While completely ‘disagreeing’ with the UK’s stringent immigration policy, the University of Cambridge vice-chancellor Leszek Borysiewicz on Friday maintained that there was urgent need to liberalise immigration regime to attract best of international students and academicians in to the UK.
Speaking to Hindustan Times on the sidelines of the Lovely Professional University’s convocation in Jalandhar, Borysiewicz, accompanied by Ashok Mittal, LPU chancellor, said the rules surrounding UK border controls kept on changing and were lacking flexibility.
“The UK is being seen by our prospective students abroad as unwelcoming while recruitment to academic posts in a highly competitive market could also be damaged by a similar perception. The best option for such aspirants will simply to go elsewhere. A xenophobic reputation once gained is difficult to dispel,” Borysiewicz, who was on his maiden Punjab visit, added.
On imposing ban on London Metropolitan University to sponsor international students, Borysiewicz said that they had taken robust stand against this decision. “This will discourage the genuine students to acquire qualifications in UK,” he said. A large number of Indian students were affected by the ban and they were now given 60 days time to seek admission in other educational institutions else face removal from the UK.
“We seek to maintain the highest international reputation for university’s teaching and research. It needs to recruit both students and staff from overseas in order to sustain and enhance that reputation. The flow of international students through the University also provides a key element of its funding. More important, however, is the flow of ideas, the creation of networks and the spread of academic influence, which have had an incalculable value to Cambridge and to the United Kingdom,” he added.
He said that the University of Cambridge was keen to collaborate with individuals, academicians and investigators in Punjab in different research fields. “Punjab’s visit is really a fact finding opportunity for me while food security, water shortage, energy and life sciences are the key areas of prospective partnerships. We don’t have policy of opening overseas campuses,” he quipped. “We are, however, already working jointly on stem cell research in Bangalore and on nano sciences project in Mumbai,” he quipped, adding that he was scheduled to visit Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai before leaving back for the UK.
He said that engineering and medical sciences were most sought after streams in India. “At Cambridge, 50% students pursue humanities and arts. It is as much important and exceptional part of the education system. There is need to work upon humanities in India as well since such researches help the investigators to better understand society, thus, in turn makes life worth living,” he said.