The interview with Nirmal Aryal in Nepali can be read online, click here!
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health (CMWH)
The interview with Nirmal Aryal in Nepali can be read online, click here!
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health (CMWH)
Congratulations to Drs. Pramod Regmi and Nirmal Aryal in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences who published their latest paper this week . This peer-reviewed paper ‘Assessing the knowledge of, attitudes towards, and practices in, food safety among migrant workers in Klang Valley, Malaysia’ in the journal Travel Medicine & Infectious Disease assesses the current food safety KAP (knowledge, attitudes and behaviour) as well as strategies to promote food safety awareness, among migrant workers across occupational sectors in Malaysia.
The authors conducted a survey with 403 migrant workers using telephone interviews and online self-administered questionnaires. The respondents were Nepalese, Filipino and Indonesian migrant workers. The majority were male, working in the services industry, had completed high school, aged between 30 and 39 years and had worked in Malaysia for less than ten years. Knowledge was significantly correlated with attitudes and practices. Female respondents had lower knowledge and attitude scores while younger respondents had lower knowledge scores. Indonesian and Filipino respondents had lower knowledge and attitudes scores than Nepalese respondents. Understanding food safety information from social media was positively correlated with the respondents’ food safety knowledge and practices. The paper concludes there is: (i) a to target female, younger, Indonesian and Filipino migrant workers, and (ii) the potential of social media to improve public awareness of food safety and hygienic practices.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health (CMWH)
In May I wrote a BU Research Blog under the title ‘New ways of publishing?’ on the first time we published an academic paper in the post-review journal Qeios. The paper in question ‘The paper ‘Impact of Men’s Labour Migration on Non-migrating Spouses’ Health: A Systematic Review‘  is part of Shraddha Manandhar’s Ph.D. study at the University of Huddersfield. Shraddha is supervised by the University of Huddersfield’s Prof. Philip Brown and Prof. Padam Simkhada and Bournemouth University’ Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen. Today’s blog is an update on that novel publishing journey.
The first point to make is that our paper received twenty-two reviews, not two or three, but 22 different people read and commented on this paper. Sure, some reviews were better than others, some were more insightful, others were more generic, some seem to miss out points, or perhaps skimming the surface a little, but still twenty-two reviews! Secondly, by the nature of post-publication review we have taken the reviews to heart and submitted the second improved version of the paper . The new reference for the paper is very similar to the first one, apart from the new submission data and the indication in the https that we are now on the second version . Thirdly, each of the 22 reviews has its own DOI, and hence can easily be quoted. In the second version of the paper we have cited several of the online reviews [e.g. 3-6]. Last, but not least, Qeois offers Open Access and publishing is free of charge.
The great unknown for us how the academic world is going to view post-publication way of peer-reviewing. We realize that we have been lucky in getting 22 reviews for this paper. As part of learning about Qeios I read a 2022 paper in one of my areas of interest and submitted my own review ; this review was only the fifth for the paper.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery & Women’s Health
On May 19, BU researchers in the Centre for Comparative Politics and Media Research | Bournemouth University, Alina Dolea, Tabitha Baker and Dawid Pekalski, are organizing an interactive knowledge exchange workshop with local stakeholders to facilitate sharing of experiences and best practices in supporting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Dorset.
Academics researching issues of displacement and forced migration across BU will be joined by representatives from Dorset Council, BCP Council, Citizen advice, Public Health Dorset, International Care Network, British Red Cross, Migrant Help UK, Dorset Race Equality Council, as well as other local groups and stakeholders.
One objective of the workshop is to understand the dimensions of displacement and migration in the BCP and Dorset area, mapping the programs run, but also the issues faced by the councils and the different organisations in their work with refugees, asylum seekers and other migrant communities. Another objective is to understand, also from the beneficiaries’ perspective, their needs, gaps and current issues they are facing. Together we aim to get to know more about each other’s work, discuss and reflect on the national and local policies, programs, networks of support and integration that are in place.
Our overall goal for the day is to identify areas of collaborations so that we as academics and researchers can help and actively contribute to the current infrastructure of support and integration. The collaboration can range from volunteering and exploring placement opportunities for our students, co-creating projects, and organizing joint events, to delivering applied workshops and trainings, as well as providing research insights to inform policy making.
