PUBLIC SECTOR: Campaign to woo overseas students to UK

A fresh PR campaign to attract foreign students to UK universities and colleges is to launch.

This latest, global joint PR and advertising campaign will cost £1m and is launched by education body the British Council. A focus will be put on non-European students, with Asia a target area.

The British Council is handling the campaign in its role as the partner tasked with marketing for the Government's Prime Minister Initiative.

The PMI was launched by Tony Blair three years ago to attract more international students to the UK.

The international student market brings an estimated £8bn a year into the country.

The Government wants to increase the number of non-European students in higher education by 50,000 by 2005 and the number in the further education sector by 25,000 in the same period.

If the targets are met, the economy could benefit by an extra £700m each year.

To assist in the handling of the campaign, which is part of the British Council's ongoing EducationUK marketing campaign, the British Council has appointed PR agency Staniforth Communications for communications support, as well as advertising agency BDH/TBWA.

Staniforth has been briefed to develop a PR strategy to be carried out by the British Council's offices around the world. The Staniforth team, headed by Libby Down, reports to Liz Green, assistant director of the British Council's promotions, education and training group.

Down confirmed the campaign will ignore European students, focusing instead on countries including Brazil, Hong Kong, China and India.

The US is being considered as a 'second-tier target', according to Down.

Down said part of the campaign will be to promote scholarships on offer.

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