Following on from the general election last Thursday, the period of Purdah has come to an end and the routine of government has re-started. This includes the publication of a whole swath of education statistics.
One set of statistics published during Purdah was the annual update on the United Kingdom’s annual revenue from education related exports and transnational education activity. Post Breixt, this part of the service sector is going to continue to be an important part of our economy. The data published related to the calendar year 2017, so almost two years ago. The statistics can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-revenue-from-education-related-exports-and-tne-activity-2017
As in the past, the higher education sector dominates the data, accounting for two thirds of the revenue. Changes at the overall percentage level tend to be slow, but it is clear that the further education sector now contributes little by way of expert revenue, recorded in these statistics as accounting for just one per cent of revenue. In, 2010, it accounted for six per cent. After the issue of bogus college that harmed this sector, there does seem to be room to explore whether there might new avenues of export generated revenue around the area of teaching and learning in the skills sector that could be led by the further education sector.
English Language training has been the other sector in decline in terms of export revenue; down from 14% of revenue in 2010 to 7% in 2017. In cash terms this is a decline from £2,230 to £1,570 (both to the nearest £10 million). However, there has been continued limited growth in this sector from transnational revenue earned overseas.
The independent school sector in the United Kingdom has increased its revenue, as has these schools contribution to transnational education. This is presumably due to the number of overseas campuses now in operation by schools. However, this sector only contributes some five per cent to total revenue. Even so, this is five per cent that might have disappeared has the outcome of the general election been different.
Amongst education products and services, growth between 2016 and 2107 was steady, with equipment sales showing the strongest growth year on year, and a 20% growth over two years.
In terms of higher education, the bulk of fee income originates from students arriving from outside the EU, so this should not be at risk after the United Kingdom exists the EU in 2020. Whether EU income changes as a result of our exiting the EU won’t be obvious in this dataset until probably 2022 or even 2025 when existing EU students have completed their courses. However, any changes in research funding will most likely become apparent much sooner. In these figures, research income is not differentiated between EU and non-EU sources, so it is not possible to calculate the likely outcomes from the UK’s departure from the EU.
Education is an important and growing part of the United Kingdom’s expert drive, and I am sure that the new government will recognise this fact and want to ensure that as much as possible of the growth is directed to areas away from London towards parts of the United Kingdom that can benefit from this economic activity in their localities. Perhaps there should now be a Minister for Education Trade in the new government?