As I write this month’s update from my home town in India, I almost find it hard to believe we are already at the fifth month of 2017! With two global Festivals of Learning already in the past, it’s just gone so fast, with every month a new headline in the news!
While we’ve eagerly been watching the Higher Education and Research Bill (HERB) ping-pong its way through Parliament, April’s announcement of a snap General Election ended up fast-tracking the Bill – and now the Higher Education and Research Act has been granted Royal Assent! At the end of lots of speculation on which of the Houses would give in to amendments, and how it would affect the core principles of the Bill, the peers at the House of Lords approved the final amendments by the Government.
Of course, the Act will have a considerable impact on us as a sector, with the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) set to release its first results in June. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds after months of many of us in the sector responding to consultations – like HESA’s NewDLHE consultation which also closed in April.
What, of course, was disappointing about the swift passing of the HERB was the rejection by the House of Commons to remove international students from the immigration numbers. April’s poll carried out by UUK once again demonstrates that a vast majority of the British public enjoy the presence of international students. Only a quarter of those polled saw international students as immigrants, with 64% recognising the positive impact they bring to our lives and community.
Of course, we at Global BU continue to be passionate and driven to encourage and support a bustling global community where home and international students mingle – whether it be on our campus or through our virtual networks of Hubs of Practice or our global Festivals of Learning. As ever, in the latest report from UUK, I am continually reassured how our Global BU ambitions align with the UK strategy for creating a new generation of global graduates.
Providing more opportunities for our students to have an international experience as part of their degree at BU is one of the ways that we are helping to shape these global graduates of the future. Alongside our three ‘Destination’ programmes in ASEAN, India and China this year, colleagues in the Faculty of Management recently accompanied 100 final year BA Events Management Students on a four day trip to Portugal. This was a key component of their International Event Management unit, helping students to develop their understanding of how a tourism destination markets itself as an international event destination.
So, as we proudly hand over our Global Festival of Learning 2017 flame from ASEAN to India and now to China – I know that we are building a strong cohort of global talent who enrich not only our campus but our shared global communities.