More details about the workshop are available here: Supporting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Dorset Tickets, Fri 19 May 2023 at 10:00 | Eventbrite
Congratulation to FHSS PhD student on the publication of his article ‘Forgotten health and social care needs of left-behind families of Nepali migrant workers’ . Yagya’s Ph.D. research title is “Parental migration and its impact on health and well-being of left-behind adolescents in Nepal” and his research is supervised by Dr. Pramod Regmi and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen. The Journal of Health Promotion is Open Access and hence freely available across the globe for anybody with internet access.
Dr. Alina Dolea, Associate Professor in Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy in FMC, has published an article on emotions, trauma and public diplomacy in the academic forum on the #RussiaUkraineWar that she co-edits together with Nadia Kaneva (University of Denver) and Ilan Manor (PhD) (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) in Place Branding & Public Diplomacy
In the article, Alina argues all displaced people (refugees, migrants, or expatriates) experience a sense of loss and trauma and the Ukrainians crossing the border to take refuge across Europe carry with them this emotional luggage that shapes their identity and influences their integration in their new host places. Yet, the consequences of this invisible luggage have been rarely scrutinized in depth in public diplomacy and even in diaspora diplomacy scholarship. She draws on the psychoanalytical work of Vamik Volkan to shed some light on the psychology of Ukrainian refugees and the reactions of Romanians as host population.
Expanding from her research on Romanian diaspora (over 5 million) and the current Ukrainian refugees in Europe (over 8 million), Alina posits it is essential to understand the complex psychology, loss, emotions and trauma of displacement in diaspora diplomacy. It is necessary for theory building in order to develop analytical frameworks and research questions that link psychological processes with engagement and disengagement. In terms of practice, it can inform medium- and long-term policies of support and integration of refugees in host countries. Developing programs and encouraging grassroots initiatives aimed to increase multi-cultural awareness, communication and collaboration between newcomers and host populations is critical. Increased communication towards host publics is also needed in European countries especially because previous waves of migration and refugees have been instrumentalized in exclusionary, divisive political discourses that contribute to social anxieties, fears and phobias towards newcomers. Psychoanalytical approaches can shed light on the psychological processes that make illiberal, populist and extremist discourses effective as they instrumentalize chosen traumas and chosen glories.
This essay calls for integrating the study of emotions in public diplomacy and diaspora diplomacy research in order to (1) explore the breadth and depth of psychological processes that turn individual emotions into group emotions and (2) understand the potential of emotions to enable or disrupt engagement. Interdisciplinary research which engages with political psychology approaches that look at emotions, affect and trauma can provide new analytical insights into the inner worlds and lived experiences of the displaced, as well as into the emotions that shape representations, attitudes and behaviours of both newcomers and hosts. Such insights are much needed in designing policies aimed to support displaced groups and ease their integration and adaption in host countries. They can also contribute to more inclusive and positive public discourses about migrants and refugees.
The Academic Forum on the #RussiaUkraineWar captures a variety of epistemic reflections, creating a common space for scholars from diverse fields such as public diplomacy, strategic communications, global media studies, nation branding, international relations, post-Soviet studies, linguistics, and cultural studies. Together, we re-examined some of the concepts and practices that have shaped major debates in public diplomacy and identified new angles and approaches that can no longer be ignored in light of a world of many crises.
With the men’s FIFA football world cup starting on Sunday in Qatar it important to remember the human costs of those who build the infrastructure. The media coverage on the number of workers dying during the building of the football stadiums has highlighted the plight of foreign workers in the Middle East more generally. For example, BU’s researcher Dr. Nirmal Aryal was cited in The Sunday Times in an article with the title ‘Qatar 2022: Dying for the World Cup”, see the BU Research Blog published this time last year.
Here at BU we have conducted several studies into Nepali migrant workers, including those working in Qatar and elsewhere in the Middle East [1-13]. In the Middle East working conditions for foreign labourers are often Dirty, Dangerous and Difficult (commonly referred at as the 3Ds). Migrant workers often perform physically demanding work in a hot unprotected environment, suffer dehydration and/or exposure to chemical, excessive use of pain killers, and unhealthy lifestyle factors (such as restricted water intake and a high intake of alcohol/sugary drinks) which may precipitate them to acute kidney injuries and subsequent chronic kidney disease . Dr. Regmi and colleagues in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences are currently conducting a study into the kidney health of Nepalese migrant workers. This study is funded by the Colt Foundation.
