Tuesday, 16 January 2018

international student course satisfaction


International students take courses that get bad student feedback, in the most full parts of the UK.
http://veg-buildlog.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/httpswwwgovukgovernmentconsultationspro.html  ...is my long set of working notes about this that will change up until the deadline for submitting evidence to the Migration Advisory Committee, which is 26 of January at 11.45.

Statements like "International Students contribute £X &Y jobs to the UK economy" are based on work by Oxford Economics or London Economics who work for corporate clients like Universities UK; they are not paid to be impartial.  
Bit.ly/reportmethods is a link to Oxford Economics methods.  They do not count the costs of a more over-crowded city, nor of colleges like London College of Fashion which actively hinder the UK manufacturing economy while claiming taxpayer grants for the work. This page doesn't mention the Oxford Economics report, but does give examples about the London College of Fashion.

https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Research--Policy/Statistics/International-student-statistics-UK-higher-education quotes these colleges as having highest numbers of overseas students, and says that finance and business related subjects are most popular.
I take the examples of economics and of footwear, because I have studied similar courses so can try to explain the data.
The first three columns are numbers of overseas students, with a link to recent unistats feedback on the first column.

This is the consultation.

My choice of Economics might not be typical of "business and administrative studies" courses that I read are popular with international students. I don't yet know how to do a fuller comparison of the percentage of international students on all UK courses and student feedback on those courses, or either of those compared to rent in the areas where students live and study. There is a footnote on free data available.

I mention Universities UK's report by Oxford Economics on my long post of notes in progress: http://veg-buildlog.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/httpswwwgovukgovernmentconsultationspro.html
The final column is a Complete University Guide rank, by student feedback score, of each institution out of 83 recent providers of economics degree courses. It exaggerates differences between courses with similar feedback, but clarifies the point that most of these are the worst courses. The Guardian University Guide gives about the same result.
The other columns are examples of detail.

About half the students who fill-in a national student survey are simply trying to be loyal and polite, so scores below 50% are rare. Students tick boxes on an "agree ... disagree" scale to survey questions.
"The course is intellectually stimulating", or worth study at all.
"Staff made the subject interesting", or made the best of it. Central London courses are probably taught by staff who have done long commutes to get to work.
"Opportunity to apply what I had learned". A course in economics without application is clearly pointless. Apart from anything else, you can't tell which theories are worth study until you need to apply them. And I mention a shoemaking course in which 29% of students thought they'd get to apply the skill more than they did.
Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, and LSE were reported in news articles above with a £9,000 lobotomy theme, but I see no degree for Glasgow or Edinburgh, so there is a gap. I have put data from a financial statistics course in the list for Imperial.

A gap could mean that a college closed its course. Smaller and regional colleges, with fewer international students, sometimes re-define and re-title their courses to avoid the bad feedback that a previous version of the course had, I guessed when writing a star courses post about the worst-reviewed courses a few years ago.

Top 20 largest recruiters of international students 2015-16

most mainstream economics degree
                    overseas students      national student survey of all students
                    degree   grad.  total  stimulated interested applied satisfied (1-83)   
UCL                 7,860    7,115  14,975 72%        92%        65%      79 / 83

Uni of Manchester   5,950    6,970  12,920 74%        76%        59%      78 / 83 protests
Uni of Edinburgh    5,085    5,695  10,780                                81 / 83 no degree
Kings College       4,115    4,785   8,900   ?          ?          ?      70 / 83 new course

Uni of Sheffield    4,595    3,930   8,525 64%        81%        74%      40 / 83       
Uni of Warwick      4,520    3,920   8,440 80%        89%        77%      64 / 83  
Imperial College    4,550    3,970   8,520 45%        62%             
            see notes
Uni of Oxford       5,760    2,300   8,060   ?          ?          ?              PPE Ec/Hist
LSE                 4,635    2,280   6,915 60%        74%        52%      83 / 83
Uni of Birmingham   4,670    2,945   7,615 66%        81%        58%      45 / 83
City, Uni of L      4,320    3,180   7,500 57%        82%        52%      60 / 83

Uni of Southampton  4,050    3,175   7,225 66%        83%        52%      72 / 83
Uni of Glasgow      3,845    3,790   7,635                                        no degree
Coventry Uni        3,540    6,175   9,715 93%        100        98%       5 / 83
Uni of Nottingham   3,170    4,070   7,240 79%        81%        75%       6 / 83
Cardiff Uni         3,285    3,825   7,110 46%        69%        52%      73 / 83

Uni of Leeds        3,825    2,760   6,585 89%        92%        77%      38 / 83
Uni of Liverpool    2,075    5,235   7,310 71%        78%        62%      56 / 83
Uni of the Arts,    2,035    6,425   8,460 50%        62%        71%       3 /  3 Footwear

Non London
London                              55,270

Complete University Guide combines all measures of student satisfaction, including non-academic, to rank 83 universities teaching economics degrees

theguardian.com/education/universityguide  lists Univerity of the Arts as having the worst student feedback of any university across all courses. knocking London School of Economics off bottom place.

University of the arts is 73rd  out of 81 for satisfaction in "art and design" and 3rd out of three for "footwear"

The second column links to a unistats page for each institution from which satisfaction levels for stimulated / interested / applied are drawn.

Cardiff's Professor Minford wrote that "we would mostly eliminate manufacturing.... But this shouldn’t scare us". His students would rather eliminate his course. which has a 46% stimulating syllabus - the lowest. Imperial's Financial Statistics score one point worse, as financial stats courses tend to do.
University of Liverpool also teaches a Business Economics degree which scores in the mid 50s for student feedback.

International students per institution are quoted from the Complete University Guide.  A footnote links to any free available data about the proportion of international students at each college from the Higher Education Statistics Agency. Breakdown by course is not offered.

I comment on University of the Arts Fashion courses - footwear at London College of Fashion - because most odd; least expected.
I comment on Economics degrees next, which are quite odd.
I haven't worked out a broader picture of subjects I know nothing about.
I haven't worked-out how to link student satisfaction with the proportion of international students on every UK university course, and these two linked to rent levels
There is a footnote about fee data available.

London College of Fashion, University of the Arts
- scores 73 / 81 for art & design subjects, 3 / 3 for footwear, 
- diverted Higher Education Funding council money from knowledge transfer partnerships in the UK to factories in China.
- acts as "secretariat" to a group in the House of Lords
- gets funding from Nike
- gets funding from each London Mayor to show Chinese-made fashion, reducing attention for UK-made products.
- attracts unhappy students to the most crowded expensive part of London
- charges £17,500 a year tuition fee to overseas students

A separate problem is University of the Arts, London College of Fashion, which is in the wrong place - central London. Clothing and footwear manufacturers are often in small towns - typically in the midlands - or sometimes North and East London. There are inner-city ones in Manchester Leicester and Northamptonshire.

I would like a London fashion college to do a few things which it does not do.
  • quantitative data about clothing and footwear manufacturing
    I would like to compile a complete list of clothing and footwear manufacturers, based on income tax and VAT data, maybe with help from government because tax data is exempt from freedom of information requests under the revenue and customs act. London's British Fashion Council, like London College of Fashion, publish no such list. If asked at a public event, their staff will say something like "personal recommendation is the best way to find a factory", and talk about "sampling", which is the same as manufacturing but more expensive. Lists like "Lets Make it Here", sponsored by the Department for Business, are opt-in lists which manufacturers are expected to discover and sign-up for.

    This is relevant to migration. I imagine that migrants with English as a second language and craft skills want to be part of manufacturing industry, rather than doing customer service jobs. There was some evidence that I don't have to hand about the huge number of people in Tower Hamlets who wrote manufacturing trades like sewing machinist on visits to the jobcentre or when claiming benefits.  

    This is relevant to economic estimates of how money trickles-through the UK economy and whether it turns into good jobs or tax revenue. Oxford Economics' "Value of Fashion" report finds no recent input-output data to estimate how the money trickles-round the UK economy, and uses 1998 data about footwear factories to try to estimate how things like the wages of British Home Store staff might be spent on UK footwear. I happen to have a list of UK footwear manufacturers from 1998 and more than half of them are crossed-out with a closing date, after the exchange-rate regime made life impossible for them in the 1980s and 1990s. So the data that leads to statements like "Fashion contributes X billion to the UK economy", is flawed data. The report is also written very much to please the client, I think. Not the taxpayer who pays British Fashion Council, but the clique of politicians and appointed staff who organise British Fashion Council. So rather some other assumptions are made. "Fashion" is a slippery word. It can mean fashioning or choosing a fashion. Oxford economics chooses clothing and footwear retail of far-eastern products through chainstores like British Home Store or Primark as the biggest part of their word "fashion", and estimate huge benefits about, say British Home Stores tax contribution, which we now know to be untrue because the taxpayer had to bail-out the staff pension.
  • I would like the college, or someone, to encourage shared workspaces available by the hour for lasting of footwear or cutting of uppers, so that Londoners could try making shoes, but the college has not done that in an affordable way. There are some odd things that other people have done, but nothing from London College of Fashion itself. However there is money from private sponsors and central governments Higher Education Funding Council that might be spent on this. It is diverted 
  • Run courses for Londoners who want to fashion things, as the name of their college suggests. That would include cheap short courses in how to sew or do accounts without an accountant, working-up to career courses in pattern cutting, machine maintenance and improvisation, and manufacturing. You would expect them to use government money for knowledge transfer partnerships as the name suggests, but the person they employ for that has no fashion experience outside the college and uses the scheme to promote a course.

London College of Fashion have a history of closing technical courses, I have noticed over the years as I glance at the footwear courses they inherited from Cordwainers College. I went on a short evening class and found it over-priced and un-supported by anything like a maker-lab for London business or a Knowledge Transfer Partnership or even access to the library for ex-students or for people in the industry. The administration appeared to be deliberately bad at describing it to students in an attempt to run it down, and they succeeded; the second part of the course usually didn't run, I was told, for lack of applicants. A remaining footwear course - the first on their list is a full time degree - is ranked third out of three in the UK for student satisfaction and all London College of Fashion courses are ranked 73 / 81 for art and design, sharing the bottom of the league table with some other recruiters of overseas students, Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities.

I think that a survey of students and graduates from London college of Fashion would show that they can study dress design without being well qualified in pattern cutting, or dress manufacturing, or web design and sales. Even if they are good at finding manufactures to work with, these tend to be in midlands towns or north London, so the college is in the wrong place. If it was interested in helping UK-based students begin manufacturing, it would host maker-spaces for people to start manufacturing, and short courses for people in the industry already. I see no sign of that. It does not even allow local manufacturers to use the library, unless they ask for an invite with a maximum of one invitation per day.

University of the Arts is also a lobby group, a major receiver of government grants, and a rather covert political organisation. It has several spin-off organisations, so outsiders find it hard to know where the boundaries of the organisation are and how much it overlaps, for example, with British Fashion Council or, in the past, with the London Development Agency or the All Party Group for Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion. Sometimes the boundaries are confusing to people who work there. A PR agent for London College of Fashion was at a Department for Business consultation about export promotion. She said it would be great to have the kind of money given for the Asiana Design For Life project in Kenya - there was a lot of of government money for that - but she didn't know which part of government it came from. I guess it was the Department for International Development. Another project was a series of seminars called "Making it Ethically in China", advertised on the college website with badges from "Own-it", "UAL Ventures", "Creative Connexions" and "London Development Agency". I did a freedom of information request to London Development Agency to ask why their badge was on it and the reply was that they didn't really know; maybe it was a mistake.

