Currency crash derails plans for UK university in Thailand

December 18, 1998

A move to create a private "British University" in Thailand has been frozen by the pull-out of backers hit by the country's currency crisis.

Nottingham and Exeter universities, chosen by the Thai and United Kingdom governments to manage the academic side of the project, have had to put student exchange plans on ice.

A proposed Pounds 20 million British-style campus that was expected to accommodate about 2,500 engineering and business studies students still features in some brochures advertising higher education in Thailand. But project managers say plans for the institution are unlikely to be revived for at least two years as Thailand struggles to recover from its stock market and currency crash.

A syndicate of companies and venture capitalists that had pledged financial support without investing money in the proposed university was forced to withdraw earlier this year as Thailand's economic situation worsened. So far, the attempts to put together a rescue package have proved unsuccessful.

The initiative was launched four years ago by a Department of Trade and Industry group headed by Baroness Perry, following a proposal from the Thai government.

Nottingham and Exeter had hoped that the first five cohorts of students would spend two years studying with them after two years at the new Thai campus.

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