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Uk & Universities Worldwide

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what level of government resources have been expended on supporting the UKEU project; [114133](2) what level of government resources have been earmarked in future years to support the UKEU project; [114134](3) whether the business plan for UKEU contains proposals to repay government resources over time. [114139]

The Government have provided £62 million to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) over the period 2001–04 to launch the eUniversities project, now being taken forward by UK eUniversities Worldwide (UKeU). HEFCE has agreed to provide up to £55 million to UKeU. The remainder has been used by HEFCE for projects to set up and advance the general aims of the project, notably the eChina Programme and to further research into e-learning provision. HEFCE will review the venture this autumn and no decisions have yet been made on future funding. The purpose of the HEFCE grant is to secure services to support the UK higher education sector by providing a technological and marketing infrastructure, and advice and guidance in providing online courses of study. Funds are invested through a Holding Company (the eLearning Holding Company Ltd.) which is owned by the higher education institutions of the UK. HEFCE currently requires that the Holding Company maintains at least a 50 per cent. stake in UKeU so that it may oversee the value for money represented in the services provided, and to oversee quality and standards of a venture which carries a brand backed by UK higher education. Profits, proportionate to the public funding element, from the venture will be returned to the sector through the Holding Company.