Map of India via: Shutterstock

Top UK Institutions Take Futurelearn to India on PM Trade Mission

Six of Futurelearn’s partners are accompanying the Prime Minister, David Cameron on a major business and skills mission to India.

The Open University’s Vice-Chancellor, has been joined on the visit by VCs from the universities of Exeter, Cardiff, Southampton and Warwick and the CEO of the British Library.

Futurelearn was set up by The Open University (OU) in December 2012.

It was announced on 18 February that five more UK universities are joining Futurelearn, along with the British Library.  Including the OU, Futurelearn now has 18 partners. It is the first UK company to offer free, open and online courses from multiple leading UK institutions.

During the visit, delegates are meeting a variety of key figures from Indian industry and education. It provides an opportunity for the six Futurelearn partners to raise awareness of the company and UK developments in online educational resources.

University of Exeter Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Sir Steve Smith, said: “As one of the founding partners, the University of Exeter is very pleased to see Futurelearn welcoming new partners. The University of Exeter has an extensive set of relationships in India, and we see The Open University and Futurelearn as key strategic partners in developing our work in India and beyond. I look forward to working with Martin Bean and other partners accompanying the Prime Minister on this trip to deepen existing relationships and develop new ones.”

This week’s visit to India has been organised jointly by UK Trade and Investment (UKTi) and the department for Business Industry and Skills (BIS). The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts is taking part in the mission along with UK business leaders.

The Open University’s Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean said:“In joining Futurelearn, the UK’s top institutions have placed themselves at the centre of the discourse on massive open online courses (or MOOCs). The UK’s 800 year-old heritage of teaching and learning coupled with the OU’s unrivalled expertise in distance and online education gives us a powerful proposition to bring to the global market for quality higher education (HE). This visit to India gives us an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of Futurelearn and to share our vision for world-class UK HE that is free and open to all”.

As well as the five universities represented in India, Futurelearn is working with the universities of Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, East Anglia, Kings College London, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Queen’s Belfast, Nottingham, Reading and St Andrews.

Futurelearn is currently developing its website and curriculum. The first students will start studying courses developed by the partner universities later this year.

Date: 19 February 2013

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