Alexis Laura Feliciano

Three years ago in Thailand, there were a very small number of UK partnerships and the regulations were complex. The British Council has worked with the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) to develop new regulations and run policy dialogues and forums, and has delivered a partnership programme.

There are now 22 new partnerships between UK institutions and top Thai research universities. As a result of the British Council’s advice the policy environment is now much more conducive to IPPM, and new opportunities have opened up. In 2017 it was announced that foreign universities are now able to operate in Thailand as part of the government’s plan to improve the country’s tertiary education system and fill skills gaps.

Citizens of Pondicherry in South India have improved access to the speedy diagnostic facilities that can make the difference between life and death, thanks to a collaboration between universities in India and the UK. The partnership between Westminster and Anna University as part of the British Council UKIERI programme has resulted in the development of a smartphone-based platform which allows automated diagnosis and classification, allowing a semi-skilled technician to make a diagnosis with clinical accuracy. The prototype is already in use and, if trials are successful, its use could extend to benefit more of the 91 per cent of Indian citizens who live in malariaaffected areas. The collaboration has also led to the founding of two new undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of Westminster.

The Partnership for Digital Learning and Increased Access (PADILEIA), led by King’s College London working with the American University of Beirut, Al al-Bayt University, Kiron Open Higher Education, and FutureLearn as part of the SPHEIR programme, is pioneering the use of online and blended learning programmes to increase access to higher education for refugee and disadvantaged host communities in Jordan and Lebanon.

To date, the partnership has developed bespoke foundation courses and massive open online courses (MOOCs) based on a needs assessment of target students, built two dedicated study hubs in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon and equipped two more near the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

PADILEIA has supported more than 1,000 students in Jordan and Lebanon with higher education access services and has supported 31 of its foundation course graduates to gain university scholarships or employment. The project is aiming to reach over 6,000 studentsby 2021.