Prime Minister's initiative creates greater access to UK education for Emirati students
- United Arab Emirates: Monday, March 01 - 2004 at 11:13
- PRESS RELEASE
The number of Emirati students studying at higher education institutions in the UK rose by 22 per cent to over 1,300 for the academic year 2002/3 compared to 2001/2, according to statistics compiled by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and reported by the British Council.
The number of Gulf nationals (including those from the UAE) studying in the UK rose by 17 per cent to almost 6,500 in 2002/03 compared to 2001/02, and have risen by 35 per cent since 1999. Collectively, the Gulf now ranks sixth in the list of countries sending students to the UK for higher education.
The British Council attributes the increase in international students to several factors; practical changes have made the UK a more accessible destination, whilst the British Council has successfully communicated the benefits of a UK education. UK universities and colleges have also played a key role, significantly increasing their own investment and effort in this area.
Stephanie Evans, UAE Education Promotion Manager at the British Council, commented: "The UAE student numbers are very encouraging and are the result of the combined efforts of a number of UK organisations working alongside the British Council - British Embassy, VisitBritain, UK Visas - which, together, are making UK higher education more accessible. From our latest research in 2003, we know that the top three reasons international students choose the UK are its academic reputation; the international recognition UK qualifications enjoy; and the UK's cultural diversity. The British Council has been concentrating its efforts on making students aware of these factors and helping facilitate access to these world class educational opportunities."
In a record-breaking year, HESA statistics show that the number of non-EU international students studying in the UK rose by twenty-three per cent (32,000 students) in 2002/3, compared to the previous academic year, to a total of 174,575. This compares with an average increase of eight per cent in the three previous years.
Regional Director of the British Council, Mr Peter Ellwood, added: "The latest figures reflect the fact that more local students from the Gulf region are now actively looking for new study destination options, in what is a changing international educational environment, and recognise the benefits of experiencing a first class UK education. In fact, the HESA numbers only reflect nationals from the Gulf studying in the UK and not the substantial numbers of expatriate students choosing the UK, so the real picture is even more encouraging.
"This is good news for all the parties involved - the students, obviously, but also the UK institutions, which benefit from greater diversity on their campuses; and the UK as a whole, which benefits from the opportunities to develop long-term educational and cultural links with other countries," he concluded.
Over one million international students could be seeking higher education in the UK by 2025, according to new figures from the British Council, which recently called for a successor strategy to build upon the PMI's achievements and to respond to the changing nature of the international education market.
The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations with a network of 243 offices and teaching centres in 100 countries. In England, the British Council is registered as a charity. The British Council in the UAE connects people with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK and builds mutually beneficial relationships between people in the UK and the UAE, through its centres in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah.
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