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The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has released figures on student enrolment for the academic year 2012/2013, showing how Indian and Pakistani students turn their back on British higher education. Although the share of international non-EU students is fairly stable and only decreased by 1 % or in absolute numbers 2 710 students, the strong fall in student numbers from India and Pakistan leaves however room for concern.
In total, the number of Indian and Pakistani students decreased by 25 % and 19 % in 2012/2013 in comparison to 2012/2011. However, already the previous year numbers had plunged by 24 % and 13 %, leaving UK higher education universities as less and less attractive for both countries. Although Pakistani students only represent the 8th largest non-EU international students group, India has been the second most important sending country for international students. In 2010/2011 Indian student numbers have even reached almost 40 000 students. Today, the number has declined to approximately 22 000. Given the fairly stable overall rate of international non-EU students, it might be erroneous to assume a direct effect of the government’s restrictive visa policy or its limitations on part-time work during study for international students. However, it seems that the UK has failed to recognise trends concerning Indians’ choice of study destination.
Due to the depreciation of the Indian rupee (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, September 2013), it is very likely that Indian student numbers for the current academic year 2013/2014 will further decrease.