Lord Heseltine has called to question the UK government’s approach to counting non-EU students in its net immigration figures and has argued instead that foreign students should be excluded from government plans to cut net immigration to the UK. Higher Education is a thriving sector largely due to the diverse student body to which it seek to cater. Increasingly restricted immigration policies in the UK and across Europe are set to shape the future of the sector. Looking across our sister blogs, we’ve pulled together a series of extracts related to the debate.
The government’s efforts to bring down net migration have had significant negative impacts on migrants in the UK and those seeking to come here, writes Ruth Grove-White. She argues that treating immigration as a numbers game, to be dealt with through increasingly tough measures felt at the community level, is a short-sighted approach.
As the 2015 general election draws closer, the position of migrants in the UK political debate looks increasingly dismal. It is still at least eight months before party manifesto documents can be expected to be released, but if the debate thus far is anything to go by there seems little chance that we will see an inspiring range of policy ideas brought forward to tackle this most complex of areas.
This is unsurprising, perhaps, given the current political landscape. The UKIP threat looming large after their strong showing in the 2014 local and European elections has increased the pressure on the three mainstream parties to talk tough on immigration. Whilst backbenchers from across the political parties complain about the implications of an anti-immigration tone, hostile messaging on immigration is regularly echoed on the frontbenches of Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Most recently, prime minister David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg laid out their views on immigration in separate interventions, with both choosing to emphasise tough measures on immigration as the key tools in their box of policy tricks for the coming period.
The rules relating to international students also underwent big changes, with universities and colleges, similarly to employers, required to register with the home office as ‘sponsors’ in order to take on students from outside the EEA. The language requirement for international students was raised and new measures restricting their ability to bring dependents to live with them in the UK were introduced. Perhaps most controversially, however, the government closed the Post Study Work route, which had previously allowed graduates a two year period within which to find a job in the UK – this generated widespread concern that the UK was reducing its attractiveness as a destination for the lucrative international student market. In 2013, for the first time in 29 years, the number of international students coming to the UK dropped. Certain nationalities appear to have been affected more than others by these changes with, for example, the number of students coming from Commonwealth countries including India and Pakistan declining from 100,000 to 35,000 over the past three years.
The full piece can be found on our sister site, British Politics and Policy (BPP).
Evidence from North Carolina shows that immigrant students with limited English have a very minor impact on native students’ performance
Much of the recent concern about undocumented immigration into the U.S. can be linked to the perceived burden that these immigrants may create on the public education system. But is this really the case? Through analyzing detailed information on the performance of students in North Carolina,Timothy M. Diette and Ruth Uwaifo Oyelere find that the presence of students with limited English does have a negative, though small, effect on the math and reading achievement of natives that are male and black. They argue, however, that these effects are so small as not to warrant policy interventions.
The recent surge of immigrants, particularly from Latin America, has sparked debates on U.S immigration policy and concerns over the potential negative effects. One of the arguments against the recent wave of immigration is the perceived burden it creates on the public education system. People are concerned about the explicit costs, such as additional staff and materials, as well as the implicit cost of harming the education of students already in schools in the United States. But, do students learning to speak English really harm native students? And if so, how large is the effect and is it the same impact across female and male students or across students of different races? In new research, we find that while black and white male students do experience some negative effects, but that these are not large enough to justify significant policy concerns.
We focused our research on a subset of immigrant children, those identified as having Limited English (LE) proficiency. Many view these students as those who are most likely to create negative effects on native U.S. students. We make use of a methodology that eliminates unobservable characteristics associated with time and individual schools which otherwise can lead to biased estimates of the effects of LE students.
Figure 1 – Effect of 1 percent increase on number of Limited English Students on native student Achievement by Race and Gender
We find that although on average Black natives experience negative LE student peer effects, the effects are only statistically significant for Black males. Our results also suggest no significant effect on White females, which is consistent with our earlier findings. However for White males we find negative LE student peer effects in math (-0.09 of the standard deviation) and no significant effects in reading.
For the full piece that delves more into the specific methodology used for this research and why this findings are important, visit USAPP.
