Postgrad-taught students in UK happier than UK residents?

01 Dec 2023

A new postgraduate report has shown that one in 10 overseas post-grad-taught students are more positive than students who are residents in the UK. This is according to the annual Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) by Advance HE, which involved more than 84,000 respondents from 101 higher education institutions.

In terms of varying categories, such as teaching, resources, engagement, assessment and organisation, the satisfaction of non-EU domiciled students was higher in each category. Regarding resources, for example, UK students reported 87% satisfaction, whereas non-EU students reported 93%. In the teaching, engagement, assessment and organisation sections, the UK gained a score of 82%, 79%, 77% and 71%, respectively, compared to the EU with a respective 87%, 85%, 82% and 82% score, reports The PIE News.

“Why the experience of postgraduate-taught students (PGTs) from India and Pakistan in particular should have shifted through this period of expansion is not clear from the data in PTES,” the report states. “One indication is that overseas students tend to express negative views less in their comments… some appear less likely than UK PGTs to criticise when things don’t go so well,” according to Jason Leman, the report’s author and survey executive at Advance HE.

Positives

One of the main positives referenced by overseas post-grad students was the way in which the teaching experience in the UK boosted their satisfaction level, which, according to the report, shows “the successful expansion of taught postgraduate study for these students across UK higher education.” Furthermore, the report talked about diversity in the classroom, which could be “particularly important to overseas PGTs studying in the UK,” according to one student, who added: “I was assigned to a group of British, Indian and Chinese people to explore problems and consider solutions together. I think this not only increased my understanding … but also taught me how to better communicate.”

Promising figures show sector is adapting

The positive figures for overseas postgraduate students detailed in this report signal that the sector is evolving to meet expectations. “There are also indications that expansion has delivered provision that has met the needs… of international students looking for a diverse and global postgraduate experience – just by being in the UK, they are getting an added benefit,” the report’s author added. “Other research indicates a similar picture may well be found for UK PGTs who study abroad.”