The Centre for Sustainable Fashion, a college department which acts as "secretariat" to the all party group, lists a rather frightening list of sponsors and successes in obtaining grants from taxpayers
http://sustainable-fashion.com/about/funding-and-partners/ If these have a pure motive for paying professors, then it is a pity that London-based manufacturers and sewers and sellers cannot have the benefit; the project is a cuckoo for funding. If these funders have a mixed motive for paying professors, I guess it is to remove the interests of UK manufactuers from the discussion and to insert other discussion points like whether a piece of clothing can go in the compost bin, or whether the long supply chain can be audited, or whether the audited factory might be just slightly better than an unaudited factory next door in Bangladesh or one that fails the audit.

The party line (I argue on other web sites) is pro-globalisation, anti-welfare state, and anti UK manufacturing. It was founded by someone recommended for the House of Lords by a former Mayor of London.

There is also a party rhetoric - a series of presentational tricks - originally worked-out by Futerra Communications and pushed via an organisation called Ethical Fashion Forum.
http://veganline.com/fair-fashion.htm#ethical-fashion explains in detail how the presentational tricks work.

London College of Fashion is also good at getting endorsements from London mayors, who authorise spending on London Fashion Week. This is the latest one in an interview with Vogue, doubtless placed by a PR and lobby group. The odd thing is that Khan does not seem to have read unistats reports about London College of Fashion, even though I sent them to him. He also thinks that people coming to london, reducing space for other things, is good, which is not what property prices, homelessness, and transport over-crowding suggest. He also uses a cliche - state of the art - suggesting that he has been primed to give a certain answer.

VOGUE. London is home to some of the best fashion schools in the world, many of which are oversubscribed - what will you do to address this?
SK: It's great that so many people want to come to London to study fashion. We are blessed with some of the world's most famous institutions like the London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins. I always love visiting the University of the Arts. But being popular brings with it its own challenges - and to cope with that, we need to support our fashion schools to expand. The mayor can help with this - from sourcing land, to supporting them through the planning process and making sure that in large developments we find space for new state-of-the-art premises. The fashion industry will have a friend and ally in me at City Hall.

Khan declares no corporate sponsorship, so I imagine he hopes for publicity rather than money by being a "friend and ally" of Chinese fashion manufacturing promoted at London Fashion Week and bad courses in overcrowded places. He doesn't mention the people who would have got press coverage for making products in the UK if London Fsahion Week was not subsidised to promote products made in the far east and China.

It seems odd that an institution called "University of the Arts" incorporating London College of Printing Communication, St Martens College of Art, London College of Fashion, and footwear courses taken-over from Cordwainers College, should be on the same list as red brick universities teaching economics. But they say they share a "big picture", and I guess this is a picture of markets in very efficient equilibrium, un-troubled by issues of like whether a country has an NHS or girls secondary schools or unemployment pay, untroubled by human rights, and so keen that products should be bought at the cheapest place this markets suggests, which one of their lectures says used to be Canton near the coast but moves further and further inland as wages rise. (The video is no longer online but made by Own-It and London College of Fashion, who are both the same thing, and showed a fashion graduate who sold fur products, initially made in the UK but, she said, paid for with various special knacks to make it profitable and then made in China). 

University of the Arts was lead contractor with various red brick London Universities to the Higher Education Funding Council money to put UK designers and manufacturers in front of Chinese and far-eastern manufactures, in hope of benefiting both sides. They got the grant. It was called "Creative Connexions" and ran for a few years from 2005 onwards. This is a quote from the funding bid.

"Key Project Partners
The core partnership is strategically complementary and has a track record of designing, managing and delivering on major publicly funded projects including large--scale research projects and knowledge transfer under HEIF 2. It brings together
University of the Arts London (the lead partner)
LBS [presumably London Business School]
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Kings College London
Centre for Creative Business (a UAL/ LBS joint venture)

The partnership features universities recognised as leading UK institutions with 5/5*research grades, which through well established networks are already very active internationally in student recruitment, course delivery and knowledge transfer. The partners are well known to each other, have very good working relationships and share the ‘big picture’ with respect to their strategic international development." - funding bid for Higher Education Funding by University of the Arts

The funding bid shows how these institutions are known to government departments and each other from their shared recruitment work, and how they do it. They make irrelevant statements, such as research intensity which is not very relevant to undergraduate courses, and they make misleading statements such as "recognised as leading", for courses at the bottom of league tables for student satisfaction. So I suggest that some method of making them write more clearly to prospective students and funders would be a good thing.

I believe that London College of Fashion and its associated companies help UK industry and taxpayers as a Cuckoo chick helps the other chicks. It begs for grants and government help with an enormous beak, which I imagine is a PR department and I know succeeds alongside Greater London Authority's London Fashion Week and associated Graduate Fashion Week, and Fashion Scout, and UAL Ventures Ltd (standing for University of the Arts) which ran Creative Connexions to promote Chinese manufacturing in the UK. Another UAL Venture was a group of seminars called "Making it ethically in China".

I don't know if Cuckoo chicks attack other chicks in the nest or just crowd them out like this - a conversation between a journalist and a Nike contractor described as an ethical fashion expert and working with a trade association that gets taxpayer subsidy. I do know that London College of Fashion tutors make similar points to the Nike consultant here:

Adam Vaughan, journalist:
"If we can generally guess what the problems are, can we shop by country, picking good ones and bad ones? Usually you can see where a product was made."

Clare Lissaman, Nike consultant and Ethical Fashion Forum board member
"I don't think you can compare countries. You're just as likely to have a sweatshop down the road here in London in the east end as you are in China, India or Bangladesh. One of the best factories I've come across in the world was in China. One of the worst factories I've come across in the world was in China."
I single-out London College of Fashion because it does so much to damage UK manufacturing and crowd-out press coverage of UK manufacturers, but there are other bad art and design courses too at the bottom of the Guardian league table, and they are also colleges with a lot of international students: Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Economics courses that are a danger to the economy because some people take them seriously

You can read a detailed 2013 report about Mancherster Uni's "unlearning"
or more generally...


... and find that these are largely a set of cheap-to-teach short courses based on wrote-learning; only 11 out of 48 options at Manchester mentioned the word "critical" in their descriptions, and few other universities are much better. Even the protest group regards teaching of theories-before-application as normal - they just want more different theories. The idea of starting with a factual problem, and for students to make-up their own theories or pick-out the most useful, is not mentioned. University College London says it's starting the system; maybe results haven't shown-up in the student satisfaction scores yet.

Standard in my English degree, when I studied English and Economics at Keele, but not in Economics. Standard in a thing called Nuffield Physica A level that I did at the start of the 80s, but again not in Economics.

Here are some problems with economics teaching.

  • The lack of public administration on the economics syllabus relates to the idea of UK economics graduates becoming "ambassadors" for Britain; they become ambassadors for the country in the textbook, which is more like Bangladesh with its sweatshops. I don't see this point made anywhere else than here.
  • The problem of wrong theory taught and
  • without critical thinking is mentioned in the guardian and BBC reports, with Manchester as an example. My own experience in the 1980s was not much better.
  • Theory not applied - a problem noted from unistats scores which I quote below. 
  • It's often done in high-rent areas, particularly central London, with the effect of increasing rents and transport over-crowding.
    Other common features of the colleges that have large numbers of international students are my own impression . (I wrote another blog post about low-scoring degree courses called "star courses" a few years ago)

public administration not mentioned in economics courses

Economics courses include macro-economics. Macro-economics courses do not normally mention half of the economy, that runs insurance-like services which people use at some points in their lives and pay for through their working lives. There is no discussion of why these industries tend to end-up funded from tax or compulsory insurance payments in Europe, and what happens in countries with much less public service like Bangladesh (the answer is that they have vast families in hope of family support). Instead, if you study the history of economics teaching, or if you had a 1950s McArthy-era american teaching you face to face, you discover that macro-economics teaching alarmed college sponsors in 1950s America. They boycotted the first textbook that mentioned keynsian demand management during the 1930s recession. Eventually it got on the syllabus, but compulsory national insurance didn't; that was a step too far for republicans, and there are misleading definitions of "public goods" and "merit goods" taught instead. So economics graduates are not ambassadors for the UK when they move away; they are ambassadors for 1950s america, and likely to retain sweatshops in places like Bangladesh that put people in the UK out of work.

Wrong theory

Evidence for damage to the economy is obvious - the Queen asked LSE lecturers why none of their theories predicted the banking crash and got no answer. There are some other points.

Uncritical thinking

Critical thinking is needed everywhere. It's vital. But the minister's letter to the migration advisory committee is full of cliches and conventional wisdom held by lobby groups, suggesting, I think, a lack of critical thinking. In contrast, a Department for Business report on international students found that the expectation of critical thinking was something that attracted them to study in the UK. There is also a web page by the University and College Union which graphs the average staff student ratio in higher education colleges in similar countries to the UK, and puts the ratio at about highest or lowest (highest students to lowest staff) in the UK. I guess this is important if someone is going to take the time to write "this is an unexpected opinion but..." on an essay, or hold a tutorial group, or remember a students' name in that tutorial group.

theory not applied

Economics or finance-related courses are common choices for international students, but it's hard to imagine any course like that being useful if not applied, and the courses score badly for that. So when a statement is made like "contributes X jobs to the UK economy", there are not many people with the skills to apply the maths and the stats and refute the statement. When I check the current University College London page for economics https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/degrees/economics-bsc-econ/ .. it states that "The department's fundamental premise is that students should learn how to do economics themselves, rather than just learn how the academic staff or other economists do it.", so there is a chance that student feedback scores will get better soon as this new system sounds good. I also read that overseas students are charged £20,000 a year, I guess just for tuition and lectures, so the economic theory of how UCL digests these huge amounts of money is probably not taught.

common features of colleges with high numbers of international undergraduates

The same list  of colleges / quangos / grant artists / cuckoos / bureaucracies / institutions / corporations have bad student feedback on unistats for their economics courses, which is no surprise given the syllabus I read on the University College London web site for economics: it is not fit for purpose. So I think that success at filling places with overseas students masks failure to provide a good economics course to any student. I pick economics because it is a course I studied myself. It is also a marmite course: when you dislike it, you know that you dislike it. I pick overseas students because the consultation picked that group. It's interested in population in places like central London or Oxford where there are a lot of people, but the market failure in selling economics courses is the same for students who...
  • look at the college more than the course when applying
  • have no idea of the ratio of teaching staff to students on their course, or even whether it runs tutorials and how many people are on each one. This data doesn't get listed on Unistats for some reason
  • are impressed by research intensity which doesn't improve their degree course
  • mistakenly think their degree is a trade qualification, or
  • read words like "vibe" and "buzz" on college prospectuses and think they'll get it on a Monday morning in rush-hour in a town centre. I'm thinking of a London College of Fashion prospectus I read in about 2005, which hardly mentioned the syllabus at all and didn't mention the staff ratio.
The consultation briefing paper notes that Indian students numbers are falling off; maybe they've learned to read the Unistats scores.

