Did you know that British qualifications are still revered?
On GCSE results day, it is good to know that in many parts of the world British qualifications are still revered.
Conversation over curry
We treated ourselves to a midweek curry as it is still the holidays. Yes, I know I’m retired but doing the governance work I do as well as visiting schools with 100 Word Challenge, I still keep to a school timetable across the year. So, it is still the holidays.
We like to chat to the waiters and last evening we discovered that rather than being one of the family, which we had assumed, our waiter was a university student. He has been here for two years and is about to embark on his final year. Unfortunately, we didn’t catch what he was studying but he had taken the journey from northern India, near the Taj Mahal to get his qualification.
The best in the world
He was very firm in his view that a degree from England was the best in the world. Where else would he go to get that final qualification? I suppose we don’t think beyond our own circumstances. The GCSEs being collected today may affect our children or the reputation of our school but beyond that do we think about our standing in the education world?
Now, of course, there are international league tables like the OECD and Pisa but how much notice does the average person take of them? As a head teacher I really only thought about them when there had been a publication and the media was full of the results. Even that didn’t last long and whilst I’m sure the ministers at the DfE would be pouring over every word, my interest was limited to headlines which usually told me in graphic terms that the UK was lagging behind other nations.
So, it was really uplifting to hear this young man praising our education system. It took me back to my teen years. My brother was emigrating to New Zealand and I was determined to go out there with him once I finished school. He had other ideas. He wanted me to qualify in the UK so that I could take my degree anywhere in the world and get a job.
With the referendum having been taken in June, the effect of the decision to leave the EU on students coming to the UK is not known yet. However, our young friend was already seeing changes. His application to extend his visa now included a payment towards the NHS. This was introduced before the referendum but he was concerned that other restrictions would soon follow.
We asked what he intended to do once he was qualified. Assumptions were again made that he would stay here. Interestingly, he has not yet decided. Last year the number of international students in HE was around 15%. We wait to see if the visa restrictions that will come in for EU students have an impact on that figure but it is still reassuring to know for students, the degree is valued across the world.
Do you think British qualifications are revered?