English educators share the concerns of their U.S., counterparts about native students being outstripped by foreign students in STEM subjects, the British publication Times Higher Education (THE) reported Thursday.
“The falling proportion of English students on postgraduate science courses could threaten the viability of entire disciplines, according to England’s funding body, with science groups warning that the trend may damage the economy,” the paper said.
THE said that a report from the Higher Education Funding Council for England shows that the growth in international students taking up postgraduate places in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects is far outstripping that among their UK counterparts.
The statistics, which THE said were published in a report titled “Strategically Important and Vulnerable Subjects” and presented at Hefce’s last board meeting in July, reveal that the number of international students studying taught postgraduate STEM courses has almost doubled in eight years. For what the British call “home” students, the rise was just 1 percent.
In mechanical engineering, international student numbers grew from 22 percent of the total studying population in 2002-03 to 54 percent in 2009-10, THE reported.
The numbers of postgraduate research students in STEM courses followed a similar trend. There was a 23 percent increase in the international student population between 2002-03 and 2009-10, while the number of home students fell by 2 percent.
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