#GE2017 election manifestos – Sir David Bell on HE & Brexit

Senior academics and leading experts in their field will gave their perspectives on the main education issues in the General Election campaign and challenges for the next Government.

Comment from Sir David Bell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Reading, former Chief Inspector of Schools and Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education. Sir David remains upbeat about the British higher education sector and said that we should talk down future credibility.

At a press briefing he commented on three priorities:

” Firstly, the need for a post Brexit settlement which maintains the UK position as a centre for global excellence in HE. This will include post exit rights for EU citizens currently working in our universities; access to the Horizon 2020 research funding base and continuing participation in the Erasmus scheme which allows students to move between countries.

Second. We need to see the creation of an immigration system that commands public confidence at the same time enabling talented people to come to the UK. We want to see a simplified and improved visa system, which is a no mean ask, but also we want to see an approach based on reliable data so that we are better informed of who might be considered entering the UK. Furthermore enhanced opportunities for well qualified graduates to stay in the UK will enhance and contribute to our economy.

Third. Propagation of an outward looking message which reinforces trade and the soft power benefit of our universities. There is great value in sending out to the world a message that the UK continues to welcome talented people to come here. Doing the opposite and rushing into hasty policies risks replicating the harm that the United States has done to its reputation. Incidentally, if you want a good argument in favour of doing proper policy analysis don’t look much further than what happened in the early stages of the Trump administration. International students contribute in a carefully planned way to the countries future needs and continue to make a major contribution.”

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