Our exported education relies on our reputation

Shouvik Datta

The success of British schools abroad reflects the importance of the English language in global commerce, academia and life generally. It also testifies to the central role that Britain and the US have played in the world since the end of the Second World War.

The development of a standards inspection system by the Department for Education shows the growing importance of British schools abroad to the UK. However, this kind of educational export has its dangers. If British schools abroad serve a cosmopolitan, internationally connected business and professional elite, as you report, the question of their relationship to local societies and institutions becomes important.

In my experience as a native British teacher working abroad, a relatively privileged English-speaking community that is divorced from the indigenous society can create suspicion and hostility. In the longer term, this doesn't serve British interests. British schools should make adequate provision for their international and British pupils to learn the local language and culture, alongside British culture.

Shouvik Datta, Orpington, Kent.

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Shouvik Datta

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