UK Universities and Students’ Unions Have Let Down International Students

Last week it was finally announced that London Metropolitan University will have its highly trusted status licence revoked. It was disappointing that the news of London Metropolitan University had already been leaked before the official announcement.

Then came the statement by the Vice-Chancellor of London Met, along with some bureaucratic words from the UKBA ,and finally social media started its own shenanigans with support for the London Met and thrashing of Coalition education policy.

Wonderful. Amazing. Brilliant. And so Hypocritical.

Universities and Students’ Unions in Britain now care about International Students? Since when? Oh, I will tell you: since the time that they realised, ‘holy lord, we will lose the exponential sums of money from these students’ i.e. what is happening with London Met.

I will be honest – what has happened at London Met, is not at all surprising to me. It’s not news. Universities and Students’ Unions gave up and lost the trust of International Students ages ago.

1. Coalition Policy -Students As Immigrants

Remember the pledges the Coalition made of reducing the immigration numbers for Britain? Well, good, I don’t know the economics behind it. But what a farce when you use a number of students entering the UK for studies as immigrants?

Universities in the UK and Students’ Union gave up on International students then, didn’t they? Well done.

2. Closing the PSW Visa Scheme – Students Were Sold a Lie

GCSE English result goalposts were moved mid-term and schools were rightly angered at it. Consequently, they raised their voices in support of students. Now, rewind 1 year back. The Coalition announces that as of 6th April 2012, PSW Visa Scheme will be closed.

All the international students in the UK went, “hold on – our University advertised to us this 2 year Post Study Work visa after graduation, what happens to that?” Answer – Nobody cares.

Universities and their Students’ Unions left international students high and dry. I don’t have quarrels with closing the PSW visa: the elected government of Britain makes the rules, but why didn’t they set this rule for new students entering, rather than those currently in the UK?

3. London Met – Another Slap for International Students

London Met as university, was found by UKBA to be non-compliant to its practices and audits. Fine, they should be punished. But again, why ask the current international students in the university to face the flak? Stop further international students coming to London Met, but those that are here legally, why are they put under the stress and in a way asked to ‘get out’?

International Students Pay Fees with No-Guarantee?

Of all the three points raised above, there is massive support and sympathy amongst universities for the students mentioned in the third point. Support for London Met. Why were they quiet, probably having roast turkey and wine for dinner, whilst commenting, “oh well, too bad”.

I will tell you why: because London Met will not get more international students and that means less money coming in. Whilst in the other two points, students will pay or had already paid their tuition fees. That’s cool, isn’t it. Once the student pays £13,000 per year and signs up for 3-4 years, then who cares if the rules change in the meantime or the student is stressed out?

This is the story of UK Universities at the moment.

I graduated from a British university and I enjoyed it. Britain is a lovely place to stay and study, but currently I am dismayed that my friends and fellow international students are left high and dry.

International Students are sold a dream whilst in their own country, before realising that every rule in the book can be torn and their Universities and Students’ Unions have no power to help them.

 Image Credit: Thammiesy

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