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The April press conference at Downing Street to promote attracting foreign students, writes Paul Keely, FE News Reporter, gave us an insight into Tony Blair's planned future educational schemes.

There he announced that the UK intends to form closer educational links with India in a partnership called the United Kingdom India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI). He also explained about the second phase of his Prime Minister's Initiative for International Education (PMI), which will include attracting up to 100,000 foreign students to study in the UK by forming closer links with colleges and universities overseas.

Already Undertaken

The first phase of the PMI had already been undertaken in 1999, when Tony Blair had set a target of a 75,000 increase in non-EU international students in Britain by 2005 and met it with ease. Both of these schemes are intended to keep the UK at the forefront of international education and to build strategic partnerships and alliances with colleges and universities abroad.

At the moment, they seem to be doing just that. Mr. Blair announced the UKIERI in September 2005 as an aim to support research projects that will bring benefit to both the UK and India and provide opportunities for staff exchanges and secondments and joint PhDs. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Council sponsor the majority of this programme.

However, a further £5 million has been committed through business sponsorship garnered from BP, BAE Systems, GlaxoSmithKline and Shell. At the press conference, there was also mention made of other proposed partnerships with universities and institutions in Russia, Africa and China "“ all of which have a funding budget of £2 million, £3 million and £4 million respectively.

An Encouraging Step

All in all, there has been a very positive response to both the UK-India partnership scheme and the PMI. Forming close links with India, and also Russia, Africa and China, can only be good for expanding educational possibilities. It will enable countries to teach and learn from each other, as well as promote rewarding student exchange programmes.

It is also very encouraging to see the large sponsorship contribution made to the UKIERI by BP, BAE Systems, GlaxoSmithKline and Shell. Company sponsorship is a huge boost to educational schemes and to the businesses themselves. Not only do they have the chance to promote apprenticeships that will provide well-trained graduates for their companies, but they also have the chance to promote their business in the partner country.

To keep the UK a leader in international education, a key component is to have a large body of international students. Targets for this have been set and met successfully. Some have argued that it would be better to focus on the welfare of UK students and their university places before increasing the number of incoming non-nationals. But these people must be assured that not only can we cope with the increase, we gladly welcome them as a means to further diversify and enrich the quality of life in the UK, and in turn, international education.

Paul Keely

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Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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