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100,000 students from developing nations sign up for free certificates for online UK university courses

London, UK, 6th July 2017: 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 social 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 per cent of the steps on the course and achieved an overall score of at least 70 per cent.

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 per cent, were aged 18 to 25 years old with a roughly even gender balance of 48 per cent female and 51 per cent male.

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


  1. Health in Humanitarian Crises from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine;


  1. ‘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.”

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.”



 About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.


About Study UK: Discover You

The Study UK: Discover You campaign promotes the best of British education overseas and supports the global objectives of UK universities.

The Study UK: Discover You initiative focuses on the experiences, knowledge and confidence that students can gain from UK study, whether in the UK, or overseas or through distance learning, online provision, and other models. The campaign is being delivered by the British Council and supported by nearly 100 universities.


The GREAT Britain campaign

The GREAT Britain campaign showcases the very best of what the country has to offer to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.  It has generated returns of more than £2.7bn for the UK economy since 2012.


About FutureLearn

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a social learning platform, designed to support learning through conversation. It offers 5.2 million learners free online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, centres of research excellence and specialist education providers like the British Council, Creative Skillset and European Space Agency. FutureLearn is an international platform with over 75% of its users based outside of the UK.

For more information on FutureLearn, please contact:

Niamh O’Grady, Senior Communications Manager, FutureLearn





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