The Government is on the threshold of destroying one of its strongest export industries, the English language teaching sector, worth billions of pounds annually to the UK in visible and invisible exports. Tier 4 of The PBS, launched in April, brought sweeping changes to the int’l education sector. The gov’t’s aim was to rid the UK of bogus colleges, which were not just a security threat but also a blot on the UK’s unassailable reputation in education. This work has not been completed. A further aim was to streamline the issuing of study visas. Some changes were welcome, others serve only to turn bona fide students away from the UK. The gov’t now aims to further restrict int’l students from studying in the UK. That will devastate this vibrant and highly professional industry, leading to mass redundancies in language schools, secondary schools, colleges & universities, with huge losses to the economy and Treasury. The English language is a crown Jewel – let’s protect and nurture it!
As you may now be aware the government plans to hold a major review of the PBS system this December. It will cover the below focus areas:
- Should the minimum level of qualification that can be studied through the PBS be raised from NQF level 3?
- Should the minimum level of English language qualification that can be studied in the UK through the PBS be raised from CEFR level A2?
- Should English language testing be introduced for all courses of NQF level 5 and below, including English language courses, and if so, through what mechanism?
- Should access to vocational courses be restricted?
- Should we introduce a differential approach for countries which have historically been sources of illegal migration, raising the minimum level of qualification and introducing stricter tests for individuals from those higher risk countries?
- Should we restrict the work rights attached to student visas?
- Should we place limits on the progression of students on courses up the qualifications scale without their returning to their home countries?
These particular points could have a significant and detrimental effect on both education providers and students across all areas.
We have been advised by English UK members that there is an e-petition which is available for all to sign online in order to demonstrate support for the sector.
The main aim for the e-petition is for it to reach the top 5 most-signed petitions in order for it to be taken seriously by the government, so do take a couple of minutes and add your support.
The Petition is now live at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/PBSReview/