Academics self-censoring to avoid offending overseas students, according to new study

There are now more students applying to British universities from China than there are from Wales

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According to a new report, academics in British universities are self-censoring to avoid causing offence to students from authoritarian countries.

Two thirds of academics said they felt the principle of free enquiry was under threat in tertiary education.

More than two fifths also felt that this was true regarding the freedom to select teaching content.

Academics from Oxford, Exeter and Portsmouth universities made up some of the 1500 faculty members surveyed.

There are now more students from China applying to British universities than there are Welsh students.

This year alone the number of students from China has quadrupled from just under 7,000 to 28,930.

Almost twenty-five per cent of respondents to the survey said that the nationality of their students did constrain the content of their classes.

A seventh of the staff surveyed said they had even self-censored when reporting fieldwork, however seventy-five per cent said they hadn't.

The Times reported that Dr Tena Prelec, from the University of Oxford, who conducted the research, said: "Concern among academics in politics and international relations could be higher because they are more exposed to sensitivities when teaching students from and conducting research in autocracies.

"Alongside business and law, these departments have often expanded most rapidly for domestic and international students, perhaps creating an impression among staff that market demand trumps the maintenance of standards and academic freedom."