From our work, we can say that in addition to the 3Ds, migrant workers are likely to experience a series of other challenges ranging from language and other cultural barriers, socio-economic problems and issues to do with their legal status, to a lack of health and safety training, difficulties in gaining access
to health services. If you have limited injury compensation in your line of work, a work injury attorney can answer commonly asked questions like “can employer make employee pay for accident?”
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
I am Yagya Adhikari, PhD student at BU’s Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (FHSS). I am honoured to participate in the Turing Scheme (Traineeship) in Nepal. For me this student mobility programme ran for four weeks. In Kathmandu, I attended the Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) sessions. I also presented my proposal and discussed it with both MSc Public Health students and teachers and had the privilege to attend the lectures delivered by MMIHS academics. Furthermore, I shared my UK university experiences with the students and faculties. Some of the MMIHS students and faculties will soon participate in the ERASMUS+ exchange programme at BU.
Additionally, I invited to present my research proposal at the “Migration and Health Research Capacity Building Workshop for Early Career Researchers”, organised by BU, the University of Huddersfield, MMIHS and the charity Green Tara Nepal. It provided a forum for discussion and feedback from the participants. Similarly, I took part in the “Academic writing and publishing” book launch workshop at Nobel College, Kathmandu. It was facilitated by Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen and Dr Pramod Regmi both from FHSS.
As my PhD research title is “Parental migration and its impact on health and well-being of left-behind adolescents in Nepal,” I plan to conduct fieldwork next year. Thus, the visit allowed me to familiarise myself with Nepal’s current socio-economic context and understand the ethical procedure prior to data collection and fieldwork.
Networking is another outstanding achievement for me. I interacted with researchers involved in migration and health research in Nepal. One of the cardinal benefits of the tour was the exchange of knowledge and expertise between BU and MMIHS. It was also crucial to strengthen the network amongst public health sector professionals of both nations and establish new connections. The visit helped me understand the recent challenges of conducting research at the field level and gave me the insight to mitigate the issues. In addition, it helped me lay the foundation of my study and proffered me the prerequisite tools to address my research question.
I forged ties with several organisations working in health, migration, and mental health. Some of the key associations we shared our expertise with were Green Tara Trust and Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation Nepal (TPO Nepal). Furthermore, I discussed the proposed research tools for my PhD and the availability of validated questionnaires in the Nepali translated version. It was a win-win visit for both BU and MMIHS Nepal. As a research student, I returned with a rich experience, and I look forward to fostering collaborations in future. Overall, it was a fantastic opportunity to explore and interact with students, academics and researchers internationally.
Earlier this week Bournemouth University (BU) ran the ‘Migration and Health Research Capacity Building Workshop for Early Career Researchers’ in Kathmandu. The organisation of this two-day event was jointly with the University of Huddersfield, Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) in Kathmandu and the charity Green Tara Nepal. The event was part of the BU-led Health Research Network for Migrant Workers in Asia whose formation was supported two years ago by GCRF (Global Challenges Research Fund). The workshop plan was designed by BU’s Dr. Pramod Regmi and Dr. Nirmal Aryal. Our recently started FHSS PhD student Yagya Adhikari and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen also contributed to the workshop in Kathmandu. Yagya spoke about his PhD which focuses on ‘Parental migration and its impact on the health and well-being of left-behind adolescents in Nepal’.Further contributions to the workshop were from former BU PhD student Dr. Pratik Adhikary (now working for PHASE Nepal) and two of our academic colleagues from the University of Huddersfield: Dr. Sharada Prasad Wasti and Prof. Padam Simkhada. Prof. Simkhada is also Visiting Professor in FHSS.
BU academic, Dr. Alina Dolea, gave an extensive interview on her research on Romanian Diaspora, the emotional costs of migration, the constant identity struggles, as well as the role of diaspora in public diplomacy. She was interviewed by Elena Stancu, Pulitzer Center’s Persephone Miel Fellows 2021, and photographed by Cosmin Bumbuț; since 2019, the two journalists have been living in a caravan and travelling throughout Europe to document the 5 million Romanian migrants within their project titled “Plecat” (Away/ On the road). They are currently in the UK, gathering stories of migration and giving a voice to the over 1 million Romanians who are currently living here.
