Category Archives: Education

Academics facing pressures in policing their foreign students

160 academic institutions have recently protested about feeling under pressure to check the accountability of their foreign students.

The letter said, “British universities have been positioned as central culprits for failing to regulate their intake of foreign students”.

According to IPPR.org, the UK has been dubbed as the second most popular destination for international students. Student visas offer a way for immigrants to legally study at British universities and it has been found that they are increasing in popularity. This is found to be especially prominent in Chinese nationals.

Figure 1: Top ten nationalities issued study visas (excluding student visas), 2013

immigration-statistics5-q4-2013 - nationality numbers - Copy (2)

Source: Gov.uk

 

The Home Office is putting more pressure on academic institutions to police the details of immigrants who wish to study in the UK. Universities such as Oxford, Warwick, Durham and Sheffield have spoken up about feeling used as a continuation of the work that UK Border Police undertake.

The issue of immigration is currently one of the most hotly debated topics in the United Kingdom to date. It is also a widely known fact that immigrants come into the country for a ‘better life’. They believe that the UK offers better opportunities in the areas of education and work.

 

Objections against enforced policing

 

Mette Berg of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford University said, “We have a duty of care towards our students, and there is an issue about this undermining the trust between tutor and student”.

The objections that were included in the letter were that universities were being taken advantage of by the Home Office. This is because it has requested that universities use their pastoral care to monitor student attendance and meetings with tutors.

In the letter, universities have accused the Home Office of treating non-EU students differently from UK and EU students. Monitoring foreign student’s behaviour was another grievance that was mentioned. Universities have accused the Home Office of forcing academic institutions to monitor non-academic undertakings and reporting these findings to the Home Office.

 

Enforcing rules for foreigners wishing to study in the UK

 

In 1996, in Section 11 of the Local Government Act, a law was passed which stipulated that funds would be made available to meet the needs of immigrants who are currently residing in the UK. The law specifically mentioned that the funds will support people with different language or customs from that of the UK.

Despite this law, a Home Office spokesperson stated that the student visa application process was re-evaluated to be made more vigorous and less open to abuse.

There have been accusations made that immigrants have been taking advantage of the British law system. The NHS for instance, is a prime example. The Queen’s Speech in late 2013 stipulated the end of immigrants taking advantage of the service.

 

Academic institutions protest against being used

 

Universities pride themselves as independent institutions. Oxford, Warwick, Durham and Sheffield universities have accused the Home Office of “undermining the autonomy and academic freedom of UK universities and their students”.

The stronger enforcements introduced by the Home Office has been in response to London Metropolitan University’s misdemeanour. The university temporarily lost its sponsor status in 2012. The new changes have also been made in response to higher education institutions becoming increasingly dependent on foreign students. This is due to the fees that they provide British universities. In terms of the UK economy, immigrants currently contribute £13bn.

Nicola Pratt from Warwick University stated that, “It is a major concern that the government is targeting overseas students as a way of meeting immigration targets”. Pratt also said, “These students are investing a huge amount into the higher education system”.

Alice Sachrajda, a Research Fellow at IPPR stated that, “The reduction in foreign student numbers is being driven by the net migration target, which is designed to meet the public’s concern about high immigration”.

Large numbers of foreigners arriving in short periods of time has been seen as a valid policy objective by the government to diminish the number of immigrants entering the country. This is to reduce pressures on communities in the country.

 

Why foreign students are attracted to the UK

 

Immigrants are attracted to studying in the UK, as it offers “a better quality of education” according to Immigration Matters. Since 1966, the British government has been supporting the English as an Additional Language (EAL) scheme. In addition, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG) was issued to educational authorities in the country. These laws have made coming to the UK a very attractive option for foreigners.

 

What the 160 academic institutions propose

The letter produced by the 160 academics requests the end of  institutional immigration checks. It asks for their non-EU students to be treated respectfully and equally. Universities UK has also been requested to speak out on behalf of British universities against monitoring foreign students.

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Student Visa’s in the UK

Recent data shows that the University of Birmingham, enroll the most international students than other Birmingham Universities, such as Birmingham City University and Aston University, However the chart shows that non-European Unions Students get accepted into Birmingham Universities than other European Universities,with 1460 beating out the 545 other European Union students at University of Birmingham, a similar pattern follows at Aston University, Birmingham City University and Birmingham College University.

However studies at UCAS, a British admission service for students applying for university or higher education, show that majority of international students that apply for university within the UK is, is students from China,with the numbers reaching as high as 12182 in 2012. Which is more applicants than countries closer to the UK such as Ireland and France. The greatest rise in numbers for applicants applying for British universities is Hong Kong with 3586 applicants in 2009 to 6780 applicants in 2013. What else is interesting to look is that number of applicants from Nigeria had steadily dropped since 2009 with 3144 applicants to 2595 applicants in 2013.