Jottings and ideas about economics degrees done by international students

Most of the colleges are ones which were well-known 50 years ago. If they were hotels, they would be called "The Grand". Most are in city centres - mainly London - where 55,700 extra people extra people crowd-out other housing, transport users and businesses. Oxford is just as expensive. I suspect that Unistats no longer quotes housing costs next to each course as it used to - or maybe I've missed the link or it's on another web site,  but it's another point which overseas students miss. Most colleges on the list are proud of their research record, suggesting that they are more interested in paid research, consultancy, and postgraduate teaching than degrees - except as a source of revenue.

No course: Edinburgh, Glasgow would rather stop teaching economics than teach properly

The first two were mentioned in a Guardian report alongside Manchester and LSE as teaching courses so bad that students wanted to protest. One of them - probably Glasgow - assigned all first year teaching to the online robots that come with the textbooks and will mark test results. Students called the year a "£9,000 lobotomy". Now it looks as though the colleges and existing staff would rather give-up teaching economics degrees at all than run them properly. A year or two ago I did check student feedback for the degree courses, which existed then, and found the feedback bad. 

Economics degrees at University of Newcastle

Newcastle University has some of the lowest unistats feedback scores, probably for running a discredited "BSc" economics degree. In its favor, I guess that rents around Newcastle are low because of economic mismanagement by UK governments over the years, which I doubt the course mentions. 47% of students thought that staff made the subject interesting, and only 50% thought the course allowed them to apply what they had learned, so calling it a science is a bit odd. I mean: in Biology you look at biological things with microscopes and rulers as well as learning someone's theory, don't you? You don't just learn wrong theory and get told you'll have to do a postgraduate course to learn what a real dandelion looks like.

Coventry University economics degree course looks popular - an exception

An exception to the pattern of bad feedback is Coventry University, which has a high proportion of overseas students and gets good student feedback for its economics course.

Notes for a response

The gist of a response is that it is bad to rip-off economics students, particularly those from a long way away who haven't checked the course and the student feedback. A second point in the response is that there is no benefit to luring people into very expensive town centres - not for them or from other people in the town centres. A third point is that some courses are really bad. For one historical reason or another, they teach misleading facts, useless theory, or un-usable skills. And that is before the college management decide to tweak the staff ratio so the course makes a lot of money to spend on something more eye-catching or on sales and PR. So these courses should be allowed to close for everybody's sake, rather than used to con overseas students into thinking they're worth three years and £9,000. Universities UK are keen on overseas student places, http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2014/international-students-in-higher-education.pdf - p38 ... but I don't see how further overcrowding in London can boost employment, nor how they calculate their figures. They quote Oxford Economics, who wrote a discredited report (I think) called "The Value of Fashion",


Visas require some online tick-boxing by prospective students, so they tick a box to say they have checked...
  • faults to look-out for on courses like the one they have applied to
  • student feedback for the course applied for (not for research quality if it an undergraduate degree for example, but the actual course)
  • economics degree applicants should understand that compulsory social insurance is a good way of explaining most of the things that the public sector does, and that an economics degree without a public administration element is worth avoiding.
That way, the bad economics courses might die a rapid death and be replaced by something sane. Just in case anyone reads this far, here are notes in progress about bad economics courses and how they keep themselves going by luring-in overseas students. It needs reformatting and some of the columns are just cut-and pasted out of Complete University Guide; they don't help.

Footnote on data: I emailed the Higher Education Funding Council asking if they had free data linking student satisfaction to the percentage of international students on each course, for example each undergraduate degree course in economics.
I can confirm that we do have some free data available on our website which should help answer your question. The most recent data we currently have published is 2015/16, and there are some free tables to download from this page: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/publications/students-2015-16 The one you may be particularly interested in is Table F: Percentage of HE students by subject area, mode of study, sex and domicile We only really categorise courses by the subject taught, and the breakdown in the above table is the highest level of detail. Another table with a more granular breakdown of subject can be found here: Students by subject although this is just a count rather than percentage. Further tables can be found on this page: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/key-tables
I see that my choice of economics wasn't neat. It may attract a lot of international students but the "business and administrative studies" heading includes only these subheadings.
  • Business studies
  • Management studies
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Human resource management
  • Office skills
  • Hospitality, leisure, sport, tourism & transport
  • Others in business & administrative studies
  • Broadly-based programmes within business & administrative studies 
    Within these categories I happen to know that University of East London's Hospitality and Tourism course had one of the lowest graduate employment rates of any UK degree course, when these things were more easily searchable in about 2015.

    Monday, 1 January 2018

    international students: government consultation

    international students in UK higher education:
    Migration Advisory committee consultation questions

    consultation open till 26th of January at 11.45pm


    is a response with a table of data

    Skip-down to draft two of the questions
    Draft one, here, was sent from the Home Office

    • Last year ... granted over 200,000 student visas
    • visa process remains straight-forward.
      Visa applications sponsored by universities are 17% higher than they were in 2010, 99% of entry clearance applications are decided within the target of 15 days
      We also have a highly competitive post-study work offer for graduates seeking to undertake skilled work after their studies. 
    • There is no limit on the number of students eligible to switch into Tier 2 skilled work and students are exempt from the resident labour market test.... 
    • Any post-study provisions must strike a careful balance between providing competitive options for the brightest graduates from around the globe to remain in the UK to work, whilst also maintaining safeguards against the type of widespread abuse that was seen under former post-study work schemes
    This assessment should go beyond the direct impact of students in the form of tuition fees and spending, [annex adds
    • national, regional, and local economy and on the education sector]
    including consideration of their impact on the 
    • labour market [annex adds
    • housing and transport
    • role they play in contributing to local economic growth
    • some breakdown by type and level of course, and institution]
    • provision [presumably quantity] and 
    • quality of education provided to domestic students. [MAC version doesn't use the word "quality" but "the supply of that education provision and the impact of this on UK students"

    Migration Advisory Committee call for evidence - their draft

    the intention is to provide ... an improved evidence base ...To help frame the call for evidence, the MAC welcome evidence on the impact of students including:
    What impact does the payment of migrant student fees to the educational provider have?
    What are the fiscal impacts of migrant students?...including student loan arrangements?
    Do migrant students help support employment in educational institutions?

    How much money do migrant students spend in the national, regional and local economy ...and what is the impact of this?
    How do migrant students affect the educational opportunities available to UK students?

    To what extent does the demand from migrant students for UK education dictate the supply of that education provision and the impact of this on UK students?

    What is the impact of migrant students on the demand for
    • housing  provision, on
    • transport (particularly local transport) and on
    • health provision
    What are the broader labour market impacts of students transferring from Tier 4 to Tier 2 [student visa to ex-student visa with rights to apply for skilled work related to the course] including
    • on net migration and
    • on shortage occupations?
    What impacts have migrant students had on changes to tourism and numbers of visitors to the UK?

    What role do migrant students play in extending UK soft power and influence abroad?

    Whether, and to what extent, migrant students enter the labour market,when they graduate and what types of post-study work do they do?

    In addition,
    the MAC would like to receive evidence about what stakeholders think would happen in the event of there no longer being a demand from migrant students for a UK education.

    As per the commission from the government set out above, the MAC would also like to have evidence about the impact of migrant students depending on the institution and/or subject being studied – do different subjects and different institutions generate different impacts?

    What impact does the payment of migrant student fees to the educational provider have?

    The top 20 colleges for total numbers of  international students have about the worst student feedback for economics courses.

    This suggests that free statistics should be made available to show whether the proportion of international students on each course is somehow related to bad student feedback, whether this feedback is from home or overseas students, and whether it is in troubled subjects like economics or in all subjects.

    The result seems clear from a table of free, easily found data:
    I guess it happens for a number of reasons.
    1. International students say they choose famous colleges in a survey, suggesting that they choose the college and take whatever course in their subject is on offer there. The was no question for the other option - choosing a course first - so it's not a clear result.
    2. There is a plausible reason to choose a big famous college in a major city, if you migrate to study, even if it runs a terrible course. You want the name to be recognised at home.
    3. Colleges promote themselves internationally, as colleges, sometimes by paying for extra services from The British Council. A service funded that way is likely to advise about choosing individual colleges rather than picking individual courses
    4. I remember choosing courses blind at the age of 19, as a domestic student, with no idea how to make sense of a prospectus or a syllabus. I can remember being disappointed with my own choice of economics course. Economics was a troubled course in the 1980s as it is now.

    Big famous colleges have no reason to question bad courses because  these less-picky international students make more money.

    I imagine that the process is un-planned. An institution runs a bad course in Economics or Fashion, aiming for a certain number of places and a certain exam-passing performance of prospective students. Over the years, they find that more and more of the students are international. They don't have any incentive to improve the course or consider bad feedback from UK students who have read Unistats and avoid the course. You can see the result in the report "Economics, Education and Unlearning" about the Manchester University economics degree, taking year one as an example, quoted below. The strange thing is that the degree course survived so long, and that Manchester University continues to teach economics degrees. Without international students, I expect they would have stopped and that another college would have set-up a better course for the UK market..

    What are the fiscal impacts of migrant students, including student loan arrangements?
    In theory, international students can put pressure on existing infrastructure, e.g. the housing market, public services. - briefing paper

    Much of the data is from lobby reports commissioned by public funded bodies, in order that they can get more public funding. So as taxpayers, we read claims of benefits and have to un-pick them, un-paid, to state the costs to un-interested officials and politicians.

    I hoped to see the costs of crowding listed among reports from the Greater London Authority's economics office - GLA Economics. This is an example report:


    Their web site does mention rising population, pollution, an a graph of median earnings falling against housing costs over time. Next to these chapters are other pages about the need to bring more business and visitors into London: an argument for more crowding. This is the clash between evidence and policy that I do not understand, and seems so blatant that I do not know how to argue against it except by stating the obvious point about over-crowding under every heading.

    Fiscal cost of crowding: (could be repeated under "how much money ... spending ... impact ... regional")
    This is the most important point and could sit under several headings, including fiscal costs of governing an over-crowded expensive town like London with staff on Inner London Weighting, Congestion charges, long commutes, excessive staff turnover, extra services like traffic control and congestion charging, extra costs of running services over without spare capacity for housing or social care, and so-on.

    The briefing paper notes a report on education healthcare and social services spending, which are not much used by people of student age.

    I think it's obvious that the crowding ads to the cost of those services. They have to be run without enough beds, bedsits, flats, transport seats, meters of traffic lane, parking spaces, or cubic meters of air to disperse exhaust fumes. This makes each service, from social care to education to housing, more slow and stressful to manage. There is a congestion charge. There are 24 hour traffic monitors trying to keep traffic moving even so, and people working full-time on the cameras that catch people on certain yellow box junctions when the traffic jam strands them there. All these extra public services have fiscal costs, even if those costs are funded by traffic fines or tickets
    Meanwhile, reports from lobby groups have nothing to say.

    Oxford Economics mention no costs, if I remember right. I have linked to the part of their report that states working methods. http://bit.ly/reportmethods

    London Economics does mention some costs or "fiscal impacts". One of their reports costs public costs and benefits by parliamentary constituency, and if there is a vital part that I have missed it is in how they cost public services per head in Westminster or Coleraine or West Highlands. Their main report is more national.

