"It certainly helps, when you are looking for employment, that you have been entrepreneurial enough to go somewhere else within your degree.”

Nigel, who is coming to the end of his time at the University of Warwick — to be replaced by Professor Stuart Croft in February 2016 — also added his voice to recent calls for the Government to exclude students from the net migration target, over fears it makes the UK unappealing as a higher education destination.

Research from the Government’s Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) found last year that the number of overseas students being recruited to universities in England had dropped for the first time in around 30 years.


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