Book Review: Occupational Change in Europe: How Technology and Education Transform the Job Structure by Daniel Oesch
What do European national labour markets look like? How is technological innovation affecting the availability of different kinds of jobs? The debate about the destiny of European labour market is more intense than ever, as the deep crisis that affects Western countries continues to pose new challenges to the fragile equilibrium of the old continent’s economic system. Occupational Change in Europe is an interesting read for those who wish to gain insights into the mechanisms that affect the shape of employment at present and the European job market could evolve in the near future, writes Elisa Pannini.
Read the full review by Elisa Pannini at LSE Review of Books.
The greater market integration of the European Higher Education Area may have unequal benefits across countries and disciplines.
Since the late 1990s, European higher education has moved towards greater integration, increasing student mobility and more comparable national systems. The past two decades have also seen a gradual rise in the role of market elements in higher education. Pedro Teixeira finds that this greater integration may be leading to a greater concentration of funding across certain countries and academic disciplines. He writes that an EU that is increasingly concerned with global relevance may now be more willing to concentrate resources in a smaller number of elite institutions.
European Higher education is facing a time of significant change that has changed its identity and the political expectations regarding its societal roles. As in other areas of public intervention, the traditional public ethos of higher education systems and institutions has been questioned and eroded, with the political discourse giving growing visibility to the role of markets, competition, privatization, and efficiency in higher education. European governments have been more willing to introduce market elements into the public sector and this has been increasingly felt in higher education in aspects such as greater competition for funding, students and staff, and the development of private higher education in several parts of Europe.
These developments have been enhanced by the winds of change that have been gathering pace in recent years at the European supra-national level. Major policy developments have been promoted by the well-known Sorbonne (1998) and Bologna Declarations (1999), which have aimed at fostering greater integration in European higher education, through increased mobility and comparability of national systems. This process was increasingly shaped by the Lisbon targets (to be replaced by Horizon 2020) and by the view that higher education is central to Europe’s economic and social goals. Hence, the development of a more integrated higher education area was progressively moulded by economic forces and motivations and geared towards the emergence of an integrated higher education market.
The insights drawn from past experiences of European integration suggest that the effects of market integration are complex and that the benefits may be unequally distributed. Moreover, the analysis of other processes of economic integration in Europe indicates that the peculiarities of a sector play an important role in steering the effects regarding the convergence and divergence, and the concentration and dispersion of activities. In the case of higher education, the current picture is somewhat blurred, but some trends suggest that the fears of concentration are real. This is especially significant in the areas that we tend to associate with the prestige and reputation such as research activities, with the allocation of the most competitive funding being concentrated in a small number of countries and institutions.
The full piece can be found at EUROPP.
Citizenship education should give young people the skills and knowledge to participate in political debate on social media
Young people engage increasingly interact on social media, including engaging in political debate. Mark Shephard, Stephen Quinlan, Stephen Tagg and Lindsay Paterson have studied this form of discussion, and believe it offers potential to increase political literacy and engagement. However, there are important lessons that need to be learned by users of social media platforms, including about the accuracy of information and dealing with inflammatory statements. This post is part of our series on youth participation.
Social media is now common currency in the daily lives of most people, particularly younger people. It is also more prevalent in politics, being widely employed as a tool of communication by political campaigns. It has an important agenda-setting function, with many news stories now broken via channels such as Twitter. We are also beginning to observe social media having impacts on voter behaviour with research illustrating that receipt of messages on Facebook had an effect on voter turnout in the 2010 US mid-term elections.
The increasing importance of social media in politics is shifting attention to how these tools can be used more effectively to increase political literacy and engagement in order to create a more informed and critical citizenry who are savvy in their social media interactions. Building on our research of social media platforms of the Scottish independence referendum 2014, a dimension of which has explored the content of over 5,300 social media comments on the BBC’s Have Your Say (HYS) discussion threads, this article identifies five points that users of social media platforms need to keep in mind when evaluating contributions and information obtained from these channels.
The full piece can be found at Democratic Audit.