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International Education Strategy eyes £3bn growth

The government has vowed to help the UK’s education exports industry secure an extra £3 billion of contracts by 2020 with a new international growth strategy.

The sector is worth £17.5bn to the economy, and the plans include an ‘Education is Great’ campaign that will promote UK education in emerging markets.

Universities Minister David Willetts said: “There are few sectors of the UK economy with the capacity to grow and generate export earnings as impressive as education.

“Our universities, colleges, awarding organisations and schools are recognised globally for their excellence. However, there is more that we can do to take advantage of this powerful reputation, and to seize the opportunities to stay ahead in the global race.”

Sir Eric Thomas, vice chancellor of Bristol University, has been appointed UK Education Champion to promote the sector overseas and maximise commercial opportunities.

The strategy also aims to attract close to 90,000 extra overseas university students to the UK by 2018.

Martin Doel, chief executive of the Association of College (AoC), said: “AoC is committed to supporting transnational education and colleges are already playing a major role in helping the Indian Government meet their target of training 500 million people by 2022 and making best use of their $30 million investment in education and training through AoC India.

China is also looking to learn from England‘s apprenticeships and Colombia and Brazil – to name but two – aren’t far behind them. AoC is already working with the Brazilian Government negotiating for the extension of the ‘Science Without Borders’ programme to include colleges. This demonstrates how Further Education colleges are able to bring their vocational expertise to the fore and train teaching staff in these countries.

“The fact that these nations want to learn from the UK demonstrates the international recognition of the high quality of our vocational qualifications, the people that teach them and colleges as the institutions that support them. The education strategy being launched today will assist colleges in delivering to this agenda by providing a coordinated approach to working with overseas partners and will assist colleges in working with other UK partners like employers, universities and equipment suppliers.”

Natalie Thornhill

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