Feeds

MPs condemn e-Uni disaster - again

'Disgraceful waste', etc

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The commons education select committee has roundly condemned the UK's failed e-University as a "disgraceful waste", confirming the 2004 opinion of Dr Ian Gibson, Labour MP and chair of science and technology committee at the Commons, that UKeU was a "shameful waste" of public money, and an "absolute disaster".

As we previously reported, UKeU was intended to act as a portal, selling other universities' online degree programmes. It was a joint venture between the government, the universities that signed up and Sun Microsystems, which provided the support platform.

The e-Uni was canned last year having cost the taxpayer £50m but with a roster of just 900 students. According to the BBC, Chief executive John Beaumont was "paid a bonus of £44,914, despite a failure to bring in private sector backers". The committee condemned this as "morally indefensible".

However, the government claimed that the project had "improved understanding". A Department for Education and Skills spokeswoman claimed UKeU was "ambitious and ground-breaking", and added: "UK e-Universities was not the only organisation to have lost out on private sector investment in the collapse of the dotcom boom."

The committee concluded that those behind the venture had caught a nasty dose of internet over-enthusiasm. Initial projections forecast 250,000 students within 10 years translating into a £110m profit. In the event, £4.2m went on marketing while a cool £14m went on getting the thing to work - to the benefit of just 200 students.

Committee chairman Barry Sheerman declared: "UK e-University was a terrible waste of public money. The senior executives failed to interest any private investors and showed an extraordinary over-confidence in their ability to attract students to the scheme."

In conclusion, the committee said that the government should "learn the lessons from this disaster" when splashing out cash on future projects. ®

Related stories

MP slams failed online university
UK Govt chucks £50m at e-learning

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.