The interview was published simultaneously on Teleleu website „Migrația la noi pare să fie ca un divorț complicat, cu multe reproșuri și frustrări, și cu încercări de împăcare” « Teleleu (Migration seems to be for Romanians a sort of messy divorce, with mutual blame games, frustration and make-up trials) and in the major Romanian newspaper Libertatea: Cercetătoare, despre viața românilor în Marea Britanie: „E ridicol când îi auzi pe guvernanți că vor să-i aducă acasă. Îi aduci o lună, un an și apoi pleacă din nou” (Researcher, about the life of Romanians in the UK: “It is ridiculous when you hear government officials wanting to bring back home the Romanians abroad. You bring them back for a month, a year and then they leave again”).
As an interesting fact, the editor-in-chief of Libertatea newspaper is Catalin Tolontan, who lead the team of investigative journalists featured in the Academy Awards and BAFTA nominee documentary “Collective” – About the film — Collective (collectivefilm.co.uk).
Dr. Alina Dolea, member of BU Centre for Comparative Politics and Media Research, published open access together with Prof. Diana Ingenhoff from University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and Dr. Anabella Beju from Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu (Romania) the article “Country images and identities in times of populism: Swiss media discourses on the ‘stop mass immigration’ initiative” in International Communication Gazzette: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1748048520913462
The research was carried out during Dr. Dolea’s SCIEX postdoctoral fellowship at University of Fribourg and funded through the SCIEX competitive grant “Discourses on country image promotion and identity in Western and Eastern Europe. A comparative study on Switzerland and Romania (DiCoPro)”. The Scientific Exchange Programme (Sciex-NMSch) was part of the Swiss Contribution to the New Member States (NMS) of the European Union.
The article shows country images are instrumentalized in public debates beyond strategic communication contexts and practices. The authors innovatively linked studies on country images and identities with migration and populism as communication phenomenon and ideology discursively articulated by political and media actors. They used Critical Discourse Analysis to show how media construct, re-construct and mobilize various representations and descriptors of Switzerland (as a country, as a state or as a nation) in the debates following the 2014 Swiss referendum on “stop mass immigration initiative”. Projecting fictitious scenarios, fear and uncertainty, media have ultimately constructed Switzerland’s image through a populist type of discourse, reproducing the populist ideology of dividing society into polarized categories through strategies of inclusion and exclusion.
This is a great example of multidisciplinary research carried out within the International Communication Association, as authors linked streams of critical research emerging within the Public Diplomacy Interest Group with more established research on populism within the Political Communication Division.
Last week migration researchers in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences were awarded two competitive grants through GCRF funding to Bournemouth University. The first project Nepal-Malaysia-UK partnership on Nepali migrants’ health research is led by Dr. Pramod Regmi (lecturer in International Health) and Dr. Nirmal Aryal (Post Doctoral Researcher) and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen. The second GCRF-funded project focuses on Investigating sudden cardiac death of Nepali labour migrants in Malaysia. The project is the brain child of Dr. Nirmal Aryal who is supported by Dr. Pramod Regmi and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.
In the same week the International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health (IJERPH) accepted our latest migration and health paper: ‘The Impact of Spousal Migration on the Mental Health of Nepali Women: A Cross-Sectional Study‘.  This paper was part of the journal’s Special Issue ‘The Health & Wellbeing of Migrant Populations’ and it is Open Access and hence freely available online. The international authors are all related to Bournemouth University, Dr. Nirnal Aryal and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen are both in the Centre of Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) and Dr. Pramod Regmi and Dr. Steve Trenoweth are based in the Department of Nursing Sciences, whilst Dr. Pratik Adhikary was awarded his PhD from Bournemouth University and Prof. Padam Simkhada based at the University of Huddersfield is Visiting Professor at in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences. The editor emailed us today to say “Thank you very much for your nice paper …. We are pleased to see it has raised a lot of interest since its publication in IJERPH. The article metrics show: in the first week alone we had 474 views and 133 downloads.”
