UK 'responsive and alive'

February 11, 2000

Tony Blair (right) is backing a four-pronged plan to raise the UK's share of the overseas higher education market from 17 per cent to 25 per cent and to double the number of overseas students in further education colleges.

Achieving this means attracting 75,000 more students to the UK by 2005. To accomplish this, the prime minister:

* Announced immediate streamlining of immigration procedures. Information on visa requirements will be improved, and the requirement for international students to reapply for leave to remain in the UK has been dropped

* Agreed to lift the requirement that students must seek permission from job centres before taking work

* Added up to 500 places to the Chevening scholarship scheme's current 2,200

* Announced plans to "market education abroad more professionally" and to create a brand "building on our position as one of the world's leading educators - Education UK".

The new brand is based on a high-profile internet presence - www.educationuk.org - and it is supported by Pounds 5 million in government funding over three years.

It was based on research into the UK's image by Mori. Research found that potential overseas students found Britain "cold and wet", with the education systems "worthy but dull" and "backward-looking".

The brand sets out to present British education as "responsive, welcoming and alive with possibilities".

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