The UK gets more positive
ratings for higher education than for any other area. The reputation
overseas of our universities and colleges is clearly a major national
asset, but there are warnings in the data that UK higher education
would do well to pay attention to.
Young people overseas see UK institutions as more
attractive places to study the arts, humanities and social sciences
than science, engineering and business, and better at theory than
real world applications. They imagine too that US universities
- which is the model against which UK higher education is judged
- do a better job in looking after their students and, all in
all, are more lively places to be.
A visualisation by postgraduate
students in Singapore sums it up: the US university teacher wears
Bermuda shorts, drives a convertible and spends time with students
after a lecture. The UK teacher wears a suit, smokes a pipe, carries
a black briefcase and leaves the lecture room as soon as he (sic)
has finished. This is the Shadowlands image of UK higher
education, which appears to be quite strong around the world.
The message about UK higher
We have a very
well respected product, but we need to counteract the impression
that we are slightly old fashioned and out-of-touch. The challenge
is to show that the UK offers the high quality, practically
oriented courses that young people are looking for, that they
can expect a high level of customer care while they are here
and that it can be fun being a student in the UK.
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