A Former International Student turned Lecturer at Coventry University was asked why he thought more non-European union students enroll and are accepted

“Firstly there are more non-European union students that European union students. Also I think that there are some good universities within Europe so many students from their don’t find it necessary to move countries, however I think many students come from developing countries and are trying to help themselves and their family by getting a decent degree and then a well paying job.”

Having spent 10 years studying within the UK, A University Lecturer,  had expressed his views on being a former international student, from Ghana and voices how he feels sorry for the younger generation of international students and how he feels that it is more difficult for international students to fully thrived within the UK university system.

A Bangladeshi International student, Mijan Rahman, a former International Student at Aston University, had preferred the idea of staying the UK than go back to his home country, due to the job prospects that England has to offer stating

“Moving from Bangladesh to the UK I knew after I completed my degree I wanted to live in the UK. I knew if I went back to my country all this hard work will go to waste. The job prospects are very low there; in the UK I have more opportunities.”

“I was not enjoying my experience as much, I didn’t get to live the ‘free’ student life that others were living. Although I couldn’t complain much as my life here was better than in Bangladesh.”

Knowing life was better in Birmingham; Rahman knew this would end soon as he would not be able to carry on studying and juggling two jobs at once whilst studying. His student visa was to come to an end soon.

“I prepared myself mentally as I knew would have to go back once this course had finished.” He said.

However in 2012 data shows that 64% EU nationals come to the UK to work compared to the 19% that come to study, Whereas 59% come to study from non-EU nationals and 19% chose to come for work.

Despite these statistics the government have issued less student visa’s for the third year in a row. In 2012 the amount of international students who successfully received a study visa had fallen 21% (211,000) since 2011 and a further 5% (-9,750) in the year ending June 2013 (204,469).

However despite the decline in student visa issues there was a 5% increase in student visitor visas in the year ending June 2013.

Kiri Kankhwende, the special projects and development manager at Media Diversified had mentioned in her feature piece posted on the Huffington Post that she believes that the British as a nation, are purposely unwelcoming towards Immigrants.

“the Big British Immigration Row, sums up everything that’s wrong with the current discourse on immigration: lots of heat and very little light.”

She also thinks that with the privatisation of Immigration checks that there is a possibility  that ethnic minority British Citizens who are more than likely to be considered foreign, would also be discriminated against.

Kankhewende also gives the readers a warning  “If you think this won’t affect you, it’s worth considering the implications on wider society of getting citizens to monitor one another. You may not be a landlord, employer or otherwise likely to be in a position to make immigration checks on another person, but you could still be affected. In order to avoid discrimination, efficiency and common sense suggests immigration checks for all.”

How immigration is having an effect on education

You encounter people everyday. These people are all different; be that in height, weight, eye colour, hair colour, and so on. They may have different goals in life than you do, they may have different experiences to you and they may even be from a different nationality than you do. This is the truth of the UK today, everyone is different. The United Kingdom is one of the largest multicultural countries in the world, with its ethnic population accounting for 7.7 million of the country’s total population of 56.1 million people.

It is recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), that 13% of the British population is now made up of migrants. Since 1945, immigration in the United Kingdom has increased, in particular, from the Republic of Ireland, but also from previous colonies of the British Empire such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Hong Kong and the Caribbean.

In December 2012, the most common non-UK country of birth for UK residents was India, hitting the chart at 729,000 Indian-born people, and, the most common non-British nationality in the UK was Polish, with 700,000 Polish nationals. The diagram below shows the bursts of non-UK born residents in different regions, along with the top five countries of birth per region.

Source: The Guardian (2011)

Source: The Guardian (2011)

The chart shows that there are 538,000 foreign nationals living in the West Midlands alone. The top five countries of birth of migrants living in the West Midlands are: Pakistan, India, Poland, Ireland and Jamaica, respectively.

This, then, proves that the people we encounter daily can also speak differently to us, they may be proficient in English, learning English as an additional language, or may not know English at all.

A secondary school teacher in Birmingham found that, in one school alone, data showed that 98% of students had English as an additional language.

History teacher in Birmingham, Jo Fairclough, said: “This included students who had only recently arrived to the UK and spoke little or no English.

“Communication is more difficult in these situations.”

Recent data by the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) found that the number of pupils who have, or are learning, English as an Additional Language (EAL) has increased by half a million in the last 15 years.

Jo added: “However there are EAL support teachers which help.

“The role of an EAL support teacher is to prepare relevant resources on a student’s home language.”

The government has been backing project in English as an Additional Language since, as early as, 1966, and there are around 246 support teachers employed to meet the needs of EAL pupils in the West Midlands.

