A MAJOR drive to sell education and training overseas is underway with the revamp of a government group harnessing the resources of the public and private sectors.
The Education and Training Exports Group, set up four years ago, will now operate under its new chairman Rob Meakin, personnel director for GEC. The group falls under the aegis of the Departments for Education and Employment, and Trade and Industry.
Universities, further education colleges, Training and Enterprise Councils, educational publishers and computer software and development suppliers are among those sectors brought together by the group. It will seek to develop closer links with other state departments in a bid to increase the UK's share of the global education and training-related market.
Announcing the changes, further and higher education minister Baroness Blackstone said that the government was keen to exploit a market in which Britain already has a strong brand image.
Baroness Blackstone said that apart from increasing sales of educational services and qualifications directly, there were numerous spin-off linked in particular with sales of new technology. This often requires associated education and training which could be sold as part of integrated packages.
Baroness Blackstone will combine the roles of saleswoman for the UK's post-16 education sector with ambassador when she visits Argentina and Brazil over the coming week. She will sign a joint declaration on educational co-operation in the Brazilian capital Brasilia. Britain is already the fifth biggest inward investor in Brazil, which is known to be interested in raising skills and distance learning.
The minister will also lay the foundations for a similar declaration for educational co-operation in Argentina. It is expected that President Carlos Menem will sign the declaration during his state visit to Britain in November.