How to change everything so nothing changes.

A few weeks ago, we published in this blog  that the Anglo-Saxon Education Model leads the rankings about the quality of the university systems in many countries. In detail, the United Kingdom has four of its universities among the best ten in the world. And it should be assumed that the British want this will continue to be so in the future.

The universities capacity to attract foreign students is one of the main indicators to evaluate their quality. As well as have the best teachers and researchers, many of them from others countries. In this context, how will the Brexit affect to the arrivals of foreign students and teachers in the universities of United Kingdom?

During two years nothing is going to change. This is the estimated period calculated by the European authorities for the British Government invokes Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union and formalizes its final exit from the EU. The students who are still studying their graduate or postgraduate education in British universities may continue normally. Furthermore, teachers and researchers will be able to continue enjoying the free circulation of labour within the EU.

After this estimated period of two years, there is no certainty about this issue. Because, during this period, there will be a negotiation between the United Kingdom Government and the European institutions representatives about how the Brexit will be materialized and how the relations in all subjects will be among the EU and a country that will not belong to the European Union anymore.

One option, maybe very unlikely, is a complete rupture between United Kingdom and Europe. A consequence of this could be the obligation to request a working, studying or residence permission to work or study in their universities for foreign people, which it could causes an important competitive disadvantage for the British campuses with respect to other countries in the EU to attract foreign student or teachers. And this will have a negative influence in the quality and prestige indicators for their postsecondary education institutions.

It seems that the most likely option is a light Brexit, and possibly that is the most convenient situation for both parties. In the field of education, that could involve some kind of agreement so that the situation of the students and teachers of the EU countries does not change much.

Concerning to the Erasmus Programme, Spain sends every year 4.000 students to the United Kingdom universities (it is the fourth favourite destiny for the Spanish students) and receives about 3.500 students from the UK. Be a member of the European Union is not a requirement to be part of the Programme. In fact, Turkey, Iceland or Norway participate on it. Probably this could make easier that United Kingdom may continue sending and receiving students with a Erasmus Scholarship.

But all of these are assumptions. Until United Kingdom doesn’t leave definitely the European Union and then their government intentions will be known, it is not possible to make accurate conclusions about anything.

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