    Costs of Hosting International Students
    - Funding Council Teaching Grants
    - Costs of Student Support
    - The Other Public Costs of Hosting International Students
    - Total
    - Other Public Costs for Students and Dependents
    This heading is for a table of public services which acknowledges that some can be calculated as more expensive in crowded regions, but does not mention that crowding adds to the cost of all services, including ones students and dependents do not use. The weighting is also very rough, and opaque. It calculates that health costs £729 in some regions and £529 in others - there are only two bands. General public services are cheap in London, it estimates, at £84 compared to £159 in Wales.

    I don't think that conveys a sense that public services have trouble working at all in London, at any cost, nor that most regions of the UK are overcrowded because of the Planning Act.

    Fiscal cost of marketing:

    The taxpayer also pays for some of colleges' marketing to international students, with extra benefits to those colleges that pay a bit extra. So, without changes to the law, there is a chance of changing the system. Prospective student could be offered help finding courses in cheap areas of the UK with syllabuses that suit what they want to study.

    I think current marketing might be a bit crass.
    There is a puzzling "Britain is Great" theme to the marketing and similar schemes which might more accurately say "Britain is full" or "Britain is only great if you are on a Foreign Office Salary". It doesn't say "democratic welfare states are great", or "British Goods are great", which would have a better fiscal effect I think. I think it is counter-productive and so assume that the education marketing campaign is likely to be counter-productive as well.

    This is my source for marketing.


    The British Council, working with (then) DfES and HE sector representatives, subsequently developed the concept of marketing British tertiary education as a discrete product (an ‘education export’); this also led to establishing the Education UK brand.

    During the 1980s the government began to increase targeted support for overseas
    students, providing a number of scholarships (including Chevening) which were aimed at selected groups of international applicants, to foster soft diplomacy and reinforce UK overseas development assistance priorities.

    Between 1984 and 2011/12 (the last year for which there is currently published enrolment data by HESA) there were increases in international student enrolments across all UK university mission groups (Figure 1).
    Fiscal cost of scholarships:
    Most international students are over-charged by the colleges, but some are subsidised by the taxpayer through scholarships. That's what I understand.

    The Great China scholarship fund is worth a million pounds says - I suppose a million pounds a year - so that's 100 sets of tuition fees a year at UK rates. There is a Great India scholarship as well. There is an EU Erasmus program which I don't understand. The Chevening Fund is for students "personally selected" by British embassies "Funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations", meaning that it is funded by removing money from the welfare state.
    • if you just live in the UK I understand that you can only get a student loan for fees and maintenance, charged at 7%, repayable in installments if you ever earn an average income. The government pays interest at a much lower rate, but does not pass-on the saving and ministers have stated that the scheme makes no money; it makes a big mark-up but it is expensive to run.
    Fiscal cost of damage done by badly educated scholars: a strange example
    • You do not have to think critically to get the grant. I assume that the taught masters degrees in international development at Oxford Brooks University, close to Oxfam's offices, are often funded from this kind of grant, maybe nominated by the Department for International Development. Of some similar system.

      Certainly the student who went-on to found Ethical Fashion Forum as a kind of front for UK government interests, pretending a false past as an "award winning architect" and business called Juste - a dress importer that was quoted alongside Pants to Poverty and Sari Dress Project as Case Studies in government funded course materials written-up as an online book by London College of Fashion. Juste only existed as a student project. The student is not registered to practice as an architect, but she agreed with the government so I imagine that she got the student grant. Pants to Poverty claimed not to exist on grants, but the accounts on Pantstopoverty.org.uk/bond.html show a steady stream of them.

      I said you don't have to think critically to get the grant. If you don't believe me, I'll send you some qutoes from the masters degree thesis at Oxford Brooks. She claims that people in the UK made their own clothes until international trade allowed them to enjoy fashion. She mixes-up the East India Company with the British Empire, but not with Nike. She backs-up her opinion with a quote that looks fake, on a web site that looks as though it never existed, from an academic who generally states different views. One thing that's clear in her opinions is that she is opposed to UK garment production
    • This particular student has cost millions of pounds in lost revenue from the companies that she has helped close in the UK, by diverting attention from UK manufacturers. For example, while Pants to Poverty, who shared her office, promoted themselves as "ethical", Manchester Hosiery went bust, was bought out of receivership, and went bust again due to lack of interest from customers. It made T shirts and underwear on high-tec machines that wove them to shape from yarn and could produce more cheaply than T shirts with more sewn seams in them. The same team promoted a seminar of about 50 clothes buyers headed "buying from co-operatives". They didn't mention UK co-operatives.Within a month or two, Equity Shoes of Leicester had gone bust and was closed by the receiver because of lack of interest in UK-made shoes. Equity Shoes was a 100 year-old worker co-operative in a high unemployment area. And then there was the seminar "Making it Ethically in China",  funded by the taxpayer through the higher education funding council, that promoted Chinese production with speakers including a fur-dress importer, a Nike consultant  and Terra Plana. It was held within a mile of JJ Blackledge, a cheap British PVC wallet manufacturer, that went bust the same week. Just a few orders might have encouraged them to keep going.

      I do not know how to estimate loss to the UK economy caused by this covert operation of Dfid, British Council, and scholarships for students who agree with them. I understand that when companies call in receivers, there is usually a statement of reasons why the company failed. A study of these reports, and interviews with former directors, might show that a little encouragement, by universities and government, of firms that pay UK taxes and reasons to buy from them, would go a long way in keeping more of them open and make a positive difference to tax revenue while reducing the costs of benefits and services to stressed people or deprived people.

      To save you clicking on the link, I add the email which I got inviting me, as someone in the footwear trade, to the event.

      Own-it Event:
      Making it ethically in China -
      A practical guide for fashion and textile designers

      Sourcing materials or manufacturing in China should be considered seriously if you want to compete in a global market and keep production cost low. Many do not think that China should be your first port of call if you have decided to build your brand on a sustainable business model in which worker's rights are recognised, the materials used are environmentally friendly and your carbon footprint is as small as possible. However, China has started to acknowledge the need for sustainable business practices in the production of textiles and clothing, and has set up the Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium in Hong Kong in 2008 to promote just that.

      Own-it, Ethical Fashion Forum and Creative Connexions have invited a panel of experts to discuss the current situation in China, how designers can source manufacturers and material that meets their ethical standards and how they can monitor compliance. A lawyer will speak about important clauses in manufacturing or licensing contracts concerning IP rights and confidentiality, as well as what to do when you are faced with counterfeits that are cheap, unethically sourced and damage your good name.

      Date: 28.10.09 Time: 6-8pm followed by drinks and networking until 9pm

      Location: Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP
      Cost: Free (paid for by taxpayers and paid for again by loss of tax after UK factories close as a result of this)
    I do note a political party emerging of people trained to promote the priorities of The British Council and the Department for International Development, which are not mine. Or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the Department for Business.

    Fiscal cost of colleges which actively damage the UK economy, sustained by fees from international students and UK Higher Education Funding Council grants.

    The international student industry has a cuckoo-like ability to claim grants from UK taxpayers which I think should mainly be meant for the UK population.

    My example is London College of Fashion, working with School of Oriental and African Studies, and Kings College, both parts of University of London. It adds a couple of its own off-shoots to the list as well: Centre for Fashion Enterprise and London Business School. It is hard to know the boundaries of this cluster of institutions.

    It won a bid for 80% of the Higher Education Innovation Fund promoted help by universities to business until 2005, when it was used for a different purpose, which was to put UK-based designers or anyone from the UK in touch with Chinese manufacturers.

    "The Creative Connexions project (originally called "Creative Capital-World City") received £5 million of funding from HEFCE via the third round of the Higher Education Innovation Fund bidding process ("HEIF 3"). This funding was allocated to the University of Arts in London which was the lead higher education in the project bid. This represented just under 80% of the total project budget which was £6.275 million. "

    I think the covert use of this tax money is so opposite to the overt, and so opposite to the interests of UK taxpayers, that I think something special should be done.
    • The institutions should not be awarded any specialised grants for higher education for the life of this government and a suggested fifteen years total; they should receive only the standard higher education funding per head that any other college gets. 
    • The names of officials & ministers who signed for the payments should be published, and similar funding bids and grants likewise.
    • The process should be published, step-by-step, date-by-date, that led to the grant.
    Another example is the cost of promoting UK colleges overseas by civil servants at the Department for Business and the British Council, which I don't think benefits UK students or taxpayers. When these colleges are in over-crowded parts of the UK, I think the spending is directly opposite to the interests of UK taxpayers. It is as bad as spending on the Olympics, and it is more like corruption than proper government spending.

    A third example is a pretend fashion industry, centered on London Fashion Week and a couple of feed-in fashion shows, which is good at getting column inches but not so good at promoting UK manufacturers. It is as much to do with manufacturing and UK jobs as a Eurovision song is to do with music you would want to hear or play. I believe that London Fashion Week exists in competition with UK manufacturers, particularly for  column inches of media coverage.


    Universities UK produce a pictogram of their economic estimates

    Nationally "The economic activity and employment sustained by international students’ subsistence spending generated £1 billion in tax revenues in 2014–15 – equivalent to the salaries of 31,700 nurses or 25,000 police officers"


    Oxford Economics did this research for Universities UK
    London Economics did similar research for a crammer called Kaplan University and something called the Higher Education Policy Institute, named to confuse.

    Their account of jobs created does not mention jobs lost as a result of so many students studying bad courses in crowded places. The estimate might make sense at Coleraine in Northern Ireland, or the Highlands, or in County Durham. Areas where there are empty bus-seats, landlords have empty bedsits to let without raising rents or turning-away less attractive tenants, businesses have spare capacity, and if this isn't always true, then the less measurable claims of benefit make-up. Maybe students add variety and connections and bring skills, or maybe they make businesses viable that would otherwise not be viable, such as cheap clubs and venues that local people can also use. Unfortunately I think that most areas are more crowded than this.
    The most crowded area is London if you measure by property prices.

    Universities UK's report from Oxford Economics quotes this about London.
    £1327m off campus expenditure
    8,855 jobs created by spending (it doesn't say on or off campus)
    £2.714bn export earnings.

    One of the worrying things is that there are no notes and queries attached. A politician or a civil servant could simply take these figures as given. Just as a lot take the cliches as given - "world class", for example.

    I doubt any of these figures helps.
    Off campus expenditure would be spent by other people in London who would be allowed-in if international students were not there. The people priced-out, who commute-in. They would also be less tired and more enterprising, maybe talking to children more or sleeping or doing a more fun job with lower prospects or earnings or hanging around clubs and bars and venues or whatever common people do.

    Fiscal benefit of VAT and other taxes on the supply chain for off-campus spending

    This requires modelling that is not easy for most of us to challenge although I would welcome a chance if there's any need for specific feedback, or if anyone with more up-do-date skills wants to do it with me.
    ... is the report commissioned by a lobby group
    ... http://bit.ly/reportmethods is the part that quotes their reporting methods
    including student loan arrangements?
    (I don't know any relevant evidence to send to the migration advisory committee.
    There could be a chance for UK students to build their student loan into the state national insurance scheme, so that, if they have a high income throughout their lives, maybe they get a state pension years later than someone who has worked in mining from the age of 16 for example.

