Studying in the United Kingdom has many implications as a result there are sets rules know as the Immigration Rules implemented by the Government body called the UK Border Agency.
They are responsible for securing the United Kingdom borders and controlling immigration in the United Kingdom. They manage border control for the United Kingdom, enforcing immigration and customs regulations, they also consider application for permission to enter or stay in the United Kingdom, Citizenship and Asylum.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
My name is Pa Modou Njie, a student studying in the United Kingdom for postgraduate MSc Finance and Business Management degree at the University of Bedfordshire - Luton
This report is for Mr Saihou Sonko of TAF TAF Enterprise Study Abroad, in The Gambia, West Africa.
The report detailed information about the criteria needed to study in the United Kingdom and PESTEL format was used in analysing the report.
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Saihou Sonko is the Chief Executive of TAF TAF Enterprise Study Abroad. His business is to find Universities and Colleges for students in The Gambia who want to further their education in the United Kingdom.
The organisation in interested to know what is needed and the implication of assisting student pursuing further course of study in a safe environment in accordance with rules and regulation in the United Kingdom.
I was consulted by the organisation to do the briefing for them because of my experience being a student in the United Kingdom and because I come from The Gambia, I will be in a better position to give them good ideas and information about the process and the cultural implication in accordance with rules and regulations in the United Kingdom.
OVER VIEW OF THE SITUATION
Studying in the United Kingdom will be very challenging for students from The Gambia as result of cultural differences and the type of educational system, however, it can be an enriching and eye-opening experience as UK learning extends to the outside environment beyond the classroom.
It will take some time for the student to understand or comprehend the in-depth knowledge or understanding of the British culture, customs, people and language (different accent).
The British culture is more Individualistic because of increased economic development and the colder climate which tends to contribute as stated by Geert Hofstede's theory of culture, and The Gambian culture is more of collectivism which tends to be group oriented, people living in an extended family system.
TAF TAF Enterprise Study Abroad, have to assess the students on their academic, personal preparation and objectives on programmes that will help them to achieve their personal and academic goals of the study and as well as their long range career plan.
United Kingdom educational standard and programme is well recognised and respected throughout the whole world, and this makes it a challenge for any person who is prepared to come and study here.
There are various academic aspects to check and make sure the person is able to earn the maximum academic qualification as he/she what and where to study because no one, want to discover upon returning home that their qualification or achievement whilst studied abroad are not recommended or accepted.
There are sets of rules and regulation to follow before obtaining visa to come to the United Kingdom and these set of rules and regulations are carried out by a government body called the UK Border Agency under the Home Office department.
According to the UK Border Agency (www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk), the following are the criteria for students wanting to further their education the United Kingdom:-
What are the acceptable levels of course that can be study as a student?
You can get a visa letter for courses that lead to an approved qualification and are:
- Approved at a level 3 or above on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF);
- Approved at the same level in the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF)
- Approved at the same level by the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC)
- Approved at the same level by the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in Northern Ireland;
- Are short-term study abroad programme in the United Kingdom as part of your qualification at an overseas higher education institution, as long as the qualification is confirmed as the same as the United Kingdom degree level by the NARIC.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
As a student, you must be doing full-time study in the United Kingdom on either:
- A full-time course of study that leads to a United Kingdom recognised bachelor or postgraduate degree; or
- An overseas higher education course which is recognised as being equivalent to a United Kingdom higher education qualification at an overseas higher education institution.
- A course of study below United Kingdom degree level that involves a minimum of 15 hours per week organised daytime study (daytime study is 8am - 6pm, Monday to Friday).
English language course
You can come to the United Kingdom to study an English language course. The minimum level of study is set at Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR) level A2.
Higher education course at overseas institution
If you are enrolled on a higher education course at overseas higher education institution, you can do a short-term study abroad programme in the United Kingdom as part of your qualification.
This is as long as the qualification is validated as the same level or above as a United Kingdom degree by NARIC. You can find contact detail for UK NARIC on their website at http://:www.naric.org.uk/.
Postgraduate doctor and dentists
You are allowed to do a recognised Foundation Programme as postgraduate doctor or dentist in the United Kingdom in the student category as long as you meet all the requirements for the category.
There are also some additional requirements you must meet. These are as follows:
You must have successfully completed a recognised United Kingdom degree in medicine or dentistry from:
- An approved education provider who has a license to bring in students; or
- A United Kingdom publicly funded institution of further or higher education; or
- An institution on the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) list of recognised bodies or listed bodies, which keeps satisfactory records of enrolment and attendance. These lists can be found at the DIUS website.
