Mar 16, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

While Brexit negotiations still underway, its full impact is not yet known. However, European higher education entities are taking steps to be ready for what’s next. One initiative underway at universities, according to a recent report from The Independent? An increase in English-speaking courses to prepare for an influx of students seeking alternatives to UK schools. 

Students Looking Elsewhere

The number of English-taught programs at European universities has spiked by 13 percent over the past year, The Independent reveals. Additionally, offerings could further increase as institutions continued to prepare for anticipated demand from international students in the wake of Brexit. Leading the pack? Poland, where universities have ramped up English-speaking courses to twice the number they were just three years ago.

Said Gerrit Bruno Blöss, chief executive of Study.EU, “Compared to last year, there has been a noticeable increase of programmes offered in English. Universities on the continent are preparing for Brexit. They expect European students to seek alternatives to the UK in the coming years.”

Making the Case for the UK

Already, more than 2,300 academics from the UK have resigned amidst warnings of an impending “Brexodus.” However, others say that the same trend may not happen among the student population -- particularly given that UK stakeholders are working hard to make sure it doesn’t happen.

“Universities UK will continue to work with the UK government and officials in Brussels to secure an effective post-exit settlement for universities. This includes ensuring that international students and staff can continue to come to the UK to study and work, with minimal barriers,” said Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK.

The takeaway? While it may be early to say to what degree Brexit will impact inward-bound mobility to the UK, European universities are willing to take that risk with the introduction of additional English-language programming.  Continued Blöss, “With low unemployment and high GDP per capita, the opportunities for English-speaking graduates are currently much better than in most other European countries. However, Brexit might adversely affect some of the underlying metrics if the economy takes a hit. At the same time, Britain’s top rank in ‘Education’ is at risk if policy changes motivate talented academic staff to leave.”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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