UK to make English tests tougher for foreign students

The UK government is planning to introduce a tougher English language test, as a measure to limit the number of foreign students entering the country, though there is a concern over the loss of revenue after a drop in the number of Indian students’ enrolment in the Universities.

The proposal, if implemented, would reduce the number of foreign students by nearly 25,000 every year.

While there is a continuing concern among stakeholders about the decline of the number of students enrolling in the Universities from Commonwealth countries, the Conservative government, led by David Cameron is planning to further reduce the strength by introducing tougher English language test. International students need to pass a written and spoken English language test as part of University admission and visa procedures.

Home Secretary Teresa May and Prime Minister, David Cameron have Cameron’s decision might potentially have adverse impact on the higher education economy.

Home Secretary Teresa May and Prime Minister, David Cameron

Home Secretary Teresa May and Prime Minister, David Cameron

UK business secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor George Osborne are both concerned that cutting overseas student numbers will damage the economy. A senior government source told the newspaper: “George and Sajid will not back anything that reduces student numbers.” The universities also argue that science and engineering students would be harder hit because their language skills are worse than those of arts students.

They fear some science courses would have to close down. Nicola Dandridge, the chief executive of Universities UK, said: “There is no evidence to suggest that students recruited under the current English language requirements are held back by their English language skills or are performing poorly academically.

“In fact, official data shows the degree results achieved by international students are similar to those of UK students, with 87 per cent of non-UK students achieving a first or second-class degree.” Indian students constitute the second-largest foreign students group in the UK after the Chinese and nearly 20,000 Indian students went to the UK for higher studies in the academic year 2013-2014.

The number of Indian students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses have declined by nearly 50 per cent between 2010 and 2012 after UK scrapped the two year post-study work permit.

– Spadman