Trends exerting impact on the Higher Education Sector in the UK


The higher education sector in the United Kingdom is going through a period of significant transformation. This is mainly driven by various factors: political, economic, and technological. The observed trends and developments are global in their scope and profound in their impact. The Higher Education in the UK continues to encounter significant challenges that call for review of operations, product portfolios, and profitability. The changes that we can observe during the COVID 19 pandemic are also expected to change the face of the higher education sector in the UK. The current post takes a closer look at the observed trends that are shaping the future of the higher education sector.

Blended Learning

The report from the Minerva Project explains how the transformations that we can observe during the COVID 19 times might exert an impact on higher education. The higher education segment would combine a mix of in-person, campus-based programs, experimental teaching and instruction, and the elasticity of both synchronous as well as the asynchronous process of virtual learning. A typical model in which learners stay together on campus, however still participate in virtual classrooms, would lend itself to a more agile, and resilient structure in the upcoming period. Historically, higher education institutions have a physical campus, university precincts, and at a high cost. In case if the cost of operating universities were comparatively lower, then that case it could direct towards more flexible tuition fees for learners.

Endowment in student-oriented learning outcomes

Poor teaching standards cannot necessarily be improved by technology; rather it can become worse by digital interferences. Therefore, institutions need to improve the learning outcomes of students, by updating and modernizing their curriculum and pedagogical applications.

In this regard, technological solutions can certainly help in this process. For instance, digital learning platforms can enumerate talk time for every student and this can permit assessors to analyse the rate of participation accurately and identify new ways to improve the process.

Increase in public-private partnerships (PPP)

Government authorities, the private sector, and higher education institutions would create learning environments that extend beyond the conventional university precincts and one or two-year courses. The alternative PPP education models are expected to be relatively more efficient in terms of cost of delivery and efficiency in achieving learning outcomes. A PPP characteristically goes together with financial sponsorship along with industry alignment. This directs towards a decrease in course overhead costs and improved outcomes for students as a result of stronger association with industry.

An example of this is the Hong Kong-based forum referred to as read This is a group of more than 60 educational establishments, editors, issuers, mass media, and industry professionals. It offers over 900 free instructive assets, counting videos, books, tools for assessment, and counselling facilities.

Rise of consumerism

With the launch of data on Longitudinal Education Outcomes (abbreviated as LEO), the government authorities have directly associated the employment and income outcomes of graduates and former students with their undergraduate degrees and the higher education organization that they join. This is expected to strengthen an increasing perception of consumer entitlement among students, as they would be able to quantify the benefits gained or lost through the selection of their degree.

Decrease in profitability margins

Gradually, the higher education segment is thriving to uphold profitability margins. Pricing caps of government stop universities from correcting course bills to accommodate price rises. This is aggravated by increasing consumer expectations, which call for educational campuses to have advanced facilities to stay competitive. On account of amplified fixed costs, campuses are looking to cut variable costs. This is leading towards increasing fraction of part-time staff members, influencing on how desirable universities are considered to be as businesses.

Growing competition

Along with amassing a huge student loan upon completion of the degree, approximately 5.2% of graduates find it difficult to find a graduate role. Consequently, a degree apprenticeship, instead of the conventional higher education path, might become a comparatively more attractive choice for learners. They will not only be able to accomplish their degree of degree apprenticeship without incurring any debt, but also they will be able to earn while studying and have a higher chance of getting employed upon completion.

From the year 217, companies with a pay bill above £3 million every year will have to contribute to the apprenticeship charge. Essentially, this is also expected to inspire employers to take part in apprenticeship programs to gain an optimum return from their investment. As apprenticeships become more and more significant, in-house institutes presently dependent on universities for recording degrees might prefer to become universities to enable them to recognize their learners.


The effect that Brexit is expected to have on the higher education sector in the UK is still unknown. Higher education institutions have started to categorize the section of their workers on visas, to ascertain the influence that Brexit might have on their workers.

The effect that Brexit can exert on research funding is also not clear. English academies have started to investigate the opportunity of opening university grounds offshore to maintain research funding.

Straightway after the Brexit, applications from EU students decreased for UK courses, nevertheless, the decreasing value of the pound may make extremely priced qualifications, for example, MBAs, comparatively more luring to international students which in turn might direct towards a rise in demand for MBA courses in the UK universities.

The Industrial Strategy of the government pays attention to offset some of the possible hitches of Brexit with a more practical approach to industrial expansion and development in the UK. The linked policy reform in this segment might deliver opportunities for providers of higher education to evaluate and readjust their offering to the sectors with the maximum growth prospective. They might also work together with businesses to develop an extensive range of vocational paths from learning to employment. Therefore, it can be said that the higher education segment is encountering a period of significant reform in response to important societal transformation.


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