Learners will be able to obtain a free Certificate of Achievement, which usually costs between £39 and £69, after completing the free courses offered by UK educational institutions on the platform.
“We hope by providing free Certificates of Achievement we can encourage citizens of lower and middle income countries to access UK higher education,” said Rebecca Hughes, head of education and society at the British Council.
“The cost of purchasing a Certificate of Achievement can be prohibitive if the learner is based in a lower income country”
“This will make a positive contribution to the world in which we live – helping to secure the UK’s security, prosperity, and influence in the face of growing international challenges,” she told The PIE News.
MOOCs by their nature are open and free, said Hughes, but she added that “the cost of purchasing a Certificate of Achievement can be prohibitive if the learner is based in a lower income country.”
In order to be eligible for a free certificate, learners must complete 90% of the course, and achieve 70% or above in test results.
They also need to be based in one of the 36 countries which receives official development assistance from the British Council, including Mozambique, South Africa and Thailand.
The courses are self-paced, but usually take between two and eight weeks to complete. To be eligible, learners must start their course before the end of March.
In addition to increasing access, the campaign also showcases UK higher education in the target countries, said Stephen Somerville, director of business development at FutureLearn.
“When the British Council approached us, we could immediately see what an ideal partnership this would be – with our existing relationships with various UK universities and our ability to reach people at scale through our platform,” he told The PIE News.
The initiative is part of the Study UK: Discover You campaign, which launched towards the end of last year to promote the value of a UK education to prospective students, and is backed by both the GREAT Britain campaign and the British Council.