    It is frustrating that UK government cannot afford student grants to people in the UK, but does grant them to people in China or India as part of a scholarship scheme, and does still grant research work to universities in large amounts)
    Do migrant students help support employment in educational institutions?
    Crowding can be mentioned under each heading.
    Education in crowded areas crowds-out other trades and work in crowded areas for example. The educational jobs are likely to be done after long commutes.
    How much money do migrant students spend in the national, regional and local economy and what is the impact of this?
    Crowding can be mentioned under each heading.
    Spending on housing will crowd-out other potential users of the land, or the specific floor space if students rent privately.
    How do migrant students affect the educational opportunities available to UK students?
    I take this is to mean quantity.
    I disagree with the conclusions of these two reports.

    A further benefit for UK HEIs from the presence of international students has been cited as their role in achieving critical mass for teaching on some courses, including some which may have declined in popularity with home students. In some STEM subjects especially, the proportion of international students may be relatively high in some institutions, and without the presence of those students the course would become unsustainable, thereby reducing the range of courses available to UK students at certain institutions. The make-up of some course groups reported by the alumni supported this view. Any such reductions of course availability could have potential long-term impact on the UK stock of strategic skills.

    These issues also arise in relation to postgraduate research study. 

    BIS (2013) The wider benefits of international higher education in the UK

    The same point is made for Universities UK by Oxford Economics

    International student fee income accounted for 13% of sector income in 2013–14, and
    demand from international students can support the provision of certain strategically-
    important subjects in the UK (eg engineering, technology and computer science,
    particularly at postgraduate level where around half of all students are from outside the

    I don't think that low take-up of a technical course has to mean that it is a bad course. There are problems at schools, and students make bad choices too.

    I think there are general themes in why a degree course could get bad student feedback.
    • teaching theory un-applied, which could be useless, wrong, or needlessly dull.
    • teaching on equipment, without teaching how non-students can improvise the equipment or borrow time on something like it
    • teaching a narrow skill as a way of earning a living, when wider skills are needed like manufacturing or sales, or maybe one skill - like pattern cutting for clothes - needs more study and practice.
    • teaching with too few staff and the wrong ones to allow critical thinking or feedback, due to un-stable growth and cuts in student numbers, inefficiency, or bad staff ratio from that start as in the Leeds College of Health example below. University College Burnley is another that has got zero percent good feedback from students in some courses recently. More generally, a survey by the University and College Union found fewer staff per student in UK higher education than in similar institutions in similar countries
    • allowing high expectations of a vague kind, by failing to make sure that students know exactly what syllabus they have signed-up for and what the weaknesses of this type of syllabus are. For example an economics syllabus which reads "micro economics" "macro", and "quantitative methods" leaving the rest to imagination.
    A point based in quick research of Unistats and The Guardian University Guide
    I quote the research below

    They are associated with courses that need changing, namely fashion and economics.
    To what extent does the demand from migrant students for UK education dictate the supply of that education provision and the impact of this on UK students?

    In the same way as other students who are easily-led or mis-led; and not sure what to expect. They make bad courses possible. 

    This is particularly true of Economics courses, which have been exposed as needing reform, but continue - by the look of them - even more clogged-up with rubbish than when I took an economics degree decades ago.

    The Survey of Graduating International Students that "recognition of UK qualifications, the university reputation and the language" were important.

    On the other hand, there was no question about the course itself, so a different survey might get a different result.


    I know that some universities recruit abroad more than others, and often with help from government to do it.
    Example: Leeds College of Health, circa 2002.
    I repeat this point under another question

    I was myself on a distance learning course, advertised as part of Leeds University but in fact run by Leeds College of Health, an organisation unable to provide any contact at all with tutors, and lost its last one, I think while I was on the course. I think it collapsed at that point. What I noticed was that most of the distance learning students were from Pakistan, and another large proportion were paid-for by a health trust in Yorkshire. I suspect that these two groups of students were less likely to complain, and less likely to know what to expect, than a self-funded student. I suspect that's why the course survived as long as it did and my chances of study were reduced instead of increased, because someone could have set-up a proper college and I could have found it if Leeds College of Health had never existed. And so the demand from those migrant students and employer-funded students reduced the supply of education to me, with a bad impact on how well I did my job and on my job prospects. Current unistats data would single-out the course and force closure a little sooner than in 2002.
    Example: Manchester University Economics degree, 2013, year one,
    First year: ECON10041
    Principles of Micro and ECON10042
    Principles of Macro (For those without A level economics), ECON10081
    UK Micro and ECON100082 UK Macro (For those with A level).
    • 100% of marks awarded by multiple choice exam for both Principles modules in first year.
    • UK Micro and Macro have 90% awarded by multiple choice exams and the other 10% is an essay. However, this essay is only 1,000 words long and students get 100% for handing it in on time. This means that many students don’t widely research the topic or fully engage with the material.
    Micro and Macro Principles are a delivery of neoclassical theory and students are expected to learn the theory by rote.  
    There is no mention of what school of thought is being taught or that there are any other schools of thought. It is presented as facts about the world which leads to the possibility of students believing that these ideas represent indisputable truths (Section 1 (1)).

    Keynes is mentioned briefly in Macro Principles but the ideas presented are actually those of John Hicks and his version of Keynesian thought, rather than of Keynes himself. There is no time given to looking at the underlying assumptions in either of these two modules, very little real world application and no historical context as to where these ideas came from (Section 1 (2), (3) and (4)).  Apart from the odd mention of economic growth in China and hyperinflation there is no proper analysis of how the theory taught is applied to these examples. The most concerning thing is the complete lack of critical engagement and opportunity for the students to discuss what they are learning. Tutorials comprise of working through problem sets and there is no opportunity to discuss the material in any real depth with the teaching assistants and lecturers (Section 1(6) and (7)).
    In UK Micro and Macro the multiple-choice structure of both exams rewards the ability to regurgitate textbook information, and fails to encourage students to think analytically about economic problems. Students become disillusioned with the wider challenges of economics and are immersed in learning a set of diagrams and equations. Furthermore, according to the mark scheme in UK Micro, marks are awarded for mentioning all the pricing theories which are taught but if a student provides an in-depth discussion of the economic implications of one or two pricing theories this goes unrewarded. In-depth analysis of theories shows a much greater economic understanding but is disregarded in place of the ability to repeat given information. This is a missed opportunity for students to learn skills of critical reflection (Section 1(6) and (7)). This system of memorising information to pass an exam leaves students with fragmented ‘bits’ of theory rather than a solid base to build economic knowledge on.
    The odd thing is that Manchester University continues to teach economics degrees.
    My own experience of an economics degree was that public administration of pensions and benefits and healthcare was ghetto-ed out to a different course, seldom taught at a few colleges, called "public administration". Students did not realise this when signing-up to a course called "economics". The parts of the course had opaque headings like "micro", "quantitative methods", "macro", which say nothing about what students sign-up to study.
    It is also true of fashion design courses that do not teach manufacturing - pattern cutting for example - or other related skills like online sales.

    In part, this un-critical market for economics teaching has allowed courses to remain bad, so I think the whole population suffers. Economics basic courses did not teach how to fund the NHS for example in the year I studied. I think this kind of educated ignorance effects the political classes and senior civil servants more than it effects the rest of us, and that is why there are still people in government who want to spend money on things like promoting Britain's soft power abroad rather than spending it on hospitals.

    The largest recruiter of overseas students - UCL - now claims to have improved its syllabus:
    The news has not reached their page on the complete university guide for 2018 admission

    If graduates are produced who don't look things up or think things through, and haven't quite got the right skills for self-employment, there must be an effect on the demand for graduates. One measure of this, I think, is the number of people who do post-graduate courses that I know very little about.

    Take another example of a bad course - the footwear design course at London College of Fashion. Last I heard, Clarks asks students to design some prototype uppers each year, but not the soles because those require engineering which the college doesn't teach. Meanwhile, one of the shortage occupations is "product development engineer; product design engineer" under an engineering heading.

    Anecdotal examples that human rights and democracy are not much mentioned by

    Lobbying of mayors such as Khan: " It's great that so many people want to come to London to study fashion". I disagree, but the effect of un-democratic lobbying is greater, I think, than the democratic pressure to make london a less crowded place to live,

    What is the impact of migrant students on the demand for
    • housing  provision, on
    • transport (particularly local transport) and on
    • health provision
    Crowding is the main point here.
    Cost of crowding (repeats a point made under "fiscal..." above)
    More spending in the local and regional economy of central London is not a good thing; it is an inflated economy. It is like attracting more spending and visitors to St Marks Square in Venice, or more visitors to climb the leaning tower of Pizza. The place is full.

    I don't know how to measure the reduced variety of an expensive area as gay clubs, gig venues, odd cafes and restaurants, workshop space and factories are driven-out by Tesco and Starbucks. I think there is a degree of market failure which fails more in an expensive area.

    There are measures of long commutes by people between UK regions, usually from a cheaper region into London. The numbers of people who do this is similar - the same order of magnitude - as the number of international students in London. This is one effect that suits economic data collection, and I have found some online from the Greater London Authority's economics unit.

    ------------ transferred from another question ------------------

    The Planning Act prevents building to meet demand; Britain is overcrowded in most places.

    Extra crowding, I believe, can only add to fiscal costs, even without thinking of data.

    If taxes have to pay for roads, for example, then they might as well pay for rails, and so there is a fiscal cost to peoples' long commutes to London. There is the fiscal cost of running transport very near to full capacity, with the extra traffic monitoring work that has to be done, and the cost to travellers of the congestion charge. There are fiscal costs of a less efficient workforce, more stressed and tired because of long commutes.

    The fiscal costs of housing rise with over-crowding too I think. There is the fiscal cost of housing benefit has to rise with rent. Emergency housing schemes like council homeless persons units have to make extra use of hostels and B&Bs to house homeless people because more suitable space is not available, and increased rough-sleeping because people who are willing and able to use a room or a hostel space on housing benefit are not able to find one.

    The fiscal costs of running public services have to be higher in a crowded area. The market price for a care assistant from an agency is likely to be higher in London. People on formal public sector pay scales are likely to be in Inner London Weighting.
    Housing specifically: a general point based on easily-available data
    Data from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23234033, which maps UK housing costs.
    One bed flats in Camden range from £1,457 to £1,625 mid-market to £1,842 for more expensive Westminster and Kensington are slightly more expensive. Generally, the cluster of institutions that attract overseas students have their central buildings in Camden and central London.

    The example I looked at - Footwear design at London College of Fashion - has a library and teaching space about British Home Stores in Oxford Street, and uses a former school at Golden Lane in Islington. One of their halls of residence - Cordwainers Court in Shoreditch.- sounds as though it is one of the fixed assets sponsored by past generations to help UK shoemakers study.

    "Standard rooms (shared bathroom) are £154 per week for 42-week tenancies, (£6,468 in total) and £150 per week for 50-week tenancies (£7,500). These rooms are approximately 12 m2"

    I don't think economists need to add-up all the rent paid by students and declare it a good thing, arguing that it trickles-around the rest of the economy.

