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100K students from developing nations sign up for free certs

Online education can reach and help people all over the world to get a little closer to achieving their ambitions, says FutureLearn CEO Simon Nelson

Posted by Hannah Vickers | July 30, 2017 | Technology

More than 100,000 students from 124 developing nations signed up to earn one of 15,000 free certificates from a British university as part of a partnership between the British Council and the GREAT Britain campaign using the online learning platform FutureLearn.

In order to qualify for one of the free certificates, students had to be resident in a country that is eligible for Official Development Assistance from the UK, have completed at least 90% of the steps on the course and achieved an overall score of at least 70%.

The 13-week Study UK initiative targeted students in developing nations, encouraging them to enrol and forms part of the GREAT Britain campaign.

Students enrolled in 131 online courses in total, from 29 UK universities, and received their certificates on a first-come-first served basis.

The majority of those who took part, 72%, were aged 18 to 25 years old with a roughly even gender balance of 48% female and 51% male.

Leading the list of nationalities was India, home to 15.7% of applicants; 11.6% were from Egypt, 8.4% from Nigeria, 6.25% from Pakistan and 5.7% from Brazil.

The most popular types of courses were in the categories of business and management or health and psychology, with over 4,000 certificates awarded in each category.

The three most popular courses in terms of the number of certificates claimed were:

1. 'Management and Leadership: Growing as a Manager' by the Open University;
2. Health in Humanitarian Crises from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine;
3. 'The Internet of Things' by King’s College London

Rob Lynes, British Council Director UK said: “The Study UK initiative has been a great success both in raising the profile of UK higher education overseas, and demonstrating new aspects of international development.

“Education is a vital resource in a developing economy, and the British Council’s reach, combined with the quality of the UK’s higher education institutions can lead the world in this field.

“These certificates can make a real difference to the lives, the employment prospects, and the future of the eager students who are taking part.”

Britain has always been a leader in global education and we're proud to have been part of the Study UK campaign which saw courses from our UK university partners promoted all across the globe - Simon Nelson, Futurelearn CEO

Simon Nelson, Futurelearn CEO said, “Britain has always been a leader in global education and we're proud to have been part of the Study UK campaign which saw courses from our UK university partners promoted all across the globe.

“The sheer volume of enrolments from so many countries illustrates the truly global scale of online education and its ability to reach and help people anywhere to get a little closer to achieving their ambitions.

"Most importantly, we're delighted that so many learners from those 114 countries were able to benefit from the campaign and receive a tangible reward for their efforts. We hope it's just the start of their journey." 

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