File photo of Damian Hinds. (Photo: VCG)
LONDON, March 16 (Xinhua) -- A new international education strategy to increase the number of overseas students studying in Britain by 30 percent was announced Saturday.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox jointly published the strategy saying it will cement Britain's leading role in the global market as it prepares to leave the European Union.
Britain currently hosts around 460,000 international higher education students, and the education sector generates approximately 26.5 billion US dollars through education exports and transnational activity. This includes income from international students, English language training, education providers setting up sites overseas, and education technology solutions being sold worldwide.
The strategy sets out an ambition to grow the total number of international students during the year to 600,000 and generate 46.5 billion dollars through education exports by 2030, a rise of 75 percent. The plans focus on not only retaining existing markets such as Europe, but also on raising the profile of the education sector in global markets such as Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Education Secretary Hinds said: "The UK's education system is world-leading and its reputation is the envy of many countries around the globe. As we prepare to leave the EU it is more important than ever to reach out to our global partners and maximize the potential of our best assets. That includes our education offer and the international students this attracts."
The strategy includes a number of measures to help the sector maximize the potential of British education exports abroad, including appointing a new International Education Champion to boost overseas activity by developing strong partnerships and tackling challenges across the world.
The strategy will also extend the period of post-study leave for international student visas and consider how the visa process can be improved for applicants and supporting student employment.
A UK government spokesperson said: "There is no limit on the number of international students that can study in the UK, and to ensure the UK continues to attract and welcome them, the post-study leave period will be extended to six months for undergraduate and master's students attending institutions with degree awarding powers, and a year for all doctoral students. The strategy also looks at ways of supporting international students into employment."