David Boddy wants to see British universities doing more to demonstrate the value of UK education
We all have a past. Before I got into the business of international student recruitment for UK universities and top boarding schools, mine included running one of Europe’s leading lobbying companies and working as political press secretary to Margaret Thatcher. Some would say, quite good training for helping to meet the wider challenges our higher education sector now faces.
The Cabinet has tucked away its sun-cream and is now getting down to the business of sorting out Brexit. Those of us who think it is a disaster have to throw away our sour grapes and get down to making the most of what the democratic process has given us. Since June, I have been surprised at the lack of coherent response from our universities and top boarding schools sectors.
If they had come to me during my lobbying days I would have asked them:
To lobby means consistently to work ‘alongside’ Government – not directly in opposition - to help shape, bend, amend and ultimately deliver policies which are both acceptable to them, and to your own interests. It is financially quite costly to undertake such lobbying – and very time consuming. But it is worth it.
In my experience, the best lobbying takes place when companies and institutions who compete on a daily basis put their suspicions aside and work together for something much greater than themselves. Whichever part of the UK education sector we work in, we are all going to be the poorer if European and international students do not feel welcome here.
The Brexiteers want Britain to be open to the world. But you can’t be open if you keep out of the country the best minds and the most brilliant talent the world has got to offer. We must become, in post-Brexit Britain – a powerful magnet for these students.
We have got so much ammunition to use in this imminent battle – much more than just the impact of Brexit on our research budgets and projects. I so hope we start deploying it. And soon.