BIS to launch a new education industrial strategy
The BIS is taking the lead in developing an education industrial strategy. Three workshops have taken place so far, with stakeholders, to help inform this process. Two last year, one this (February). A group of education service providers met the exports Minister, Lord Green, last year complaining that not nearly enough was being done to support UK education exports, and what support that existed was piecemeal and lacked strategic direction, unlike our main competitors. (US, Canada, Australia etc).Our officials could ensure better information about local opportunities, potential partners, help with access and research and arrange targeted sector specific delegations. It is now anticipated that a new Strategy will be published in late May, or June of this year.
The BIS has tended to focus mainly on Higher Education, without paying much attention to other education export areas. UK providers are not only opening and running schools abroad, where our independent schools enjoy a formidable reputation, but are also involved with providing advice and support to governments, managing programmes on school improvement, schools inspections, curriculum development, teacher training, examinations and testing and so on. English language teachers and courses are also much in demand. A more activist approach towards industrial policy might help – if directed towards industries such as education where the UK has a competitive advantage. The Government talks big on the need for exports to help drive our recovery but has been remarkably slow about providing support and advice for companies looking at these potential markets, particularly in education. Hopefully the new BIS strategy will lead to a step-change in UK Plcs approach.