Paul Raybould, QS Enrolment Solutions’ Director of Marketing & Market Intelligence, spoke at the Higher Education Commission’s
Inquiry into Higher Education Exports in the House of Lords this week.
The Inquiry – the sixth from the Commission – seeks to explore the obstacles to growing HE exports, what can be done to improve the value of exports post-Brexit, and how the UK can advance the other benefits of international education exports. Paul spoke at the session on international student demand and supply, which was the first of six evidence sessions in the current inquiry.
Paul gave evidence alongside other sector experts, including Sarah Stevens, Head of Policy, Russell Group, Dr Joanna Newman, Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Julia Black, Pro-Director of Research and Interim Director of LSE (2016-2017), and Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International.
He outlined the need to ensure that metrics, such as the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), are understood by international students. Drawing on initial findings from QS Enrolment Solutions’ 2018 International Student Survey, due to be published later this year, he told the Commission that their research “shows that international students will use TEF results to decide between institutions – with just over 50% of prospective students agreeing with the statement that ‘The Teaching Excellence Framework is the best way of understanding teaching quality.’”
Highlighting international students’ use of the TEF, Paul Raybould warned that there are a number of misconceptions about the TEF that the sector needs to be aware of: “Almost 60% of respondents believe that the TEF measures both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching quality, showing its implications expand beyond the metrics it was created to measure.”
He added that: “It is clear that international students welcome metrics that simplify the analysis of complex factors such as teaching quality. As we come to understand the impact of the TEF, now is the right time to ensure that such metrics are understood and therefore work to benefit both students and universities.”
Giving evidence to the Higher Education Commission’s Co-Chairs - Lord Norton of Louth and Professor Simon Marginson - Paul emphasised the strength of the international higher education market in the UK, with its reputation for high quality teaching saying: “In terms of international student recruitment, one of the UK’s biggest strengths is its longstanding history of recruiting large numbers of students combined with its reputation for high-quality teaching. Our International Student Survey shows that high-quality teaching is one of the most important factors when choosing a university and country to live in.”
Commenting on how the political and economic climate is affecting the sector, Paul said: “How welcoming a place is perceived to be towards international students is one of the main factors in choosing a country and city to study in, and to a slightly lesser extent it’s also a factor when choosing which university. There are several factors that are currently impacting this, including the previous removal of the post-study work visa, international students being included within the UK’s immigration cap, and also Brexit.”
To receive this year’s International Student Survey report, visit www.internationalstudentsurvey.com
and follow @QSEnrolmentS
on Twitter to stay up to date.