British PM Cameron defends Post-Study-Work abolition: “imbibe the culture, leave with a love of Britain”

Karan Thapar grilled the British Prime Minister in Devil’s Advocate. The interview was highlighted due to the comments of the PM on Dow’s sponsorship of the Olympics. However there were some very interesting questions posed on education and indian students in UK and I am providing the excerpts of those bits here. The full interview can be found on link at the bottom of this blog.
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MY COMMENTS BEFORE YOU READ THE TRANSCRIPT BELOW: There  is one important flaw in the data presented by Thapar. The total number of students who went to US during last year from India is not 103,000 at all. That is the total number of Indians studying in USA at that time and is a cumulative figure. It is common for journalists to confuse the enrollment numbers with number of students going to a country. The actual number will be less than 50,000. AND if we compare the enrollment figures between the two countries, we need to bear in mind US will always have more enrollments even with the same numbers entering since the Masters in US is for double the duration and Bachelors in US is for 4 years as compared to 3 elsewhere. Hence the total number of students in the system will be higher. The actual difference between US and UK numbers in terms of fresh students during 2011 is only about 10,000 and the total number of fee paying students to UK is actually more than to US. Having made this point, the interview is interesting… Cameron answers the questions like a true politician and even when posed with the high US numbers as compared to UK numbers, he went on and gave his logic… If UK believes that International students want to come to Uk only to “imbibe the culture and then leave with a love for Britain”; they are sadly mistaken. They should be offered Post Study Work option too so that they can couple their education with some invaluable work experience and also earn back some of their investment. NOW THAT YOU HAVE READ MY COMMENTS, GO AHEAD AND ENJOY PRIME MINISTER CAMERON’S REPLIES TO THE SHARP QUESTIONING BY KARAN THAPAR. 
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Karan Thapar: Prime Minister let’s come to you government’s decision to commit a sharp increase in the University fees this autumn, along with the fact, that now it is going to be more difficult for overseas students to get jobs in the Britain, after they finish their studies. This is going to have an adverse impact on inflow of the Indian students coming to Britain. And in turn it is going to weaken one of the most critical bonds that have tied the two countries together. Does it worry you that you might be loosening the relationship just when you actually wanted to bring two countries closer together?
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David Cameron:No I don’t think it will have the adverse effect because there are two important facts we need to verify. The first is if you compare the last years with ten years ago, where ten years ago there were some 14000 Indian students coming to the Britain. Last year there some 39000 students, so it’s been a huge increase which we welcome to the Indian students coming to Britain. The second is, absolutely vital. We make it very clear offer to the students from India and all around the world, which if you can speak English and get a place in British University and you can come and have a visa for that place in University and as you graduate you will be able to work for a period in a graduate job. And I think that is incredible simple open and straight forward offer. Now it may be some people who previously travelled to do courses in facilities that aren’t really that highly regarded, in many cases, haven’t been proper educational courses, may be those people can’t come. But it’s actually a very big, open and generous offer to people who can speak English and who have (*) places and who really want to study and make a contribution.
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Karan Thapar: It is interesting that you should mention that last year, 39000 Indian students came to Britain because at the same time over 103,000 went to the US and that’s the real problem. A student that comes to England doesn’t simply get an education, he or she imbibes your culture and lifestyle, many of them turn to look upon England as a second home… You are losing that whole body of…
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David Cameron: Ofcourse, if you do the mathematics, America is five times in size, in population, five times the size of Britain and yet according to your figures only taking two thirds of your students.
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Karan Thapar: It’s two and half times more students.
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David Cameron: Well ok. We are fifth of the population of America and we are taking a third of the students. The key, I think, is actually not just the board numbers of the students, it’s quite clear to me that in Britain for too many years we have had a lot of bogus colleges, offering rather bogus courses to people who want to come to Britain, who mainly want to come to work than to study. What this government is doing, is making sense of the immigration system that has been a bit confused. We are very clear on the student part, we want those students to come but they should be students that are going to proper colleges to do proper courses and afterwards can work for a period as graduates. I think that is a very big and good offer which will further link Indian students and Britain and as you say not just study at our universities, but imbibe the culture, leave with a love of Britain, ‘I want to do business with Britain’, which is exactly I want.
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Karan Thapar: But you know it is very interesting you should say that they should leave with a love of Britain. Increasingly because the costs have gone up so phenomenally and remember the new university fees that are going to be almost 300 per cent higher than what they used to be, because of that increasingly, the Indians students are choosing to live in India, perhaps, enrolling in British educational institutions. They may end up getting British degree but their love and affection for the country simply won’t develop.
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David Cameron:I think you have to ask the question why we are charging the fees for British Universities? And the reason is we want our universities to be continue to be among the best in the world. And if you want great universities and great libraries, research institutes, and tutors. All the things which is in Cambridge, Oxford, London and Bristol on and other universities are still as good as anything is available in America. But if you want that, that costs money, now where is that money going to come from? Is it going to come from the tax payer who already has to fill a big hole with a big deficit and big debt or should we charge the successful graduates for the successful university education they receive. I think the other countries will look at what we are doing in British Universities fees will say actually that is the right way to ensure you have strong and growing universities in a very competitive world.
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Karan Thapar:Your logic is unimpeachable as far as the financing of the Universities goes but the fact is because you becoming so expensive in England, Indian students are going to America, where you get scholarships. You don’t get the same number of scholarships here and as a result, the logic is on your side but the emotional bond and attachment that got formed for generations, when Indians came to your country, is breaking down.
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David Cameron:Well we already have good scholarship programmes and I actually announced this week extra scholarships for Indian students as well which I have separately announced and I think there are lot of scholarships available. But the general point I would say to the Indian students watching this programme thinking of where to go to university, I would say ‘come to Britain’ because we have the world’s language and we have some of the best universities any where in the world and we have a scheme to make sure they are gonna go on being the best universities and of course you can go to less expensive universities in other parts of the world but you have to ask yourself, is the degree I am going to get at the end of that going to be as good as from a great British university, that now has a way of funding itself and making sure the quality is as high, as I am sure Indian students would…
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Karan Thapar: So in a nutshell what you are saying to Indian students is that, even if the costs go up, in some case it even goes up to 300 per cent, British universities remain the best, ‘pay that and come here because the education you get here is better then anywhere’. Is that the message you are giving?
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David Cameron: I am saying good quality costs money, we are being very upfront about how it should be paid. But if you pay that money, you get very good degree and that will stand you in good stead for rest of your life. And as you said, deepen the relationship between Britain and India.
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Karan Thapar:You are not worried at all that the economic cost of coming to England might actually over a period of time lessen the bonds that have knitted the countries together?
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David Cameron:Well I think the worst thing and this is normally what politicians do, is they stick their head in the sand, they don’t realise that universities are getting more expensive, they don’t think of a way of paying for it. They try to expand university education without finding the money for it and suddenly they will wake up one day and universities in France, in Germany and in other places in the world will have overtaken you. I am determined that is not gonna happen. So this government has taken the difficult decision to say we are going to charge students after they have left for the cost of that education. And I think as a result we would be holding our head up high in a few years because our universities will have a very high quality degree.
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Karan Thapar:And you hope that Indian students will recognise that and come even though it is going to cost them more?
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David Cameron: I think that Indian students know that quality costs money and they know that there are great universities in Britain and they know Britain is one of the most open and multiracial countries anywhere on earth. You will find people like others who come from every part of India along with the British people who give you a very very warm welcome.
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Karan Thapar:David Cameron, a pleasure talking to you.
David Cameron:Thank You.
Source: The above is only the relevant extract. The full transcript can be found on the CNN IBN website and on this link.

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