The failure of UKeU

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Computing's high-profile investigation into the government's disastrous £62m elearning scheme

Flagship elearning project UKeU was launched in 2000, with the aim of attracting overseas students to study online with UK universities. Despite £62m of public funding, the project has been canned after UKeU attracted just 900 students.

Computing was the first publication to question the potential success of the venture. Our investigation, which has continued for over twelve months, has blown open the excessive spending and disastrous recruitment figures of UKeU. The results have received widespread national coverage, including Private Eye, The Guardian and The Times.

We were the first newspaper to call for a review into UKeU (April 1, 2004). And our campaign successfully inspired a parliamentary investigation into the failed project.

Computing exclusively revealed the following information:

The failed elearning scheme would be wound down at a cost of £56,000 per student

UKeU's £2m-plus wage bill for 2002 to 2003 included chief executive John Beaumont's £180,000 salary - and that he was also paid a performance-related bonus of £44,914

Executive directors received £100,000 in total bonuses during 2002/2003

The results of a highly-critical confidential report from PA Consulting - and that UKeU responded to the report by asking for a further £15m

The business and assets of UKeU, the government's flagship online learning scheme, have been put up for sale

That UKeU failed to meet its first-year target, which we revealed was 5,600 students

That the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) provided £32.6m to support the creation of UKeU's elearning infrastructure and £7m to set up various elearning programmes in higher education institutions

And back in 2003, we revealed that UKeU has launched only two courses after already committed nearly half of its funding

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