Number of Pakistani students in UK ‘has doubled since 2003’

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The number of Pakistani students studying in the United Kingdom has doubled since 2003, taking the total to 10,000 in 2009, two thirds of which are postgraduate students.

This was stated by Sue Beaumont, Country Director British Council Pakistan, at a press briefing held here to highlight various programmes initiated by the British Council in partnership with Higher Education Commission (HEC).

Talking about the rising number of Pakistani students in the UK and the deepening ties through academic and research partnership between British and Pakistani universities, Sue said such exchanges are contributing to Pakistan’s knowledge economy and a growing place in the world economy, and also towards HEC’s reform objectives in Pakistan of enhancing access and improved quality research and teaching of international standards.

She said the British Council is also offering information to the students regarding various study programmes and scholarships through their websites and toll free phone links along with providing trainings to education counsellors for providing quality education to the students, aspiring to study in the UK. She said last year, British Council trained about 110 counsellors for this purpose and has also established 30 resource centres throughout Pakistan to provide relevant information and guidance to the students.

The press briefing was also addressed by Deputy British High Commissioner Ray Kyles, who described some of the recent changes made to the existing student visa process for greater transparency. He said the initiatives taken through various educational projects and programmes would create an enormous impact to boost educational standards in Pakistan and create more educational links with the UK.

He said by the end of March 2009, a new point based system would be introduced for students, applying for a UK visa to study, work, and acquire training. He said the ‘Tier 4’ replaces the current student visa category, but does not replace the student visitor visa for a short period of six months. According to the new system, students must pass a point-based assessment and score 40 points in order to qualify for entry in the UK for study purposes.

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