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UK lags behind international further education funding

The UK is lagging behind its international competitors in public funding for post-16 education, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

‘Education at a Glance 2010’ now ranks the UK behind countries including the United States, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Poland and Slovenia, in its level of public funding for post-secondary education.

Aaron Porter, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), believes this is because other countries have realised the importance of funding further education and producing highly skilled individuals.

“Other countries are ahead of the game by realising the huge benefits of investing in education and training,” said Mr Porter.

“Ministers in the UK would do well to develop a fair and sustainable funding system for our colleges, universities and students which will help us develop the high level skills we need to ensure economic recovery.”

This report comes just a after Immigration Minister Damien Green promised to tackle the “unsustainable” international student immigrant population.

The Home Office estimates that more than 90,000 people come into the UK each year to take up pre-degree level qualifications.

However, Mr Porter argues that capping the number of international students in the UK would significantly damage the economy and society.

He said: “To suggest that the levels of those coming to the UK to study are too high is a politically motivated misinterpretation of the huge contribution which international students make to our colleges, universities and the economy.

“Damian Green has clearly failed to recognise that our home students also benefit from sharing an experience with colleagues and friends from abroad. The Government should be proud that students choose to study in this country creating an education industry worth £12.5 billion a year to the British economy.”

Mark Astley

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