Category Archives: Education

“I started another course after my degree to extend my student visa” claims a Bangladeshi student

Battling two jobs to survive and pay off university fees, Mijan Rahman struggled alone to pay for his degree as he wanted to study and stay in the UK.

At 20 years old Rahman had come to Birmingham to study Business management at Aston University, with high expectations of living life as a student the tables had turned when he had started his life with a fresh start in Birmingham.


Financial Problems

He filled up his free time with a full time job at McDonalds to help pay for his university fees; whilst attending at university full time.

“Moving from Bangladesh, I knew after I completed my degree I wanted to live in the UK. 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.”

Rahman said he was determined to avoid going back to Bangladesh, “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”.


Extended student visa

He wanted to stay in the UK and work hard to make a life worth living in Birmingham. Rahman stressed upon how difficult it became to survive as a student and pay off the fees. “I did not want to take out a loan as I knew it would be difficult to pay off” he added.

“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 alone”.

Immigration statistics regarding extensions in stay state there were 2% fewer study-related grants of extension in the year ending March 2013 (99,011) compared with year ending March 2012 (100,808).


Comparing life in Bangladesh to Birmingham

He added, “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.”

Knowing life was better in Birmingham; Rahman knew this would end soon as he wouldn’t be able to carry on studying and juggling two jobs at once. 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.

“Unexpectedly I started to date a British girl, our relationship had become serious. As we progressed as a couple we decided to get married. I had then applied for a British passport because I married a British woman and was able to stay here.”

Rahman, who is 29 years, is currently living in London with a job and a family as they gave birth to a baby boy 3 months ago.

“After struggling alone with my financial issues and re-applying for student visas, my life is now on the right track. I got through my degree alone; got married with no family around and now have a baby to look after.”

“Coming here on a student visa and building a new life distanced me from my loved ones, having not seen them for 9 years I am going back in a few days to Bangladesh to introduce them to my small family”.


“98% of students have English as an additional language” says teacher

“98% of students have English as an additional language” according to secondary school teacher Jo Fairclough.

Jo, a teacher in Birmingham, makes the claim after data was released to teachers at the school where she works.

“This included students who had only recently arrived to the UK and spoke little or no English” she added.

A 2012 school census found that in the West Midlands alone there were 51,810 secondary school pupils out of a total of 358,855, whose first language is known or believed to be other than English.

Jo, a history teacher in Birmingham, said: “Communication is more difficult in these situations.

“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.”

Schools have been directly funded by the government for EAL (English as an Additional Language) support since 1966.

However, it is reported by the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) that from April 2013 an ‘EAL’ factor can be included into school funding with a condition that bilingual pupils have enrolled to English schools for a maximum of 3 years.

Alongside EAL support, Jo said: “It is always important to use visual prompts during the lesson, for example, using a pen on a PowerPoint slide to show a writing task, an ear when students needed to listen.”

She added: “I think spoken English is picked up more quickly as students are immersed in the spoken language as soon as they arrive in the UK.

“Students who are fluent in speaking English may still show issues with written tasks, so it’s important to use visual prompts.”

A 2012 survey report by the NASUWT union, found that the decrease of school funding allocated for EAL support imposed a risk to significant cuts in the number of specialist teachers and support staff.