The National Association for Langauge Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) have reported that: In 1966, Section 11 of the Local Government Act made funds available ‘to help meet the special needs of a significant number of people of commonwealth origin with language or customs which differ from the rest of the community.’ This included funding to support the education of EAL and bilingual learners.

In 1999, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG) was distributed to local authorities on a formula basis. The formula related to the number of EAL learners and the number of pupils from ‘underachieving’ minority ethnic groups in local authorities.

The purpose of this grant was to enable strategic managers in schools to narrow achievement gaps and ensure equality of outcomes, and, also to meet the costs of some of the additional support in place for the specific needs of bilingual learners and ‘under-achieving’ pupils. Each local authority was required to devolve the bulk of this funding to schools, and spending of this grant was restricted to the purposes outlined.

Despite significant opposition, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG) was mainstreamed into the Direct Schools Grant (DSG) in 2011, and schools were allowed complete freedom over how they chose to use it.

In 2013, the revised schools funding reform mentioned that an ‘EAL factor’ can be included in local funding formulae for schools. However, this factor would be limited to bilingual pupils who have been enrolled to English schools for a maximum of 3 years. Local schools authorities could also decide: whether to include an EAL factor in their formula; whether this factor will ‘count’ bilingual pupils who have been enrolled in a school in England for one, two or three years and the cash value of this factor for primary aged pupils and for secondary aged pupils. There is also no accountability mechanism in place to observe how schools make use of this funding.

You only have to walk through the grounds of a university to find out just how multicultural education in the UK has become. Be it, in the canteen, the library, the students’ union, or just the person sitting next to you in a lecture on Computer Engineering, universities are laced with international students from all over the world.

Mijan Rahman, a student from Bangladesh speaks on his experience in studying in the UK, and how he felt compelled to work two jobs to pay his university fees, following with enrolling onto an additional course to extend his study visa.

Originally coming to the UK to study Business Management at Aston University, Mijan said: “I had come here on a student visa 9 years ago, once my degree finished I started another course; so I would be able to extend my student visa. I had provided evidence that I was still studying.”

Previously working at McDonalds alone, Mijan added: “I did not want to take out a loan as I knew it would be difficult to pay off.

“My visa got extended as I started another course, but my financial problems increased as I was finding it more difficult to pay my university fees. So I got a second job at Morrison’s to help me survive.”

Reflecting on his experience as a student, Mijan said: “I wasn’t enjoying my experience as much; I didn’t get to live the ‘free’ student life that others were living. Although I couldn’t complain much as my life here was better than in Bangladesh.”

Now 29-years-old, Mijan has been able to obtain a British passport after marrying his girlfriend, who is a British national. He has found a job, and together with his wife, lives in London with their three month old baby boy.

A 2012 International Passenger Survey (IPS) conducted by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that the majority (64%) of EU nationals migrating to the UK did so to work, whilst, the majority (59%) of non-EU nationals were migrating to the UK to study. Figures obtained for all nationalities, showed that work and study were the top two reasons people gave when migrating.

A combined example of work and study can be taken from Hamdan Khan. Originally from Saudi Arabia, Hamdan moved to the UK in 2007. He completed his A levels and graduated from studying a degree in Photography and Video at Birmingham City University in 2013.

“The reason for me to move to the United Kingdom was because the education system in Saudi Arabia wasn’t as good.”

Moving to the UK with his mother and younger sister, Hamdan said: “I didn’t have any difficulties in speaking English because in Saudi Arabia we studied in an English medium school.”

By completing his A levels in the UK, the university in which he enrolled to, classified him as a national student, and therefore, he was charged the national fee for studying his course in the UK.

However, not wanting to take out a student loan in the fear that he will not be able to pay it back, Hamdan relied on financial support from his fathers’ business and also started to work part time at a newsagent to cover the cost for studying in the UK. Having been interested in photography and video, Hamdan also started a freelance business of his own.

After financial support from his fathers’ business became low due to losses, Hamdan said: “I had to work full time as a photographer and my mother worked in the newsagent, also full time.

“We struggled but we still paid for our university, and our daily needs.” He added.

Data reported by gov.uk, found that there has been a decline in the number of study visas issued by the government, for the third year running.

In 2012, the amount of international students who successfully received a study visa had fallen 21% (211,000) since 2011 and a further 5% (-9,750) in the year ending June 2013 (204,469).

These trends indicate study-related visas issued, admissions and long-term immigration have all continued to fall, though less quickly then previously.

The 9,750 (-5%) was more then account for by falls in student visas issued to Pakistani and Indian nationals whilst there were increases from other nationalities. These included a 3% increase for Chinese nationals and Libyan nationals who were up nearly three-fold (+277%).

