Thursday, 23 June 2016

Brexit and education

The U.K. Votes on Brexit later tomorrow. We have heard snippets about it here in Australia mostly from people who think it's daft. (Does seem very racist and Australia is sadly often mentioned by the right in the UK for our sordid approach to refugees as if it is a great way to go!) 
As far as education is concerned it seems to be universally believed that the UK staying in the EU is a good idea. Below are some reasons why:

We have started thinking about what The Brexit would do in relation to British education. This round-up is by no means exhaustive, but gives an indication of how things might look moving forward.

Universities UK, which represents university principals, has argued that membership of the 28-nation bloc has had an “overwhelmingly positive” impact on the standard of higher education and has helped to cement the strong global reputation of Britain’s universities.

Some of the key areas noted in articles this week have been funding, research and university tuition fees.

  • Research programmes
    • “In” advocates in British Higher Education have commented that exiting the European Union could have a negative impact when it comes to EU research programmes
    • Leaving the EU could, according to “in” campaigners, restrict the number of researchers and students coming in to the UK, as well as restricting the number of British students who wish to study in Europe. This could, in turn, reduce the strength of British universities
    • Funding from Brussels is worth £1bn a year, boosting the quality of research, benefitting the economy and helping British academics to tap into a continent-wide pool of knowledge.
  • Fees
    • Leaving the EU would allow universities to charge EU students higher fees. This would bring an end to UK taxpayers “subsidies” for students coming in from Europe, therefore there is an argument that leaving the EU would bring financial benefits for universities and the public
    • No more EU membership would mean no more entitlement to UK government fee loans of up to £9,000 a year for EU students (unless the UK signed up to the European Economic Area, membership of which currently gives nations’ students equal access to UK fee loans)
  • Staff mobility
    • The Russell Group says in its submission to the competences review of freedom of movement that 18.7% of academic staff at its member institutions in 2011-12 were EU nationals. “The ability of universities to recruit EU nationality (excluding UK) staff and to attract EU nationality students without having to negotiate the UK visa system, with the attendant expense and administrative burden for both parties, is incredibly valuable,” it says.
    • Universities UK notes that there are 125,000 EU students at British universities, generating more than £2.2bn for the economy and creating 19,000 jobs, while 14 per cent of academic staff come from other EU nations.

In a letter to the media Universities UK states: “While no-one is suggesting that UK universities could not survive outside the EU, leaving would mean cutting ourselves off from unique support and established networks and would undermine the UK’s position as a global leader in science, arts and innovation,”

I have looked but can't find any reasons why leaving the EU would be good for education in the UK?

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