    I think that the opportunity cost of this space being used in such an overcrowded part of london is that other rental is crowded-out, just as tourist hotels crowds-out other people from London, or the Royal Opera crowds-out people from London with the bad effects of homelessness, high housing costs, long commutes, and a reduction in variety of London services which is hard to explain economically, but seems associated with high rents.

    I don't think this would matter if the students
    • enjoyed their courses,
    • got value for money by being stretched, stimulated, interested, career qualified etc
    • benefit the rest of us as much as anyone else who might end-up in central London.
    The evidence I can see points the other way on each point.

    The London College of Fashion charge for overseas students is £17,500 a year, which is a lot of a course that doesn't teach you to run a shoe factory, learned alongside UK students paying £9,000.

    In contrast, there are two shortage occupations on the home office list - "2126 ... product development engineer, product design engineer" which are in demand as well as "2219.... prosthetist". These similar skills are clearly not much taught at London College of Fashion, or hard to practice after graduating with the skills taught, or they would not be shortage occupations.

    Tourism specifically: cost of crowding

    The concentration of international students in crowded city centres suggests that, if they increase visitors, this is not a good thing. British Fashion Council's "Value of Fashion" report quotes London Fashion Week as encouraging large numbers of visitors to central London, and successive mayors have approved schemes as though this were a good thing. The report Department for Business report that I quote on this page has a question about promoting tourism, as though a good thing.

    I don't see the logic.

    If a town has problems of pollution from vehicles, congestion charging, overcrowded underground trains, very long commutes for tens of thousands of people, very high housing costs, and the problems for social care and social housing that go alongside, then why encourage more people into London as tourists? The situation near University of Ulster, Coleraine, is different of course but generally I think the logic of the argument for attracting more tourists to London is flawed.

    What impacts have migrant students had on changes to tourism and numbers of visitors to the UK?
    Crowding needs a mention under every heading.
    There is no room on the Piccadilly Line for more tourists.

    What role do migrant students play in extending UK soft power and influence abroad?

    Crowding needs a mention under every heading.
    Students who found a city-centre course anonymous and expensive because of housing and transport costs, extend less UK soft power and influence when they leave.

    Economic and Intellectual connection.
    Terra Plana shoes. Made in China. Quote on the web site "China ... arguably more democratic than the UK". Promoted by UK taxpayers as a British brand, at the expense of UK-made ones like my own.

    So the influence is not of a democratic welfare state with a particular human rights record and justice system; those aspects of British culture are stripped-away from what international students learn, alongside the benefits of buying goods from a democratic welfare state. They extend the soft power and influence of a kind of ex-pat or mid-atlantic view of the world, which is clearly not the view of the British people nor one that stands-up to argument.

    The Department for Business report takes a more positive view, but uses "British brands" and "British products" interchangeably, suggesting a lack of interest in what helps money circulate around the UK economy and improve UK job prospects. A product like an NPS or Tredair boot is made in the UK with plenty of UK staff and suppliers. A Doc Marten boot could be made in Vietnam with a brand owned by an international group of investers.

    Their categories start with letters.
    Letter A - Department for Business: economic concerns
    Letter B - Foreign Office: soft power concerns
    Letter C - Benefits to graduates themselves
    Letter D - Department for International Development: benefits to other countries

    A4: Personal consumer behaviour.
    Distinct trade benefits to the UK arise from alumni as purchasers or consumers of UK products and especially as travellers who return to the UK or leisure purposes. The value of the personal consumer behaviour of a single graduate may be limited, but multiplied across hundreds of thousands of alumni could collectively be substantial. Alumni with loyalty to UK brands may also influence the behaviour of others.

    They make a similar point labelled B1 and B3 .. Ambassadors ... values
    My experience of Ethical Fashion Forum is two or three front-people and a background advertising agency who had experience in international volunteering and UK education. They had zero interest in the UK welfare state. One of them wrote a masters thesis at Oxford Brooks Uni which stated how people in the UK used to make their own clothes until globalisation allowed them to enjoy fashion. She published a web site, still online, urging people not to buy UK goods on ethical grounds. She may represent the values of ex-pats, but they are opposite values to my own and, I think, rather nasty.

    Emotional connection
    Did Indian graduates not enjoy their courses?
    Is that one reason why new applicants have fallen?

    Extreme hostility to human rights, a welfare state, democracy, or Britain
    Is there a risk of deliberately hostile actions by ex-students, such as the University of Westminster computer science students who joined ISIS (I think they were UK-based), Pol Pot, former student in Paris, or President Pinochet who believed himself an anglophile and liked to visit the UK, and saw no conflict between that and mass torture.

    They know the answer better than me but general student feedback scores give an impression of unhappy international students, including the odd mass-murderer. Even Robert Mugabe was an international student in South Africa and then on a distance learning course run from London University.

    I suggest some kind of screening system to exclude the ones who think
    - sacred texts or hierachies are more important than fact, reason, and human rights
    - national insurance and the like has no place in government spending; that each country needs to remain competitive and reduce this kind of spending in order to compete with Bangladesh.

    I think such a system would be a great influence on UK economics courses. International students would come in and ask "why did my visa depend on me knowing about national insurance, while Paul Samualson's textbook pretended not to?". I think they'd improve UK education that way.

    Mild market failure and regret

    My research abilities are not good enough to figure-out positive bias in survey results.

    The skype and facebook research done for the Department for Business notes a more positive experience than the student satisfaction reports of economics courses suggest. Researchers admit a positive bias but hope they have balanced it.

    There is a parallel in research of graduate employment prospects. Anecdotal experience of graduates in recessions includes a lot waiting at tables or doing shift work. St Mungo's homeless hostels state that they house a large proportion of graduates among their ex rough-sleepers. The Community Programme for unemployed people in the 1980s was reported as one of the largest employers of graduates in the UK. The Student Loan Company reports low numbers of graduates earning an average wage which triggers the need to pay-back the loan. I can't find quickly-available figures for graduates in UK prisons, but a Quora answer links to a survey of US prisons with several percent of their inmates graduates. (I didn't read any of the survey) But surveys of graduate employment repeatedly show good prospects after most courses, and high proportion of students in "professional or managerial" jobs. Do the survey replies just come from optimists?

    I may come back later on some of the categories listed in Department for Business research.

    The Wider Benefits of International Higher Education in the UK

    The benefit typology in Figure A arose from the interview information, although there is some resonance with previous understanding of broad types of impact, particularly de Wit’s rationales for international HE (de Wit, 2002).
    Brief descriptions of the 15 benefit types identified follow. The report illustrates each of these types using testimony from the alumni including exemplar case studies of individual graduates. The boundaries between some types are somewhat subjective and indistinct, with considerable overlap.

    Benefits to the UK (economic)

    A1: Additional HE exports.
    The great majority of alumni with a positive experience of their personal participation in UK HE had influenced or would recommend others to undertake a similar experience. The scale on which they had done so varied greatly with their circumstances and personality.

    A2: Indirect economic benefits.
    These comprise a range of tangible business-to-business transactions benefiting the UK, other than additional education exports (type A1) or the personal consumer behaviour of the alumni (type A4), arising directly through the activity of the alumni since graduation. While a minority reported these types of transaction to date, their extent should grow as alumni progress to more influential positions.  
    A3: Professional networks.
    Almost all the alumni retain friends and contacts made while they were in the UK, now located worldwide including some in the UK. As potential professional networks these offer the possibility of future business transactions and collaborations of economic value to the UK.
    The extent to which alumni utilise these contacts for business is likely to increase as they progress to more senior positions.

    A4: Personal consumer behaviour.
    Distinct trade benefits to the UK arise from alumni as purchasers or consumers of UK products and especially as travellers who return to the UK or leisure purposes. The value of the personal consumer behaviour of a single graduate may be limited, but multiplied across hundreds of thousands of alumni could collectively be substantial. Alumni with loyalty to UK brands may also influence the behaviour of others.

    A5: Skilled migration.
    Some alumni were still in the UK when interviewed, of whom about half expected soon to return to their home country. Those few that hoped to remain in the UK permanently were either working in highly skilled occupations or, in a few cases, had married UK citizens. The proportions broadly reflected evidence that the dominant motivation was for study in the UK to lead to impact once they returned home.

    Benefits to the UK (influence)

    B1: UK ambassadors.
    Many alumni had formed very a positive understanding of the UK’s culture and values. For some, this underpinned activity on return home to facilitate educational, cultural, developmental and business links and collaborations with the UK.

    They had become informal ambassadors for the UK, based on an emotional bond developed during their UK HE study. The impact of this will only increase as they become more influential in society, bringing potential support to UK economic, socio-cultural and political agendas.

    Robert Mugabe was an international student in South Africa, then a distance-learning student at University of London. I doubt he was ever challenged about the need for human rights or for the state to provide insurance-like services in an accountable way. On the other hand he does have an emotional bond: he cultivates a Hampstead accent, likes to award university degrees, and likes the same kinds of ceremonial that the Rhodesia Front regime liked with state openings of parliament and so-on. The state broadcaster is called ZBC. He also likes to single-out the UK in any way he can for abuse and discouragement. And he retains his respect for faith-group heirachy which the UK people threw-off a few hundred years ago.
    B2: Promoting trust.
    One key perception held by international alumni of the UK is trust; in the UK as a nation, society, and its enterprises and individuals.

    Alumni promote trust in the UK, leading to perceptions of the UK as a desirable partner in potential trade, diplomatic or developmental relationships. The underlying basis for this benefit relates to issues of mutual understanding and soft power, but it also has potential in terms of national economic benefit.


    B3: UK influence during capacity building.
    A proportion of alumni had returned home to work in capacity building or other societal development, taking with them embedded British values and ideas. These may be seeds for long-term development of different linkages and synergies with the UK. Chevening and Commonwealth scholarship alumni are expected to have positive impacts on their home countries, but other alumni were also contributing to national socio-economic development, including through education.

    Benefits to international graduates

    C1: Career enhancement or change.
    The most common motivation for study in the UK was potential improved employment or career outcomes, and the advantages of income, status and influence that follow. Alumni cited many individual career-related benefits, either acceleration on an existing career trajectory or a change in career direction inspired or enabled by UK HE study. Several had perceived an enterprising ‘can do’ culture in the UK which helped prompt them to set up their own business at home.


    C2: English language proficiency.
    Another main ‘pull’ factor for international students choosing the UK is the opportunity to study in English and improve English language skills.
    Irrespective of their course of study, many alumni whose first language was not English reported that their greater command of English language was an asset valued on return to their country and in their career.

    C3: Cosmopolitanism and intercultural sensitivity.
    Amongst the most striking testimony from alumni was the impact of interaction with fellow students from all over the world. Very many reported increased sensitivity towards other cultural perspectives and an improved ability to understand and communicate with people from a wide range of national and social backgrounds. These are characteristics of global citizenship, which will help them to work and operate anywhere. The benefit arose through integration in a globally diverse student body, but was markedly less where they chose not to integrate or circumstances limited this. In a few cases there had been limited integration with UK
    students or society.


    C4: Personal growth and wider experiences.
    Alumni reported other perceived personal and social development while in the UK, and beyond academic learning. An expected impact of international study is that students change and grow as individuals both through their on-campus activities and wider interactions with the host country society. Alumni obtained many such impacts through off-campus activities, including part-time work and volunteering, as well as growth in confidence as they overcame challenges inherent in overseas study and even certain personal hardships.