Despite the slow decline in study visas issues, there was a 5% increase in student visitor visas issued in the year ending June 2013. Visitor visas allow students to stay in the UK for 6 months (11 months for English Language Schools) and cannot extend their visas.

Are foreign nationals who migrate to the UK in search of a better life, then, ‘taking our’ jobs? In November 2013, The Telegraph reported that a government-backed study found one in fifth jobs in key industries are being filled by migrants, for the sole reason that there is an apparent lack of skilled British individuals searching for employment.

The report also gives statistics from the Office for National Statistics which shows that the number of foreign nationals finding jobs in the UK had increased by 225,000 to 4.26  million in a year, as opposed to a rise of just 192,000 British-born workers.

In addition, temporary work restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian migrants have been lifted as of 1st January 2014. This could pose an increase in people immigrating from Romania and Bulgaria in the search for work.

An Arabian student starts a photography business at 18 years to pay university fees.


http://Listen Music Files – Audio Hosting – Sukhi Interview-1

Hamdan Khan (24 years old), a graduate from 2013 at Birmingham City University talks about his journey from moving to the UK on his mothers work permit in 2007 to gain A levels and a degree to pursue his passion in photography.

Moving to the UK with his mother and younger sister, he shares his struggles on surviving daily life with his family and having to pay university fees. To the point where no income was coming in to the household

He shares how he started his own photography business at the age of 18 years to become the breadwinner of the family.

History of EAL funding

history of eal funding

Click on the image for a timeline showing the history of EAL funding from 1966 to 2013.

University Of Birmingham to enroll the most international students

 

  Capture

The University of Birmingham have more international students than any other university in the West Midlands according to recent data by the Higher Education statistics agency (HESA).

The data shows numbers of students who are studying at Aston University, Birmingham City University, The University of Birmingham, and University College Birmingham.

The figures are categorised as students from the UK, other European Union students and Non- European- Union students and the total amount of undergraduate students studying at these four institutions.

This chart shows that that University of Birmingham has the most enrolled students who are from other European Unions and the most enrolled student from Non- European Unions. With just about one third of international students compared to University College Birmingham and Birmingham city.

 

Study visas to the UK continue to decline

Long-term trends in student immigration

The number of study visas (excluding student visitors) issued by government have declined for a third year data has revealed.

In the calender year 2012 the amount of international students who successfully received a study visa had fallen 21% (211,000) since 2011 and a further 5% (-9,750) in the year ending June 2013 (204,469).

These trends indicate study-related visas issued, admissions and long-term immigration have all continued to fall, though less quickly then previously.

The 9,750 (-5%) was more then account for by falls in student visas issued to Pakistani and Indian nationals whilst there were increases from other nationalities. These included a 3% increase for Chinese nationals and Libyan nationals which was up nearly three-fold (+277%).

Despite the slow decline in study visas issues, there was a 5% increase in student visitor visas issues in the year ending June 2013. Visitor visas allow students to stay in the UK for 6 months (11 months for English Language Schools) and cannot extend their visas. 

Birmingham has the highest number of EAL support teachers employed

Birmingham has the highest number of teachers employed for English as an Additional Language (EAL) support in the West Midlands, research shows.

Data obtained by the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) shows the number of teachers employed to meet the needs of English as an Additional Language (EAL) pupils.

Figure 1: Number of teachers employed in the West Midlands to meet the needs of English as an Additional Language (EAL) pupils

number of teachers employed for EAL

The chart shows Birmingham has the highest number of teachers employed to meet the needs of EAL pupils, with a figure of 74.

The only county in the West Midlands to have 0 teachers employed for EAL needs is Shropshire.

Number of EAL pupils increases by half a million in 15 years

Recent data by the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) shows the numbers of pupils who have, or are learning, English as an Additional Language (EAL) has increased by half a million in the last 15 years.

Figure 1: Total number of pupils whose first language is other than English (1997-2013)

Source: NALDIC

Source: NALDIC

The chart shows an increase in the number of pupils whose first language is other than English, between the years of 1997 and 2013. The peak is shown to be in the year of 2013, after steadily increasing for 5 years.

Figure 2: Percentage of school population learning EAL (1997-2013)

Source: NALDIC

Source: NALDIC

Figure 2 shows that although the percentage of pupils learning EAL remains under 20%, there has been a clear increase from the years between 1997 and 2013.

The chart also shows that the percentage of primary school pupils learning EAL has been relatively higher than that of secondary school pupils.

AUDIO: University Lecturer on being a former international student

A university lecturer at Coventry University, expresses his views on student immigration having spent 10 years within the UK on a student visa, moving from one university to another it was not an easy time for him. However he is now reflecting on that period of time, and comparing to how international students have to deal with student visa’s.