A survey by the British Council has revealed that Britain came out as the top destination for people who are thinking about studying overseas.
The survey, which interviewed more than 1,200 parents and students from 24 local and international schools in the city in 2016, found that Britain was their top study destination when considering value for money, employment outcomes, environment for international students, and academic quality. Forty-four per cent of student visas issued to Hongkongers in 2015 were for Britain. Australia, the United States and Canada each accounted for 30, 16 and 10 per cent of visas, respectively.
Steve Corry, the head of Education Marketing Services at the British Council, explained that most people chose Britain because the academic quality of its institutions is widely recognised.
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“Britain has long been regarded as the ideal study abroad destination by Hong Kong families ... In 2017, we expect that this strong demand for quality UK education will continue,” he said.
West Island School higher education adviser Ellie Tang told Young Post that people are attracted to Britain as an overseas study destination because British higher education institutions have a reputation for delivering top-tier education.
“Studying in the UK also offers a good opportunity [for students] to improve their English language skills. The British institutions and campuses are also famous for offering safe, culturally diverse and harmonious environments,” said Tang.
Hok Yau Club Student Guidance Centre director Ng Po-shing said that historical reasons are a major factor when people make their choices for countries in which to study overseas. He said that civil servants in Hong Kong have a long history of sending their children to study in Britain. After graduating and coming back, they then tell others how good the education system in Britain is.
“Most legal and medical systems in the city have originated from Britain. Many employers academically and professionally recognise the [quality of] British graduates,” Ng said.
Tang added one of the major considerations for studying overseas should be the content of the course itself.
“If a course doesn’t meet a student’s expectations, it’s a waste of their time.” Another thing that is appealing to parents, Tang said, is the depreciation of the pound.
According to the British Council, most Britain-bound students surveyed expressed interests in subjects like business and administrative studies, computer and mathematical science, health and medicine, engineering and technology, and creative arts and design.