Last, but not least, today we were informed by the review committee that our submission, ‘Workplace Harassment Faced by Female Nepali Migrants Working in Abroad’ has been accepted by the CESLAM (Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility) Kathmandu Migration Conference 2020.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Congratulations to Dr. Pratik Adhikary on the fifth (and final paper) from his PhD in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences. This latest paper ‘Support networks in the Middle East & Malaysia: A qualitative study of Nepali returnee migrants’ experiences’ was recently published in the International Journal of Occupational Safety and Health .
This is one of the few studies focusing on the support networks of Nepali migrant worker in the Middle East and Malaysia. The previous four papers have focused more on living conditions and working conditions of migrant workers as well as occupational health and safety abroad [2-5].
For nearly a decade BU researchers have published widely about the hazards and risk of Nepali migrant workers in Asia and the Middle East [1-9]. Despite the fact that most migrant workers end up in semi-skilled and unskilled jobs in their host countries, only a minority report poor working environments. For example, in Pratik Adhikary’s PhD study in FHSS only just over a fifth of migrant workers reported that their work environment in the Middle East or Malaysia was poor or very poor . This relatively high level of satisfaction appears to seems contradict reports in local media on the risks associated with Nepali migrants working abroad, especially focusing on the football world cup in Qatar , official reports that many hundreds of bodies of dead Nepali migrants return home every year , and the fact that many of these Nepali migrant workers end up doing the jobs the local populations finds too dirty, dangerous and demeaning (colloquially referred to as 3D-jobs). Why do so many who travel abroad take to do risky, dirty and otherwise undesirable jobs, but still assess their working environment as not too bad?More theoretical papers on the drivers of migration have referred to many interconnected factors and links [11-12]. Local drivers in Nepal include poverty, lack of employment opportunities, having a history of work-related migration, a growing culture of migration (i.e. it becomes more or less an expectation) and many more. One local element that is perhaps too easily ignored is that many Nepali migrant workers would have ended up in dirty, dangerous and demeaning jobs at home too. And the risk, on for example building sites in Nepal might be even greater than that in Qatar or elsewhere in the Middle East as some of the photos below illustrate. These photos of an accident involving an external building lift were taken today on a building site in Kathmandu.
Yesterday saw the latest publication based on Bournemouth University (BU) migration research. The international journal BMC Public Health published our quantitative paper ‘Psychological morbidity in Nepali cross-border migrants in India: a community based cross-sectional study’ . This scientific article highlights that since Nepali migrants can freely cross the border with India and hence work and stay there, they are largely undocumented. The majority of these Nepali migrant workers is involved in semi-skilled or unskilled jobs with limited labour rights and social security, which predisposes them to psychological distress. The paper assessed the prevalence of and factors associated with psychological morbidity among Nepali migrants upon their return from India.
Just a few days ago the UN Migration Agency in Nepal IOM (International Organization for Migration) published ‘Research on the Health Vulnerabilities of the Cross-Border Migrants from Nepal‘, an online report to which BU academics (Aryal, Regmi & van Teijlingen) had contributed . Just recently we had published the qualitative sister paper on Nepali migrants working and living in India. . Whilst Dr. Nirmal Aryal was the lead author on a paper highlighting the need for more research specifically focusing on adolescents left behind by migrant workers . Earlier this year BU PhD graduate Dr. Pratik Adhikary published his latest paper from his thesis, the paper is called ‘Workplace accidents among Nepali male workers in the Middle East and Malaysia: A qualitative study’ and was published in the Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health .
Last year was also a very good year for BU migration research, including a systematic review on sex trafficking (perhaps the worst kind of migrant workers) , an earlier research paper by Dr. Adhikary with his PhD supervisors , and one paper on Nepali female migrants workers in the Middle-East & Malaysia . Earlier BU academics published on general health issues and accidents among Nepali migrant workers in Malaysia, Qatar & Saudi Arabia [9-10], Nepali migrants in the UK [11-12] , other papers included: a call for action on Public Health ; a systematic review ; a paper on migrant workers’ spouses ; migrant health workers in the UK [16-17]; migration and tourism industry [18-20]; migrants and space in Italy [21-22]; an anthropological perspective on migration ; a media studies’ perspective ; and archaeological perspective ; and a socio-economic perspective . No doubt there are several other publications I have forgotten or I am simply unaware missed in this list.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health
This month’s fieldtrip to Nepal has a rather confusing element, namely the two separate organisations the BU team is working with have the same abbreviation. Not only that, each organisation/abbreviation is equally well known in its own field. Dr. Bibha Simkhada, Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen and FHSS’s Visiting Professor Padam Simkhada are here in Kathmandu to work with IOM (Institute of Medicine) Maharajgunj Nursing Campus. It is the pioneer school of nursing in the country and part of Nepal’s oldest university, Tribhuvan University. This collaboration involves studying issues around CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in Nursing in Nepal, and also includes BU’s Dr. Ian Donaldson and Dr. Catherine Angell.
