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Auckland Univerisity & News Corp in Global Venture

Release University Of Auckland


The University of Auckland, through its membership of a grouping of 18 leading international universities called Universitas 21, will be part of a joint venture company being formed with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation that plans to secure a substantial share of the global higher education market in e-education.

Announced in New York today and endorsed by both parties in a Memorandum of Understanding signed in Shanghai last month, the joint venture will be formed by News Corporation’s United Kingdom arm, News International plc, through its wholly owned subsidiary TSL Education Ltd, and the commercial arm of Universitas 21.

The new venture will provide premium higher education programmes throughout the world using new information technologies and learning methods. These e-education programmes will lead to the award of degrees or diplomas endorsed by Universitas 21. The joint venture company will use the global quality assurance structure provided by Universitas 21. It is expected that the first courses will become available in 2001.

University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Dr John Hood said the development enabled the University to be part of the new generation teaching and learning technologies which are transforming the way knowledge is disseminated.

“In 1990 there were 48 million people in higher education worldwide. By 2010, that figure is expected to have increased to 97 million people. Most countries are grappling with the need to improve participation in tertiary education. It is clear that, for many, global communications technologies will offer the preferred or only means of gaining access to higher education.

“By being part of this trans-national enterprise, we become part of a global academic initiative which offers further opportunities to share the research and skills of our scholars with students worldwide.”

Mr Rupert Murdoch, the Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation said: “I am delighted that we have agreed in principle to a partnership arrangement with the Universitas 21 network of great universities. News Corporation has taken a strategic decision to enter the distance learning market using our global distribution platforms, our advanced technologies and our marketing reach. A mutually profitable partnership between leading providers in higher education and one of the world’s leading media companies is a very strong proposition.”

Professor Alan Gilbert, Vice-Chancellor of Melbourne University and Chairman of Universitas 21 said: “My colleagues and I in Universitas 21 welcome the prospect of working with News Corporation to provide innovative, high quality educational choices to people around the world for whom e-education is either becoming the preferred option, or remaining the only opportunity, for access to the knowledge age and the information economy.”

James MacManus, CEO of TSL Education said: “This partnership with Universitas 21 offers huge global potential in the global market for higher education and we intend to develop it vigorously.”

Editor’s note:

Universitas 21 is a company incorporated in the United Kingdom with a membership network of 18 universities in 10 countries. Collectively, it enrols about 500,000 students a year, employs some 44,000 academics and researchers and has a combined operating budget of almost $US9 billion. The company’s core business is the provision of a pre-eminent brand of educational services supported by a strong quality assurance framework. Universitas 21 is working to secure international professional accreditation and portability for core Universitas 21 curricula in key professional areas. It is in the process of adding further members from the United States. Current members are:

Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg University of Auckland
University of Birmingham University of British Columbia
University of Edinburgh Fudan University
University of Glasgow University of Hong Kong
Lund University University of Melbourne
McGill University University of Michigan
National University of Singapore University of New South Wales
University of Nottingham Peking University
University of Queensland University of Toronto

News Corporation had total assets as of March 31 2000 of approximately US$40 billion and total annual revenues of approximately US$14 billion. News Corporation’s diversified global operations in the United States, Canada, continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, Latin America and the Pacific basin include the production and distribution of motion pictures and television programming; television; satellite and cable broadcasting; the publication of newspapers, magazines, books; the production and distribution of promotional and advertising services and products; the development of digital broadcasting; the development of conditional access and subscriber management systems; and the creation and distribution of popular on-line programming.

TSL Education Ltd publishes a range of leading educational titles in the United Kingdom, including the Times Educational Supplement, the Times Higher Education Supplement and Nursery World. Six websites associated with these titles attract 8 million page impressions per month. The company has recently launched the UK’s leading educational portal for parents,, and has established a distance learning company Worldwide Learning Ltd.

For further information contact:

Bill Williams Dr Christopher Tremewan
Public Relations Officer Pro Vice-Chancellor (International)
The University of Auckland The University of Auckland

Tel: 09 373 7599 ext 7698 Tel: 09 3737 599 ext 6934
Mobile: 021 618 498

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