ANALYSIS OF THE SITUATION
This briefing is analysed by using the PESTEL Analysis to make decisions and strategic planning of the organisation and to understand the wider spectrum of the environment they operate.
PESTEL stands for POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, TECHNOLOGY, ENVIRONMENTAL and LEGALFactors.
PESTEL analysis is in affect and Audit of an organisation's environmental influences, with the purpose of using this information to guide strategic decision making. The assumption is that if the organisation is able to audit its current environment and assess potential changes, it will be in a better place than its competitors to respond to changes. (PESTEL Analysis - by CIPD - at www.cipd.co.uk).
1- POLITICAL FACTORS
1.1 - Studying in the United Kingdom has many implication with regard to the political environment as a result there set of rules implemented by UK Border Agency known as the immigration rules. The student must show some documentation to earn him\her points through the new system call the T4 point based system to qualify for an Entry Visa to the United Kingdom as a student beginning the 05th October 2009.
The student has to earn a total of 40 points by having:
v A place on a course with an approved educational provider - 30 points;
v Enough money at the time you submit your application to cover your course fee and monthly living cost - 10
1.2 - Students in the United Kingdom are allowed to work for 20 hours a week during term time and 40 hours a week during holidays. To be able to work, the student is to apply for a National Insurance number which is use to deduct national insurance contribution.
1.3 - The health system in the United Kingdom is universal and student studying on a course more than six months are allegeable for free health service by registering at a Surgery to have a General Practitioner (GP).
1.4 - There is restriction to student not engage in any form trading or business whilst studying on course in the United Kingdom.
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1.5 - The United Kingdom has a democratic Government with multi party system. Students are allowed to vote during elections if16 years over and as long as you come from a commonwealth Country. Voting is done by post or going the polling station.
2 - ECONOMIC FACTORS
2.1- As required by the immigration rules, student in the United Kingdom Should have enough money to cover for course fee and living maintenance, however, the student should be in position to provide at least one year tuition fee and other academic fees if the course is more than one year. This amount is between £4000 and £9000 depending on the institution.
2.2 - Cost of living maintenance is estimated at £800 per month for student studying in London and £600 per month for student out side London or else where in the country.
Some Universities and Colleges provide hostel accommodation at a reasonable price and it depends on the student to make his own decision. Students can rent a private room or house anywhere in town or can live with a private family at a low cost.
2.3 - The United Kingdom Government exempt students from paying council tax if they are rent a private house but there are is no recourse for public funds. No student allow for government benefits.
2.4 - The United Kingdom economy is recession period which led to the cost of living, housing and transportation cost increased. Students can apply for a Rail Card which earn them 1/3 reduction of train journey fares when travelling during off peak travel to any place in the country. Students also enjoy some discounts in certain supermarket or big shops by using the national student Identity Card.
2.5 - From October 2009, National minimum wages rates will be increased to:
£5.80 an hour for workers age 22yrs
£4.83 an hour for workers age 18yrs
£3.57 an hour for workers age 16 and 17yrs (www.direct.gov.uk)
Students can earn some money if they take up part time job 20 hours a week during term-time and 40 hours during holidays.
3 - SOCIAL FACTORS
3.1 - There is no substitute of another culture, customs people and language. Students will find studying in the United Kingdom can develop important transitional competencies that can be of interest in future employers after completing course.
3.2 - The social environment in the United Kingdom is diverse and has different type of ethnic group and nationality with their cultural heritage and language therefore will give the student personal growth and they being exposed to a new ways of thinking and living, which will encourage their growth independences.
3.3 - There are different type of religious practices in the United Kingdom and the dominant religion is Christianity. There are also Muslims in all part of the country and many Mosques to pray. Both Christian and Muslim student are free and will have access to any religious place to worship as at home.
3.4 - The spoken language in the United Kingdom is English though people can speak their own language anytime and anywhere they want to but not as official language, However students will have problem in their early days of understanding the language people speaks because of the different accent and the style at which it is spoken.
3.5 - The communication style in the United Kingdom is very formal. The use of letters and emails are common both in offices and at homes. People respect their area of boundary and they don't mind speaking to you in a very polite and respectable manner. So student can learn from it to be independences and have respect for others.
3.6 - There are lots of foreign goods and services in the United Kingdom because of its big economy and multi cultural environment. The food, clothing and services are brought by people and foreign companies making investments. Example Indian Chinese sell their traditional or cultural food. Majority of the British public have a positive attitude towards foreigners and they enjoy foreign food and buy foreign clothes and different type of other materials from all over the world. They are respect the universal human right of every person in the country.
4 - TECHNOLOGY FACTORS
4.1 - The United Kingdom technology is high standard and the technology is advancing daily because of people are very innovative.
