Not resting, not asleep, not pining for the fjords. Education UK is dead.
This is from a British Council record of a meeting in May 2002 intended to reassure the ELT sector:
We explained that the site was part of the Prime Minister's Initiative and intended to spearhead a major boost in the number of international students recruited to the UK... the government and the British Council are spending millions of pounds promoting the Education UK brand (and the website associated with it)...
Because our English in Britain stood in the way, the British Council offered to "alleviate" the problem of "paying twice" by reducing the first year fee for the schools. That bribe was unhelpful, but of course you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear, and Education UK was one hell of a sow's ear.
Leading the pack was this man, Dr Neil Kemp. In a circular to the entire UK ELT sector in January 2002 (follow link for the complete document) he wrote as follows:
After a rigorous selection procedure, the British Council entered into a contractual partnership with a consortium led by Hotcourses to develop the Education UK website and associated databases. The other consortium members are UCAS, CSU and Yahoo.
That was unhelpful too. Kemp didn't mention the "exclusive" agreement his organisation had signed with my company in respect of providing exactly the same service for the sector, and of course it wasn't easy for us to be credible competition when up against the BC, UCAS, CSU and Yahoo - not to mention the Prime Minister and the government's millions in promotional cash. It turned out, however, that the "consortium led by Hotcourses" was a £100 company ("Education Websites Ltd") whose shareholders were Hotcourses Ltd, UCAS Enterprises Ltd and CSU Ltd - the latter pair risking all of £20 in this venture. And Yahoo? Ask yourself first whether Yahoo would be an investor in a £100 company. Actually Yahoo (hard to believe today but the clear leaders in search at the time) were nowhere - not shareholders, not named in the agreement, nothing. Kemp made it up.
Before the Freedom of Information Act came into effect, the contract was hurriedly changed to exclude the profit-sharing clause Kemp negotiated on behalf of the British Council, and reassigned to another company, Sheffield Data Ltd. The original company, Education Websites Ltd, was renamed Remone Ltd, and an application made to have this renamed company i.e. Remone Ltd struck from the register at Companies House. Nevertheless the FOI answer from the British Council given to my enquiry as to whether the original contract had been changed was that there had been no change to the contract. Presumably they hoped that their burial job had worked. Oh dear.
All of those involved on the Council side did well: OBEs and promotions all round for the cheats and liars and a knighthood for the boss. And a fortune for the Hotcourses shareholders just before the entire Education UK edifice was finally destroyed and buried. Taxpayers? Millions down the drain. Students? What students. Schools? dropped away fast because it never worked. Education UK did much more harm than good. A monumental waste of money now lying in an unmarked grave.