The second research meeting next week or early August in Kathmandu is between BU’s Dr. Pramod Regmi, Prof. Padam Simkhada and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen on the issue of health and migration with IOM (International Organisation of Migration). IOM, as a United Nations’ agency, is the leading international organization for migration. This health of migrants’ project also involves BU’s Dr. Nirmal Aryal and Dr. Preeti Mahato.
Sometimes it is all a little bit confusing. Perhaps as well that we don’t have a collaborator from the IOM (Isle of Man).
Congratulations to Dr. Nirmal Aryal in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences has been selected to participate in an international workshop targeting early career researchers (ECRs) on ‘Engendering research and reframing policy debate on migration & health and intersectional rights’ to be held in Kathmandu (Nepal) from 25th to 28th April 2019.
This workshop is jointly organized by several universities in the UK, India as well as the International Organisation for Migration, as well as the Migration Health and Development Research Initiative(MHADRI). There will be 18 ECRs from South Asia and South East Asia and Nirmal is one for the six from the UK. The organizers will fund flight to and accommodation in Nepal.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
We expect that Philip Augar will publish the report of his independent panel shortly. The Panel is advising the Department for Education on the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding and the Augar report has been badged by the DfE as an “interim” report. Although the Augar report will no doubt grab headlines, after much speculation and many alleged leaks over the last few months, it is only an interim report, and we will need to see what the DfE’s final report says. The Review itself was originally expected to report in March 2019- but may be delayed for other priorities. The government is expected to consult before implementing any changes, and had previously announced that any significant changes would take at least two years to implement.
Sadly both your resident policy wonks will be out of circulation next week but you can expect a bumper edition including the reaction from across the sector when we return.
You’ll find a link to the report here when it is published.
So another string of meaningless votes this week – the next voting the fun will apparently take place in the last week of February. Having had their half term holiday cancelled next week the focus in Parliament will be on the secondary legislation required for Brexit rather than on the deal itself. The BBC has this useful explainer on the timing of all of this
The Lords European Union Committee has published their inquiry report on Brexit: the Erasmus and Horizon Programmes. You will recall that the government have confirmed that in a no deal scenario there is no back up plan for Erasmus, and that while students and staff already receiving funding will be protected, there is likely to be a gap before any new arrangements can be finalised.
The conclusions are set out below:
From Dods: Universities UK have called on the Government to lower the proposed salary requirement for EEA workers to obtain a high-skilled visa to £21,000. Giving evidence at the Public Bill Committee on the Immigration Bill, this lays out for the first time the university sector’s specific feedback on the Migration Advisory Committee’s proposals.
Vivienne Stern, Director of UUKi, said: “While we recognise that migration checks and controls are necessary, they must not be at the cost of losing talent and leaving ourselves with a skills shortage at a time when focusing on productivity and growth is more important than ever. The Home Secretary himself has given our sector as an example of one where the higher threshold could be harmful. If the government works towards a threshold of £21,000, we feel this would allow recruitment for most technician and language assistant roles in the HE sector.”
Also from Dods: Migration Watch UK have published a paper arguing that, total net migration to the UK would increase by just over half to about 380,000/year if the proposals in the white paper become the basis of the future immigration system.
From Dods: The UPP Foundation has published a report on strengthening the connection between universities and their places. This argues that the industrial strategy and devolution agenda have presented an opening for universities to pursue a more place based approach.
Lord Kerslake said: The importance of this civic role is also growing. As the United Kingdom grapples with the challenges of low growth, low productivity, the impact of austerity and widening spatial inequalities, universities can be (alongside local authorities and the heath sector), significant ‘anchor institutions’, able to make an enormous impact on the success of their places.
