The British Council will spend Pounds 5 million on changing the elitist image of British education overseas. It has awarded a three-year contract to create a single umbrella brand for British education to a consortium led by advertising agency McCann-Erickson.
The market in the United Kingdom for international students is thought to be worth about Pounds 7 billion. The campaign aims to capture a quarter share of the world market for English-speaking higher education students by 2003. The UK share stands at
17 per cent; the United States has 68 per cent; Australia 10 per
cent; and Canada 5 per cent.
The British Council also wants to double the number of overseas students in further education
in the UK by the same date.
"We are doing research into the perceptions of education in the US, Australia and the UK. In the UK, the quality of education is beyond dispute but the downside is that it is seen as elitist and set in its ways," said Ian Moss of Shandwick, one of the agencies in the consortium.
The research will also examine the role parents and students play when choosing where to study.
"In some cases, parents are the major funders. Students may like British culture but the parents might be more interested in costs," said Mr Moss.
The campaign is part of the initiative to attract 75,000 more overseas students to the UK by 2005, launched last month by prime minister Tony Blair. Two thirds would enter higher education.