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Traditional values

British universities should redouble their efforts to recruit from India.

China is achingly fashionable. British politicians seem enamoured with courting the Chinese. One moment they are cutting deals on delivering nuclear capacity, the next they are talking about building a high-speed rail network. But another emerging economy—India—is being neglected in the rush to recruit Chinese students to British universities.

The importance of encouraging foreign students to study in the UK should not be underestimated. Higher education is the UK’s eighth biggest export industry, valued at £17.5 billion. Yet although the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show a welcome 3 per cent rise in study visas overall, they mask a worrying decline in interest from the UK’s traditional markets. Some 4,685 more visas were issued to Chinese students in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year, an increase of 8 per cent. However 4,340 fewer Indian students were granted study visas over the same period, a drop of 24 per cent.

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