Athabasca University the Canadian Partner in New Global “e-education” Service

October 13, 2000

For Immediate Release — October 12, 2000

Hong Kong is today the site for the official worldwide launch of a new concept in university “e-education” that

allows students around the globe to link up to the Internet,

take courses, and complete degrees from 10 leading

universities in North America, Europe, and Australia without

ever setting foot on campus.

Athabasca University, the largest distance education

university in Canada with 25,000 students, is a founding

partner in the Global University Alliance (GUA), a

consortium of universities working with NextEd, a Hong

Kong-based on-line education specialist with offices in

Australia, London, Washington, and Beijing, and a fully

integrated and scaleable global server. Together, the

partners offer students traditional academic rigour in a

broad range of accredited programs with the convenience,

speed, and affordability of Internet-based course materials

and instruction.

Close on the heels of the September 29 announcement of

Athabasca’s leadership role in the new Canadian Virtual

University (a consortium of chartered Canadian universities

delivering university courses over the Internet), its

membership in GUA demonstrates the University’s growing

international reputation and ability to provide a university

education to an increasingly global market.

Athabasca University president Dr. Dominique Abrioux, in

Hong Kong with chancellors and academics from other GUA

universities to launch GUA, says, “Athabasca University,

while continuing to serve the needs of its students in

Alberta and Canada, is positioning itself for the global

e-learning environment which is just around the corner.

“Registering full cost-recovery fee-paying international

students will also serve to enrich the learning

opportunities for our domestic students since they will

access a more global curriculum and be obliged to interact

and work on-line with their international counterparts,” he

adds. “While the days of foreign students visiting North

American campuses may not be numbered, the on-line option

will provide less well-off international students with many

of the benefits of studying abroad with actually spending a

year or more away from home.”

GUA chairman and chancellor of Britain’s University of Derby

Sir Christopher Ball says, “We are pioneering the concept of

‘e-education’ — a way of delivering high-quality accredited

education designed to appeal to individuals motivated to

improve their career prospects and to employers keen to

upgrade skill levels. The GUA’s vision statement is ‘Power

of knowledge at your fingertips,’ which sums up the enormous

opportunities that ‘e-education’ can offer.

“In Asia alone, the education market amenable to online

delivery is estimated to be as much as US$5 billion per

annum,” he says.

The founding GUA members are all government-backed

universities with full accreditation power to grant degrees

and other recognized post-secondary credentials: Athabasca

University, George Washington University, Rochester

Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,

Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand), University

of Derby (UK), University of Glamorgan, International

Business School (Hogeschool Brabant, Netherlands), Royal

Melbourne Institute of Technology, and University of South


As an alliance, the GUA intends to create

cross-accreditation arrangements where students can access

customized qualifications by enrolling in courses offered by

multiple universities — all delivered through the

Internet. Program offerings currently include health,

business and management, computing and information systems,

education, engineering, and the humanities.

Enrollment started in September 2000 with students in

Australia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong,

Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and the US.

Between now and March, the GUA will offer 99 courses in 24

programs from eight institutions. More will be added as

member universities roll out new courses and programs, and

new universities join the GUA.

“Interest in international alliances has been growing for

several years,” says Abrioux. “GUA is the first major

alliance to be up and running smoothly, with the

participation of leading post-secondary institutions around

the world. Through the GUA, Athabasca University is

actively positioning itself for international growth,

particularly in China.”

The GUA can be found at

Contact Info

Pam Patten, Public Affairs

(780) 428-2068