UK Export Secretary on promotional tour of Thailand
Joining BETT Asia with a delegation of 12 UK companies, Fysh said the government wanted to “see more UK companies enter the global education market”.
“The UK education sector is one of the crown jewels of our services exports, and I am delighted to see so many UK businesses on display here at BETT Asia,” he said. .
“It’s through shows like BETT Asia that companies can really thrive and sell their services to the world. When more companies export, it generates jobs and growth for the economy.
The Department for International Trade hopes to help UK education exports reach £35 billion by 2030 – a key target of the country’s international education strategy. In 2019, education exports contributed £25.2 billion to the UK economy.
Opening the BETT Asia conference, Fysh said Britain “shares” a passion for education with Thailand and ASEAN nations.
“Let’s work together now to strengthen our ties in education and bring together a new generation of young people in the UK, Thailand and across ASEAN through the power of learning,” he said. to delegates.
As ASEAN’s new dialogue partner, the UK is “committed to deepening cooperation” in education, the minister said.
“We must work side by side with ASEAN countries to break down barriers to partnership in this area…leaving our schools, colleges and universities free to thrive in each other’s markets.”
Government-to-government engagement helps to make progress, he suggested.
He pointed to the Joint Economic and Trade Committee that the UK and Thailand formed in June – “which could be the first step towards a free trade agreement” – and the five-year action plan agreed with members of ASEAN in August as initiatives that could “help us unlock more of our common trade potential”.
He also pointed to the importance of the memorandums of understanding the UK has signed with Malaysia and Vietnam, and another to come with Thailand, which “provide a framework for trade-led growth”.
The minister’s trip comes shortly after the UK Home Secretary came under fire from UK stakeholders for his comments calling for fewer international students and their dependents to come to the UK.
“We welcome an ever-growing number of international students to our shores, with over 600,000 students in the UK currently,” said Fysh in Thailand.
Tens of thousands more are studying abroad for UK higher education qualifications, he added, suggesting that “the global pandemic has fueled student demand for education to be delivered in a click in their country of origin”.
Alongside Britain’s cross-border education arrangements, the “power of digital technology” will drive demand, he continued.
“UK edtech providers are ahead of the curve in this area”
“UK edtech providers are ahead of the curve in this area,” he said, “offering world-class expertise in areas such as artificial intelligence, mixed reality and immersive content. .. with the UK attracting around 40% of all European edtech investment.”
DIT is working with UK education providers to develop their presence in Asia, he added, highlighting Pearson’s successful support in securing a 2018 memorandum of understanding with Thailand’s Ministry of Education to recognize his BTEC qualifications in the Southeast Asian country.
Currently, only one in 10 UK businesses export, according to UK government statistics.
“I would like to invite more UK suppliers to follow Pearson’s lead and use our support to enter this dynamic market…and exploit the many other growth opportunities that are emerging here in Thailand and across Asia for those who have the ambition and determination to embrace them,” Fish concluded.