    C5: Social benefits and networks.
    Almost all the alumni articulated social benefit through new friendships developed while they had been in the UK, with fellow students in the UK or elsewhere and also other contacts they had made. Many of these relationships had sustained, providing alumni with a wide international network of social and professional contacts. Some will last a lifetime, including marriage/partnership. Much of the interaction within these networks is through social media such as Facebook.


    Benefits to countries of origin
    D1: Capacity building and societal development.
    From the alumni interviews it was possible to infer impacts within countries of origin. These included impacts as a result of their professional activities, ranging from the direct labour market benefit of their up-skilling and acquisition of new skills, to broader impacts within societal or economic development and capacity building, or political impact. Some of these were directly related to new careers they embarked upon after UK HE. As the alumni progress to more senior career and societal positions, with embedded UK values and links, these impacts may grow considerably for the home nation.Take the example of economics. I doubt UK economics courses help home nations and I guess they hinder. My own economics course did not cover the advantages of economies with compulsory insurance for sickness, pensions, education fees, or the like. Nor the tendency of people in other economies to have large families as a kind of insurance against abandonment in old age. Nor the difficulties of trading between one kind of economy, such as Bangladesh, and the other, such as the UK. In fact ministers and civil servants have arranged a zero tariff between Bangladesh and the EU which I think impoverishes both.

    If the economics courses which teach this stuff closed, but sane ones continued with critical thought and checking of data, I think there would be more happiness health and wealth in the UK and in Bangladesh,

    D2: Personal multiplier effects.
    Beyond the impact through their professional activities, alumni could deliver other impact through certain multiplier effects. These could be small-scale, such as impact on children and family who had accompanied the graduate to the UK, or at a larger scale through the influence of the alumni where they chose to undertake work or volunteering in education or other social or political settings.

    If migrant students take paid employment while they are studying, what types of work do they do?


    What are the broader labour market impacts of students transferring from Tier 4 to Tier 2 [student visa to ex-student visa with rights to apply for skilled work related to the course] including
    • on net migration and
    • on shortage occupations?

    Shortage occupations
    2211 Medical practitioners Only the following jobs in this occupation code:

    Consultants in the following specialities:

    clinical radiology
    emergency medicine
    old age psychiatry
    CT3 trainee and ST4 to ST7 trainee in emergency medicine
    Core trainee in psychiatry

    Non-consultant, non-training, medical staff posts in the following specialities:
    emergency medicine (including specialist doctors working in accident and emergency)
    old age psychiatry

    Welcome, but possibly masking other solutions to the problem of why nursing and child protection are such unattractive jobs. So the question begs a further question.

    I read the Victoria Climbie enquiry very carefully, and worked in a social work job at the time. My conclusion from both was that a rather mad and thick line management, cramped offices, and a lack of for junior staff to consult in tricky situations, were the blight of the trade, and importing extra workers only postpones a better solution to the problem.

    I suggest that there should be intelligence tests for social workers, and tests of how to look things up on initiative such as benefit regulations or laws.

    I suggest that when new social workers are hired, particularly in senior line management, there should be questions to all ex-colleagues about whether the person is honest, intelligent, and capable of dealing with colleagues reasonably. That would rule-out one or two of the people, like the team leader in the Victoria Climbie enquiry, and the director of social services who tried to sack all the staff and re-hire them for no particular reason.

    3414 Dancers and choreographers, 3415 Musicians see detail

    I think this begs a different question to the one asked.
    Why these jobs are classified a shortage occupations and why the institutions quoted are in crowded city centres. Their effects are similar to those of international students, adding to crowding, costs, and commutes in London.

    This next paragraph should probably be edited-out?

    I think this sustains a parasitic part of the arts industry which is so unpopular with most people in the UK that they don't want to train to take part in it, nor buy tickets to see it at full price. The industry is only possible because of money syphoned-off other public services in a kind of legalised corruption. So the effect on health, social security payments, pensions, prisons, and schools is to remove funding. The most subsidised opera company is also in the most over-crowded part of the UK, where more visitors add to over-crowding.

    So, without the need for figures, I think there is a negative effect on all public services and private services like housing in over-crowded areas.

    Whether, and to what extent, migrant students enter the labour market,when they graduate and what types of post-study work do they do?


    In addition, the MAC would like to receive evidence about what stakeholders think would happen in the event of there no longer being a demand from migrant students for a UK education.

    The main providers are in the most expensive crowded inner-cities.

    Suppose a major provider closed, or had to merge-in to a provider like Coventry Uni or De Montfort that has better student feedback and run-down most London teaching. I think that would be a good thing. There is plenty of spare capacity in other institutions because home students can no longer afford to go to them. For example Kingston University has shrunk from 25,000 students to 17,000 recently.

    Suppose there was far less cosmopolitan integration among students, with far fewer from outside the UK. I think there would be far more integration among UK students from different backgrounds, who I think know too little about each other. There would be less of a kind of anglo-chinese come mid-atlantic economic theory that doesn't mention the welfare state. I think that thosw

    For the sake of argument..

    Suppose that all international students boycott the UK for some reason, but that trade and industry adjust very smoothly, like a textbook diagram. Export earnings from students stop. The pound falls. Other exporters find their products more competitive at home and abroad, increasing both market shares and stabalise in the pound at a level that still allows us to eat bananas, take city-breaks, and do other things that have to be done with foreign currency.

    I wrote "for the sake of argument"

    This provocative bit is notes-in-progress and not worth sending-in.

    The colleges are a hindrance a lot of the time.
    • They teach untrue facts badly or parts of courses that are no use without absent parts
    • They teach in overcrowded areas
    • They flood the market with graduates and post graduates, making it harder for someone who could just afford a student loan to stand-out with a degree. This is bad for social integration. Particularly as secondary education has a problem with social integration; a majority of students on some economics courses are likely to be privately educated.
    • They have paid lobbyists with far more access to government, for example the Greater London Authority or the Minister for Education than voters like myself. If I manage to un-ravel the work they pay Oxford Economics to write, and send the result to someone like the Mayor of London or the Minister for Education, the email will not be read; the cliches and false claims will continue to be made in every speech, and my tax money will continue to be wasted.
    • They have a cuckoo-like ability to obtain funding for business development and research, such as the Creative Connexions scheme which benefited Chinese taxpayers at the expense of UK taxpayers.

    impact of migrant students depending on the institution and/or subject being studied –
    do different subjects and different institutions generate different impacts?

    Example of Manchester University Economics Degree.
    I think this course would probably close, as it should, and UK students would find other universities willing to provide better courses. I quote a student report on year one, as taught about 2013, on this page, to illustrate that it puts theory first and doesn't mention public administration.

    Example of Cardiff University Economics Degree
    https://unistats.ac.uk/subjects/satisfaction/10007158FT-100 -  unistats marks it down

    This is what their professor wrote about his proposed policies:

    "Over time ,... it seems likely that we would mostly eliminate manufacturing, leaving mainly industries such as design, marketing and hi-tech. But this shouldn’t scare us."

    I would like to repeat the quote back to him, but with "bad economics courses" instead of "manufacturing".

    I pick the course because of his quote, and pick-out some stats: .
    3,285 international undergraduates,
    7,110 including international post-graduates,
    73rd out of 83 courses for student feedback, with students
    46% stimulated by the syllabus,
    69% thought that staff made the syllabus interesting, and
    52% thought they got a chance to apply what they had learned.

    Other universities have shrunk considerably in the past few years, so a good course in a shrunken university will have plenty of space in lecture theatres and halls of residence and teaching rooms. I think that they have more chance of changing, if it brings-in students. They have a history of running more unusual subjects. There are also universities taking-over at the top of league tables for student feedback for economics - Coventry and DeMontfort - which could expand.

    The important point is that students need to know more about the course and think less about the institution as they apply, so that students who would have gone to Manchester don't go to another bad course instead.

    I think better economics courses would produce better voters, civil servants, politicians, and people in business. For example, past economics courses have not prepared us for the funding of the NHS over the next decades as the population gets older. The systems have not been set-up. I think this is because of bad economics teaching in the past, in colleges full of ex-pats and ex-private school pupils, staffed by people who use a US style syllabus with its silence about public administration.

    I was a stake-holder in the UK footwear industry, selling dozens of pairs every day or two with a commitment to promote UK manufacturing. Unfortunately, bad health got in the way. I suffered very slight encephelopathy or bad concentration after an accident, and now make my money by investing but keep the web site running and keep in touch with events. I blog as planB4fashion.blogspot.co.uk and on veg-buildlog.blogspot.co.uk as well as on my own website, Veganline.com

    I want to comment about London College of Fashion.

    I believe that if it closed, the world would be a happier place.
    Something else would supply the informed demand for good courses - probably the universities of Leicester and Northampton for footwear degrees. Kingston has a better-reviewed course for design.

    I believe that the network of grant-claimants, claiming European Social Fund grants or working with the Department for International Development or the British Council or the Cabinet Office or the Higher Education Funding Council or the Greater London Authority would stop applying. That would leave the grants now paid towards London Fashion Week, for example, to cease. Maybe a replacement would spring-up in the midlands, representing the works of UK factories rather than graduates of fashion colleges and a few other applicants who do not state where their products are made. Either way, there would more more column-inches and air-time for people who make things in the UK and argue the case for goods made in a democratic welfare state. I think this would be great for the economy and particularly for non-graduates who want to do manufacturing jobs.

    I believe that the covert operations of this lobby would be discouraged, or at least have to be privately funded. Operations like the online course materials from London College of Fashion with their completely false "case studies" of businesses which had never existed, like Juste, a fictional dress import business run by someone who became a front for another bogus organisation, Ethical Fashion Forum (the industry voice for ethical fashion) which had little to do with fashion businesses, ethical or not, and promoted free trade with Bangladesh.

    I think a decline in international students would force the big city-centre economics departments to shrink, and take a wider variety of UK students, and work harder to reform. Some like UCL already hope to start teaching problems and use theory when relevant to finding solutions. I am not sure how quickly they are willing to change. The change would require teaching of public administration - "government and compulsory insurance" as the statistical classification puts it. How to pay for benefits and pensions and healthcare. This has often been taboo on Economics courses, which treat public spending as something done a bit like watering the garden in a drought, or maybe to provide a few exceptional services. The result, I hope, would be a better educated electorate, civil service and political class who are able to fund the health service over my lifetime.

    I think a greater proportion of domestic students could be good for domestic social integration.

    Take a couple of examples - voting Trump and voting Brexit. Non-graduates voted very differently in both cases. Graduates and non-graduates had trouble understanding each other.

    Add to this the segregation of English secondary schools. A majority of students on some or most economics courses is now privately-educated. So the chances of these privately-educated students finding-out about non privately-educated students are reduced if half the people on the course come from China or Malaysia or India.

    I think this would be good for the employers.
    "Graduates entering employment predominantly move into management, banking and finance and the civil service.", according to University College London economics department, and I find that rather frightening when I think of the problems of economics teaching in the UK.

    an early draft
    Satisfaction figures show that this is "competitive" in a market of people who regret their decision while on the course. I quote the data from The Complete University Guide below, taking the institutions with most international students, a sample course which they are likely to study such as economics, and listing a few student satisfaction scores.
    I believe that there is no requirement for student visa applicants to know....

