LETTER: Competition to attract students

Your front page story Schools’ Warning Over EU Leave Vote [June 3] does seem to have excited a number of your readers. It does look to have so enraged your correspondent Ms Barbara Langridge that she choked on her cocoa thus causing her to write such utter tosh. Certainly by accusing Mr Phil Hopkins of ignorance she has splendidly demonstrated her own complete lack of knowledge.

The points-based system exists already for international students wishing to enter the UK on a ‘student visa’ and has done so for a number of years. These students enter the UK on what is called a Tier 4 visa.

The Government in its guidelines relating to international students and Tier 4 providers inaccurately refers to these students as ‘migrants’ and despite continued lobbying from language schools, universities and further education colleges, international students continue to be included in the Government’s figures on immigration.

It is also a fact that language schools and universities are up against increased competition from countries such as the USA, New Zealand, Malta, Ireland, South Africa etc.

Perhaps getting there is a little more expensive but there are other attractions – cost of living, sunshine, activities, more flexible visa system, euro-zone for some and of course they all speak English. Attractive alternatives that cannot be underestimated.

As for Cllr Keeley, if his philosophy is just to sit around and expect things to happen, I do not envy those who elected him.

Of course, it was not said that if we left the EU students will not come, they will still come but possibly in fewer numbers.

One can be fairly sure, however, were one to take Cllr Keeley’s ‘sit and they are sure to come approach’, numbers would dwindle.

Most students who come here do not just arrive out of the blue, representatives of schools and colleges travel the world recruiting and promoting the UK, the towns such as Eastbourne, the quality of education and life and of course the culture. Considerable resources are invested travelling and marketing to bring students to the UK and to Eastbourne. It is therefore only natural that when something is about to occur that will effect citizens’ lives and livelihoods – whichever way the referendum goes – people are bound to express themselves and even, as has clearly been the case of Ms Langridge and Cllr Keeley, go wildly over the top.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot, I do work in this industry, I am an interested party but for the moment I have yet to make a final, personal decision on whether to leave or remain.

Chris Savins

Meads Street

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