There was a debate in the House of Commons on 12th February on the financial sustainability of the sector. Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner asked the Minister to make an urgent statement on the financial statement of universities in the UK. You can read the whole debate on Hansard here
Responding for the Department of Education, Universities Minister Chris Skidmore expressed concern but said: “This Government recognises the importance of the higher education sector and the massive contribution it makes to this country. We recognise the multiple challenges the sector is facing and that these will require institutions to adapt to a more competitive and uncertain environment […] But ultimately, as autonomous bodies, the financial viability of universities is a matter for the leadership of the HE providers themselves.”
Angela Rayner asked:
And the Minister responded: Ultimately, these are autonomous bodies and leaders of HE providers are responsible for ensuring their institutions’ financial viability. They are not part of the public sector; they are autonomous institutions. During the passage of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017, a key point voted on by Labour Members was that universities would remain independent and autonomous. The OfS will therefore work closely with providers in financial difficulty, but neither the OfS nor the Department for Education will prop up failing providers. The OfS may enhance its monitoring or impose a specific condition of registration, requiring a provider to improve its financial performance, but we need providers at risk of any financial difficulties to come forward, so that we and the OfS can work with them on improving those registration conditions, which may require a provider to strengthen its student protection plan.
When asked about student number caps, the Minister said: I am proud to be a member of the Government who reduced the student number cap between 2012 and 2015, and eventually abolished it in 2016, allowing a record number of students to access higher education. We know that, going into the 2020s, we will need a knowledge-based economy, so it is right that we allow more people the opportunity to succeed in their ambition to achieve a degree. Abolishing student finance by looking at fee levels would simply give away a fee freeze to the children of millionaires while capping the number of students who could attend university.
When asked about international student recruitment, the Minister said: When it comes to international students, the Government are absolutely determined to press forward and look internationally at what we can do. Our universities are world-class and world-leading organisations. We have had roughly 460,000 applications from the EU and internationally this year—the highest level of applications ever seen. We will be publishing an international education strategy in the spring. We are clear that we have removed the cap on international student numbers, and we want to do more to ensure that we can increase our ability to compete not just nationally but internationally with other countries that also recognise the value of higher education at the international level.
NEON have published a report about white working class participation. Dr. Graeme Atherton, Director of NEON and co-author of the report states:
From the report:
Dr Graeme Atherton writes on Research Professional here
And in a related story, The Bridge Group have published a report on geographical isolation and progression to Higher Education. This argues that,
Professor Danny Dorling (University of Oxford and author of report Foreword): The recommendations in this report will help to initiate the changes required to begin to mitigate some of the worst effects of the opportunity landscape we have created.
Dr Sarah Dauncey (Head of Policy, Bridge Group and lead author of the report): “This report gathers together an array of perspectives and data to identify the barriers to progression faced by young people experiencing financial hardship who live in remote areas. We give voice to the needs and interests of this group of young people who have been overlooked by policymakers, and establish implementable solutions to transform their educational outcomes.”
There is a long list of recommendations but some are here
From Dods: The DfE and Institute for Apprenticeships have awarded Pearson and NCFE contracts to deliver the first three T-levels from 2020.
Around 50 further education and post-16 providers will teach these T Level programmes from September 2020.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: This is a major step forward in our work to upgrade technical education in this country. T Levels are a once in a generation opportunity to create high-quality technical education courses on a par with the best in the world, so that young people gain the skills and experience they need to secure a good job, an apprenticeship or progress into further training.
Lord Sainsbury, Chair of the Independent Panel on Technical Education, said: I am delighted that we have reached this milestone in the roll-out of the T Levels programme. With the first schools and colleges to offer T Levels in 2020 well advanced in their preparations, and now confirmation of these initial awarding organisations, I am confident that we remain on track to deliver the transformation to technical education that this country so desperately needs
To support the further education sector to deliver the new T Level programmes, the government will provide an additional half a billion pounds every year once they are all fully rolled out.
Chair of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon MP, delivered a speech focussing on creating, “an education and training system that genuinely nurtures the talent we need for the future and creates a ladder of opportunity long and strong enough for each and every young person to climb”.
The speech was delivered at The Edge Foundation on 11th February 2019 and you can read more here
There’s a BBC story about it here
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