The British Council and the UK Higher Education International Unit (IU)signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) yesterday ( 31st January 2013) committing them to working in a strategic partnership to enhance international higher education opportunities for the UK higher education sector.
Working in partnership and sharing their expertise, the British Council and IU will provide a more coherent and responsive service to the UK HE sector. By clarifying the roles and responsibilities of each partner, the MoU will enable them to serve the best interests of the sector and to better enable Ministries, institutions and organisations working in higher education around the world to engage with the UK.
The IU is the principal agency in the UK charged with representing the interests of UK higher education institutions in their international activities. The British Council provides opportunities, intelligence and facilitates connections and partnerships among higher education institutions internationally.
The International Unit and the British Council already enjoy a close and productive working relationship, but with the rapid growth in internationalisation of higher education and an ever growing interest in promoting UK higher education, both within the sector and from government, the organisations agreed that a more formal and transparent partnership was necessary to most effectively meet demands.
Plans for 2013 include joint engagement in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, Qatar and Burma. One key project will be working together to ensure that the HE Global Advisory Service provides a central resource to support the development of Transnational education by the UK HE sector.
The IU will lead on communities of practice in the UK and will host incoming delegations and the British Council will lead on overseas expertise, international groups and policy dialogues. The two institutions will co-commission research reports on international higher education and convene seminars and workshops.
Dr Jo Beall, British Council Director of Education and Society, commented: “We really welcome this MoU because it will enable us to promote and support the UK sector more effectively. The British Council works in 110 countries and probably has the biggest network of education contacts in the world. We are committing greater resources to our regional and country offices in order to strengthen our offer and expertise in key countries. By working more closely with the International Unit in the UK, we hope that the sector will be able to better access the trust we build and opportunities we forge, benefiting more fully from our presence on the ground around the world. What we share unequivocally is the aim of keeping the UK at the heart of quality internationalisation of higher education.”
Dr Joanna Newman, Director of UK Higher Education International Unit commented: “This is an opportunity to leverage our unique networks and expertise to deliver further opportunities for the UK HE sector. Under the MoU we will jointly commission research and a key project is the provision of a dedicated role to support the HEGlobal Integrated Advisory Service to assist the sector in developing their transnational education activities by providing expert advice and access to a global network of higher education agencies and Government departments.”