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Postgraduate system fails UK's economic future

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 13:52 GMT Jump to Comments

A major study by the Higher Education Commission says that urgent reform of postgraduate education is needed to ensure that the UK produces enough highly skilled workers.

The report warns that the higher education industry is overly geared towards training students from abroad, leaving UK nationals disadvantaged. This potential shortage of academics leaves Britain's economic future and global position in doubt.

Students from overseas pay higher tuition fees, and are thus a more profitable prospect for universities.

The Commission’s study warns that without reform, the UK will become the  "education outsourcing capital of the world".

While post-graduate qualifications are proving more and more common in he workplace, rising undergraduate fees and banks reticence to offer loans make study difficult for many students.
The report warns that without investment at this stage, UK firms will be forced to rely on overseas talent, or re-locate to areas where there is a superior labor force.

The UK appears incresingly isolated from other states within the wider European Economic Area, with only  an 18% increase in those persuing postgraduate study since 1999, compared to 200% elsewhere.

England and Wales rank alongside countries such as Andorra and Kazakhstan in terms of how many home students continue their studies.

Chairing the group who prepared the report was Graham Spittle, IBM's chief technology officer.

Speaking on where Briain stands globally, he said, "We can't compete with countries like China and India on numbers, but we can compete, and win, on ideas and innovation. The postgraduate sector needs to be brought in from the cold and hardwired into the UK's strategy for economic growth."

The report follows a similar investigation earlier this year from the 1994 Group of research universities, which blamed the current situation on succesive governments for ignoring the issue.

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