TIGA warns Government against funding reductions in higher education

February 23rd 2010

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, said today that Government cuts in higher education expenditure risked undermining one of the country’s key knowledge industries, with potentially negative consequences for the supply of graduates for employers. TIGA made the comments following a survey by the Financial Times of 21 universities which showed that cuts in Government funding for higher education could make it harder to recruit overseas students, which in turn would further reduce the resources available to universities. Fees for international non-EU students can be charged a market rate. Fees for UK and EU undergraduates are currently capped at£3,225 per annum (post-graduate fees are not capped).

Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:

“UK higher education constitutes one of our key knowledge industries. The UK is also second only to the USA in the market for overseas students. The net annual contribution to the UK’s national income made by international non EU students in higher education is£5.5 billion.

“The Financial Times survey of universities shows that reductions in Government support for higher education could erode the attraction of our universities in the eyes of overseas students. A decline in the UK’s market share for overseas students could exacerbate funding problems for our universities. If the UK is to be a leading knowledge economy and employers in the games industry and other sectors are to have opportunities to recruit a strong supply of skilled graduates then we must protect and eventually increase expenditure on higher education.”

Jason Kingsley, TIGA Chairman and CEO and Creative Director of Rebellion Studios, added:

“80 per cent of Rebellion Studio’s employees need to be qualified to degree level or the vocational equivalent. Like many other studios in the UK, we require a healthy supply of well educated, trainable graduates in subjects such as computer science, IT, mathematics, engineering, art and animation. Unless investment in higher education is maintained and ultimately increased, our industry will find it difficult to recruit good quality graduates.”

Notes to editors:

1. TIGA is the trade association representing the UK’s games industry. The majority of our members are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership.

2. TIGA's vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We focus on three sets of activities: political representation, generating media coverage and developing services that enhance the competitiveness of our members. This means that Tiga members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.

3. For information about the survey of 21 universities, see Goodfellow, Christopher and Turner, David,“Cuts threaten lifeline from foreign students”, Financial Times, February 20th / February 21st 2010.

For further information, please contact: Dr Richard Wilson, Tiga CEO on: 0845 0941095; Mob: 07875 939643; or Email: richard.wilson@tiga.org, or, Eva Whitlow, Tiga PR Manager on: 07814 039 983, or email eva@tiga.org.

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