Headlines: April 2nd, 2001

Plans for higher education institutions in the UK to provide high quality virtual learning via the Internet are starting to take shape. PricewaterhouseCoopers prepared a model for the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which envisages the e-University drawing on content and services from the UK higher education sector working in partnership with the private sector. About a quarter of higher education institutions have concerns about the venture.There will be a holding company owned by the higher education sector and the appointment of twelve academics to its board has just been announced.

An operating company will be formed as a joint venture partnership between the holding company and other organizations and it will carry out the activities of the e-University. It will operate under licence from the holding company. Some 90 potential private sector partners expressed interest in the venture and detailed negotiations have started with a shortlist. The organizations selected for partnership will be announced in the summer.

Because of the importance of establishing and maintaining an international reputation for excellence, and delivering the highest quality courses, a Committee for Academic Quality will set standards for the e-Universities programmes and learning services. Eleven academics have now been appointed to the Committee.