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作者: 来源: 日期:2016/10/31 8:45:04

Student visa curbs would damage vital British universities





What products and services will Britain sell in the post-Brexit world? Car exporters fear for their futures outside the EU’s single market and customs union. Financial institutions talk of pulling back to New York or moving to Frankfurt if they were to lose their passporting rights.



Fortunately, Britain still has a world-leading export industry: higher education — an appreciating asset when a quarter of the world’s population speaks English, millions more are learning and many want to study outside their home countries. With the pound plunging, British education looks particularly attractive.



Or it would do, if Theresa May’s Conservative government had not chosen last week to give this vital UK business a good thumping. Amber Rudd, the home secretary, told the Conservative party conference that the government was considering a two-tier student visa system, “making sure our world-leading institutions can attract the brightest and the best . . . while looking at tougher rules for students on lower-quality courses”.

或者,事情本该如此,如果特里萨•梅(Theresa May)的保守党政府近期没有选择给这个重要行业一记重击的话。内政大臣安伯•拉德(Amber Rudd)在保守党会议上表示,政府正在考虑两级学生签证制度,“确保我们世界领先的院校能够吸引最聪明和最优秀的学生……同时对质量较低的课程的学生实施较严的规则”。广州移民翻译公司。


For those unfamiliar with the class structure of UK universities, there are two broad groups. There are those that have always called themselves universities, including the Russell Group of top research institutions that boasts star performers such as Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College.

对于那些不熟悉英国大学课程结构的人而言,英国的院校分为两大类。有一类一直以来都自称为大学,包括由顶尖研究型院校组成的罗素大学集团(Russell Group),其中有牛津(Oxford)、剑桥(Cambridge)和伦敦帝国理工学院(Imperial College London)等明星院校。


And there are those that used to be called polytechnics, but which have, since 1992, been allowed to call themselves universities too. It is their offerings that Ms Rudd appears to be referring to when she talks of “lower-quality courses”.



That the new universities are not up to much is an article of faith among many who have never studied, taught at or visited them. (Although they are called “new” universities, many have been around for a long time.) Those who have had some contact with these institutions (I am married to a lecturer at one) know that while they have some below-par courses — just as some of the old universities do — the former polytechnics have their own strengths. These include linking students with employers early on in their degrees.



Many of these courses support the economy of the future. These institutions also ensure the leading faculty members do their fair share of teaching and provide extensive support to poorer students.



If Mrs May is as keen as she says she is on “every single person — regardless of their background, or that of their parents — [being] given the chance to be all they want to be”, she should look after the institutions that do most to lift people up. According to MillionPlus, the campaign group, two-thirds of their students come from lower-income households. That social mobility the Conservatives talk about? Much of it happens at the new universities.



Foreign students are crucial to their mission: 10 per cent of their undergraduates and 29 per cent of their postgraduates come from outside the UK. Making it harder for these students to get visas (and universities say that the existing visa regime is already putting foreign students off) will imperil many of their courses, as well as the jobs of both academic and non-academic staff.



The new universities are not the only sector under attack. The government also wants a stricter visa regime for those coming to the UK to learn English.



There have been some bogus language schools over the years, and the government has rightly shut many of them down. But there are plenty of decent ones. According to a report commissioned by English UK, the language centres association, there are more than 550 accredited and inspected English language teaching centres in the UK, including private and state schools, further education colleges, universities and summer camps.

多年来英国一直有一些冒牌的语言学校,政府关闭了其中的许多学校,这样做是正确的。但英国还有很多正规的语言学校。根据语言中心联盟English UK委托撰写的研究报告,英国有超过550所经过认证和检验的英语语言教学中心,包括私立和公立学校、继续教育学院、大学和夏令营。


Of the more than 1.4m students learning English outside their home countries in 2014, more than a third came to the UK, spending £1.2bn on fees, accommodation and living costs.



Why is the government so oblivious to the damage that keeping these students out will cause? Because it insists on counting students as immigrants and is trying to bring immigration down. Mrs May refused to take students out of the immigration statistics when she was home secretary and is unlikely to do so as prime minister, even though opinion polls show the majority of Britons do not see students as immigrants and are happy for them to come.



If the UK no longer wants these university or English-language students, there are other countries that do. It is not only the UK’s traditional competitors in English-speaking countries such as the US, Canada and Australia that are willing to take them. Universities from the Netherlands to China are offering courses in English. You can attend English language schools almost everywhere.



Many of these institutions must have feared the weak pound would give UK education a competitive boost. They will doubtless see the government’s self-sabotage as the best news they have had in years.