Special Reports

Brexit To Have Negative Effect On U.K. Universities, Experts Warn


University experts have warned the Members of Parliament over the damaging effects that a "hard Brexit" could have over the U.K.'s best industries. This, they predict, will happen through its impact on education.

Times Higher Education reported that Brexit could lead to the "biggest disaster for the university sector in many years." An evidence session at Pembroke College, Oxford on Jan. 11 was held by the House of Commons Education Committee.

The event was focused on a discussion about the impact of the nation's exit from the European Union on higher education. Neil Carmichael, the Conservative chair of the committee, opened the talk with a question to the witness panel on what the implications on higher education of a "hard Brexit," which is defined as an exit from a single market and end to free movement.

University of Oxford's head of Brexit strategy Alastair Buchan said that Brexit would lead to high risks of damage on one of the nation's best industries. He described this industry as the "knowledge-based economy" in the country.

John Latham, vice-chancellor of Coventry University, also implied that this would change the way people would view the U.K. University of Cambridge's EU Law professor, Catherine Barnard, explained that Brexit would turn the lives of EU higher education staff in the nation upside down.

Moreover, the exit would most likely lead to the cutting off of the flow of excellent people to Britain. As Oxford Brookes University's vice-chancellor, Alistair Fitt, phrased it: this may be the "biggest disaster for the university sector" in recent years.

According to The Guardian, Professor Buchan added that the Brexit would mean giving up on 500 to 950 years of exchange. He warned that the government should be cautious about the type of exit they want to achieve.

He also explained how they have been leading as universities in the past decades and reminded the committee on how they weren't as influential when they joined the EU. He noted that losing that power would be like "shooting ourselves in the foot."

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