The British Council has limited the size of a university recruiting mission to Cyprus next month in an attempt to safeguard the reputation of British higher education on the island.
A large number of British universities and colleges anxious to be involved have been left out.
The institutions that signed up for a two-day visit beginning on August 26 were selected on a "first come first served" basis from an original 55 universities and colleges that expressed a desire to take part. Many of those excluded have exerted considerable pressure on the education counselling services of the British Council in Nicosia in an attempt to gain representation. These institutions have received a letter explaining why the decision to limit the mission was taken.
Robert Ness, director of the British Council in Cyprus, said: "We decided to limit the size because we do not believe that the level of interest in Cyprus in such an event justifies attendance by more than 50 institutions.
"Our annual March fair is the major showcase for British higher education and is attended by more than 80 British institutions and 7,000 visitors. Quality is the overriding priority in Cyprus and in limiting the size of the August event we were anxious to avoid the feeling, which already exists in microcosm, that some British institutions are over-zealous in their pursuit of Cypriot students, and that their overriding motivation is financial."
The letter says that the estimated number of Cypriot students expected to enter clearing after publication of the A-level results will not be sufficient to justify a large presence.
In its letter, the British Council explained why it decided against mounting what would in effect be a second large-scale education fair in less than six months: "We would not wish to be seen as over- pushing at a time when we are trying to protect Britain's reputation as a quality educational supplier."