Computers are highly used for businesses and homes so it will give students a good training and potential computer skills as Universities and Colleges offer courses and assist student with computer skill development as part of your programme of study. Classroom lectures are done with the computer and student do their assignments with the computer which can also enhanced the student computer skills and understanding.
4.2 - The internet is one the mechanism use for communication, work and learning. It will be beneficial to students to broaden their knowledge and to advance their educational activities in terms of research and course work.
Students are able to buy books online from bookshops and access other online markets for cheaper cost example Amazon and Ebay or use the Universities or Colleges invisible and digital library which has thousands of books and journal articles for their research and course work. Students use the Universities and Colleges internet services for emails, lectures material, information and communicate to lecturers or the administration.
4.3 - Transportation services is very good. Aeroplanes, Trains, Coaches, Bus and cars are use for public transportation within the country. The technology and safety to the transportation services is high standard. Most of the equipments are computerised. Commuters can buy tickets and can access travelling times online. Students can benefit from the easy access to travel different places in the country on discounted or low student fares.
4.4 - There is a tremendous development in the radio and television services which help the student to learn the English language example is BBC English language programme. It gives the student the opportunity to see the news and understand what happen around his\her environment and the World.
4.5 - Housing standard in the United Kingdom is very good because all building companies have comply with standards set by the government and the student can live safely comfortably without fear or any henderance.
5 - ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
5.1 - There set of legislations for health and safety in the United Kingdom enacted by the house of parliament called health and safety at work etc Act 1974 which is enforce through the country and people are train at work place, schools and homes. It is very useful to the student especially at the universities and colleges were signs and posters are on display everywhere. There are few main items to know example Fire alarm, Fire Exit, Emergency Dial Number 999, Fire assembly point and the warning signs and colours, Red (danger), Blue (mandatory), Yellow (warning) and Green ( fire exit and first aids). Students can benefit from these to live safely in their environment.
5.2 - There are Environmental regulation in the United Kingdom which changes from time to time called Environmental Regulations 2007. Students should adhere to these set rules and regulations. There are separate bins for recycling items like papers, plastic, glasses etc and normal bin for waste. People are not supposed to throw any litter on the street or urinate at a corner or small bushes. Street bins and public toilets are provided by the council in every borough in the country where you can put litters the public toilet if needed.
6 - LEGAL FACTORS
6.1 - The United Kingdom legal system is the basis of common laws, the legal system used in most commonwealth countries as also in The Gambia being a commonwealth nation, the students should be familiar with the laws and should adhere to them or face prosecution if they are broken.
6.2 - The United Kingdom set age limit to smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol therefore students or anybody under the age of 16 and 18 years cannot buy tobacco or any form of alcoholic drink. These are very strict laws and the students must adhere to it.
Smoking is ban in public places in other words, people cannot smoke at workplace. There special areas designated for smoking at their workplaces and if are having children at your house, you cannot smoke inside therefore should smoke out side of the house.
6.3 - It is illegal to bring all form of meat, fish, milk, and diary product and potatoes into the United Kingdom from countries outside the European Union in your luggage, and even for personal use. Limited quantities of some food products including fish, eggs and honey may be allowed from certain countries but you to declare these items to the Customs and Excise officials at the airport or seaport and if illegal, they will take it from you but will not put in trouble or to receive fines as far as you declare yourself. Student should be advised of these laws before travelling to United Kingdom.
There is also limited amount on cigarette and the amount is 200 sticks which is 10 packets.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
United kingdom educational standard is a well recognised and respected institution throughout the whole world. There are very high academic standard set for the educational programmes being monitored by an independent body.
The diversity, creativity, and the attractive environment provided by Universities and Colleges encourages students to achieve their potential educational esteem for a brighter future in their lifetime.
Universities and Colleges in the United Kingdom delivered courses which has to meet strict academic criteria to encourage and motivate their students to excel in their various subjects or course of study.
Universities and Colleges provides International offices, International student societies, planned social activities, academic support, counsellors and advisers to give students support throughout their course of studies in the United Kingdom.
The organisation has to carry out the following checked before approving any participation with any Universities or Colleges In the United Kingdom.
- The number of hours spent on lectures, lab, field etc.
- Check the University of College License number issued by the UK Border Agency and their Grading on the Sponsors of United Kingdom learning institutions;
- The course frame work or format;
- Information about the level of the course;
- The academic credentials of the teaching faculty
- Method of course assessment (examination, essay, project and reports;
- The grading system (Numerical scale or ABCDEFG);
- Who issues the student transcript;
- Is the programme offered by a United Kingdom accredited institution;
- How much credit can a student earned.