    ... student feedback about the course itself, rather than the fame of the college or the town

    ... typical student and tutor concerns about this kind of course, such as economics courses which just teach mathematical theory, not applied, or fashion courses which don't teach you to set-up a workshop and make the stuff or set-up a web site to sell it.

    ... the syllabus of the course itself. It would be simple for an online form to require visa applicants to cut-and-paste parts of the syllabus, just to demonstrate that they know where to find it.

    ... the relative price of living in the town where they wish to study.

    ... whether they suspect vague language on the prospectus that might make the choice less clear. Language like "vibe", "buzz", "world class", or a vague recommendation by an un-named former student.

    I believe that a few changes to the Home Office visa process, with no change to the law, could reduce the number of international students who come to London and find that it's expensive or that the course isn't intellectually stimulating or applied or made interesting, or that it's not a trade qualification to get a good paid job.

    I suspect that Unistats' own reports of graduate employment depend too much on self-reporting by those graduates who fill-in a questionnaire. It appears to contradict Student Loan Company reports of how many graduates make an average wage. If so, all students (including international students) are mislead about the application of some of the courses they do. If so, there is a need for student visa applicants to know this as soon as possible, and for better data do be developed over time.

    earlier drafts

    I hope to write a response and these are my notes in progress; they don't match the questions asked by the migration advisory committee yet but there is an attempt at the bottom of the page to sort the notes that way, with questions in red sans serif type.

    There is a large industry recruiting overseas students for courses like business studies and economics at UCL, LSE, Glasgow, Kings College, and others., according to stats below. The list is from
    https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Research--Policy/Statistics/International-student-statistics-UK-higher-education, presenting data from a spreadsheet called Table 3 here

    I studied Economics and English at a UK university, so I write about economics; I don't know about management science or accountancy for example. I notice that the Migration Advisory Committee are all economists who have a chance to apply quantitative data and think of theories to explain it, which is great, but the experience of undergraduates is different with only half to three quarters of students saying they have a chance to apply what they have learned. A detailed report about the Manchester University economics degree course in 2013 is available online and reads even worse than bland student satisfaction data suggests.

    University of the Arts with its London College of Fashion courses is a rather weird addition to the list, but I have a run-down footwear business, they teach a footwear degree, and I have a long-running problem with their associates promoting a different sort of footwear or fashion to the sort that I have produced in the UK.

    My sales points are that the footwear contains no animal products and is made in a democratic welfare state with a good human rights record.

    Their sales points - if I take Terra Plana for example - are that the brand's intellectual property was borne in the UK, wherever it is held now. I think the brand is defunct after a web site quote saying that "China is arguably more democratic than the UK", and stating that footwear production is only possible nowadays in China. I sauntered into their shop once, and asked, after a while, why the brand was promoted as "ethical". The assistant said I should look at the web site. But this is a brand promoted by UK taxpayers at the expense of companies that have had to close like Manchester Hosiery, Equity Shoes, Remploy Uniforms and others.

    Similar companies put great emphasis on whether their shoes can be put in a compost bin and promote this as the only ethical test available. I don't know if Terra Plana shoes can go in a compost bin.

    I say "they" because I have no detail about who in what ministry asked for Terra Plana goods to be displayed at the V&A, the Crafts Council, and British Council exhibitions; I am up against something organised, but I don't know who organises it and how much the organisation overlaps with London College of Fashion.

    They are my rivals in a way, trying to persuade the public to buy fast-changing designs made in China.

    Some international students come from countries which offer free or cheap education to people from the UK. I know so little about this subject, that it is best to pretend nothing. Obviously, the deal that a UK student gets when studying in another country is relevant to the deal a student from that country should get when studying in the UK, and if that country offers free education to people like me, I think my taxes should offer students from there similar deal, or at least a cuddly toy or a "thank you" note, if they come over and pay high fees for a bad course in an expensive town, even if they do increase over-crowding,

    International Student Course Satisfaction

    - a hash of unistats satisfaction reports about economics courses that a lot of international students take - has moved to another page.


    Housing and Transport in London

    A first response is that more people in London leads to higher rents and more crowded commuter routes. Crowding is obvious to anyone who takes the Picadilly line at Oxford Street in rush hour. I tried working for a social work agency near there a decade ago, and only did a couple of days, and that was partly because of the commute. The station is right next to London College of Fashion. The other thing known to anyone near London is that it is very expensive to avoid the commute and live centrally. For example, this is the BBC map of housing prices by area: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23234033 Camden rents for a 1 bed flat are £1,500 - £2,000 a month according to the BBC map, and a lot of London University buildings are in Camden. Some economists at Greater London Authority's economics unit have compiled some data from the Labour Force Survey to measure commuting, and the Population Survey, based on 10-yearly samples of NHS registrations. They see nothing to contradict this first response. https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/gla_migrate_files_destination/WP62-migration-commuting-final.pdf

    Rough numbers for student migrants

    Student-age people are the only net migrants to London, by age group, among people who register with the NHS (tourists and business visitors such as visitors to London Fashion Week are not counted). The biggest groups by occupation are students, followed by job-seekers. (their footnote 11 Population Movement Within the UK, by Tony Champion. Chapter 6 of Focus on People and Migration, 2005 (ONS) ) London is an important higher education centre for students domiciled in other UK regions. It attracts around 62,000 such students to do full-time first degrees and around 110,000 students in total (that is, including those doing graduate degrees, part-time degrees and other undergraduate courses) (their footnote 17 using HESA data)

    Rough numbers for commuting between regions - quoted because at hand

    Commuting between regions of the UK is on the increase, according to the Labour Force Survey, with employed people in their 20s - 40s the most frequent commuters. According to the LFS, around 872,000 people commuted into London for work in 2013.Compared to the 2001 data, this represents an increase of 23.5 per cent, up by about 166,000 from 706,000. Out commuting by Londoners also increased between 2001 and 2013, according to the LFS, from 277,000 to 293,000 – an increase of 16,000 or about 5.8 per cent. (their source: Labour Force Survey (Spring quarters 1997-2013) and GLA Economics calculations)


    Work and study are in the wrong places, and international students are just a proportion of those who add to the problem, as are Greater London Authority efforts to attract business to London and promote it abroad as a business destination. I guess that a lot of international students would rather study a bad course in a big town because, back home, people have heard of the town and assume that it has a good university. They might hope to learn the culture a bit as well. So I doubt they all want to study in cheap areas but it would even-out commutes and housing prices if more of them did. I guess that a lot of UK migrants would rather study a bad course in a big southern town because that's where the job will be later-on. So I doubt they all want to study in cheap areas but it would even-out commutes and housing prices if more of them did. Suggestions for re-balancing the economy to where housing is. Any research to reduce pointless jobs in London would be welcome. Surveys of jobs that people don't enjoy doing, don't pay well, and don't need as customers, but exist anyway. For example, some way for hotels to exist without people to change the bedlinen every day, or for pubs to run without someone coming to ask "how was your soup"? There are people who do jobs as complicated as some NHS therapies, asking "what phone contract are you on? How many calls do you make a week?". A tax on phone contracts and locked phones would force people onto Pay-As-You-Go sim cards and save the UK an un-necessary industry. I notice that in Ireland, at University of Cork, a large building is not labelled economics but something like "economic growth", and a system of that kind would help low-rent areas provide jobs that people want to do. I suggest better stats. (1) real time data for people registered with GPs, so that school places and council services generally can be funded in proportion. (2) tax data for manufacturers who pay income tax or VAT to be released in some form so that business directories can be put together. That way, the person with a factory in Lanarkshire can get business from being in a trade directory, and more people will want to stay in Lanarkshire.

    Note to self: survey of international students

    Interview with someone from Centre for Population Studies, which, being a university department and doing an interview with the Times Higher Education Supplement, is in favour, but well-informed as well. http://www.cpc.ac.uk/projects/?project=23 https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/survey-3500-uk-based-international-students-surprising-results#survey-answer sometimes charges for a second look, so I will cut and paste what I saw for free in their quote from a survey done by the University of Southampton The most important line is this I think: "recognition of UK qualifications, the university reputation and the language"... It looks as though students are suckers for general statements about a university that don't describe their course content or student feedback. Although a Guardian article about a £9,000 lobotomy does seem to have closed the Glasgow course. The three main reasons international students stated that they chose the UK were: the international recognition of UK qualifications, the university reputation and the language. The majority of international students relied on self-funding (including help from family) to finance their studies in the UK, and almost half of the respondents had family or friends living in the UK before arriving. When asked about their use of health services, just eight per cent had visited A&E in the past 12 months – the majority of international students report their general health as very good (40 per cent) or good (41 per cent). Less than two per cent report bad or very bad health. The survey findings raise questions about the effectiveness of restrictive policies towards international student migration and about the long-term impact that such interventions could have on the attractiveness of UK higher education. The time has now come to remove international students from the net migration target and to treat students as temporary migrants, as is the case in Australia, Canada and the US. It is also time to reinstate the post-study visa – such a move would help boost the number of students coming to study here and would not add undue pressure on public services. While here, students contribute to the economy of the towns where they reside, with more than half living in private rented accommodation. Staying on to work post-study will help close the skills gap – resulting in win-win solution.
    Jane Falkingham, director of the ESRC Centre for Population Change at the University of Southampton.
    Note to self: the things politicians say ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith answered questions from Vogue for the mayorial elections. I had sent a statement to Khan about London Fashion Week as he started his campaign, but he didn't reply.
    Vogue Q5. London is home to some of the best fashion schools in the world, many of which are oversubscribed - what will you do to address this?
    SK: It's great that so many people want to come to London to study fashion. We are blessed with some of the world's most famous institutions like the London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins. I always love visiting the University of the Arts. But being popular brings with it its own challenges - and to cope with that, we need to support our fashion schools to expand. The mayor can help with this - from sourcing land, to supporting them through the planning process and making sure that in large developments we find space for new state-of-the-art premises. The fashion industry will have a friend and ally in me at City Hall.
    ZG: In the next few years, the mayor of London will get control of further-education funding in London. I want to channel funding into London's growth industries, and fashion is definitely high up the list. Kingston College, in my current patch as an MP, is one of the most successful fashion schools in the world. I want to export that across London.
    Vogue Q9. London Fashion Week, London Fashion Weekend, and London Collections: Mens are major attractions throughout the year - do you plan on working with the BFC on these events and if so, how?
    SK: Absolutely! I really enjoyed David Koma's show at London Fashion Week this year. I know what an important part of London's calendar it is. It's really broken through in the last decade and our designers have been recognised internationally, from big brands like Burberry, Paul Smith and Alexander McQueen, to smaller ones like Christopher Kane and Mary Katrantzou. I will work hand-in-hand with the British Fashion Council to make London Fashion Week even bigger and better. I'll also use the role of mayor to sell London abroad, travelling to new and expanding markets to promote the city's crown jewels including the fashion industry.
    ZG: Absolutely - these are flagship events for London, a chance to show off our city and its brilliant designers to the rest of the world. As mayor, I will protect the financial contribution that City Hall makes to these events, and I will be enthusiastically promoting them - in government and across the globe.