Magazine article Public Finance

MPs Slam On-Line Degree Course's £50M Failure

Magazine article Public Finance

MPs Slam On-Line Degree Course's £50M Failure

Article excerpt

Senior MPs have condemned the government's on-line degree scheme as a 'disgraceful waste' of tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money.

A probe by the Commons education select committee found that, at a cost of £44,000 per student, studying with the UK e-University was more expensive than going to Oxford or Cambridge.

The UKeU was launched in September 2003 but after attracting just 900 students was closed last year at a cost of £50m.

Committee chair Barry Sheerman said: 'UKeU was a terrible waste of public money. The senior executives failed to interest any private investors and showed an extraordinary overconfidence in their ability to attract students to the scheme. Any private company which rewards underperformance on this scale would normally face severe criticism from its shareholders.'

Sheerman said the government should learn lessons from the disaster and develop a strategy to support universities' existing e-learning projects. …

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