In an increasingly unstable environment, the movement of students across the world is heartening
November 17 was International Students Day — a time to celebrate the multiculturalism of universities around the world. The mobility of international students is a worldwide phenomenon, and one which is for the good of the world as young people learn together and address challenges which require global solutions. Whether it’s taking action on climate change or tackling acute healthcare problems, as common in Delhi or Shanghai as Sheffield, the people who will help us address them, building the skills of the future, and creating its technologies, will come from all over the world.
In the U.K., we know the contribution international students from countries, including India, make to our universities and cities, and that the world-class education they gain greatly benefits their home countries.
At the University of Sheffield, we have students from 140 countries with 2,300 graduates in India alone now working in senior positions as leaders, doctors, judges, architects and engineers. We have been welcoming students from India for many decades and we are deeply proud of all they achieve.
That is why we founded the #WeAreInternational campaign, which has seen more than 100 universities and organisations across the U.K. unite to advocate for international students, staff, research, and collaborations.
Today, around the world we see the politics of nationalism and the threat of xenophobia. The origins of International Students Day itself lie in remembering the victims of atrocities committed by the Nazis against students in Czechoslovakia during World War II.
If there is any great movement likely to help us overcome prejudice which leads to conflict, it is this great movement of international students. Now, young people travel not to fight but to study, and what a wonder that is. We are lobbying the U.K. Government for international students to be removed from immigration caps and for the reintroduction of a period of post-study work that will allow international students to offset the cost of their studies and increase their employability when they return to their home countries.
Recent reports suggest the Home Secretary Amber Rudd is leading a new push to take students out of net migration targets. This is good news and we are hopeful of progress, but our campaign continues.
We know we must not risk the precious connection between U.K. universities and Indian students and to needlessly alienate such an important group of talented young people by mistaken policies would be a tragedy.
There is no technological or research connection without human connection and bringing together talent. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far with #WeAreInternational, but we know there’s more to do. We’ll continue to promote the message that anyone studying in the U.K. will receive a warm welcome and a world-class education.
Source : The Hindu