Scottish Knowledge

From POERUP - Policies for OER Uptake
Jump to: navigation, search

Scottish Knowledge was at one time a major player in the field, marketing distance learning courses since 1997.

Scottish Knowledge plc comprised 13 universities and eight colleges. Its head office was in Edinburgh, Scotland.

It was incorporated as Scottish Knowledge public limited company (Scottish Knowledge plc), in Scotland as company no. SC175063.

Scottish Knowledge was closed in 2002, finally ceasing existence in the Register of Companies on 28 October 2002.

The Interactive University was in some senses a successor to it.

The Scottish Knowledge web site is no longer active.

Note that is populated by a set of menus linked to Scottish topics and may be for sale.

Proposed purchase by UKeU

Scottish Knowledge was in 2001 considered as a second partner for the UK e-University (UKeU)and possibly even could have been bought by them.

A briefing paper to the Interim Management Team stated:

[Scottish Knowledge's] experience will be used to advise the e-university on the development of the marketing function. Their incorporation into the e-university would also result in the availability of an existing contact base, a revenue stream from existing distance learning activities and a range of skills and experience that would accelerate the sales of the new e-university.

In the event, one of the early decisions of the incoming UKeU CEO and Board was not to continue discussions. This was after a number of due diligence investigations of the course inventory, staff base and IPR issues. As noted in the Select Committee Report on the e-University:

The interim team, including HEFCE, were looking at an acquisition of Scottish knowledge for £12 million, and we put a stop to that within first month of the two of us being there.


The original backers were the University of Glasgow and University of Edinburgh. Scottish Knowledge PLC, began operating on 1 August 1997, following a successful capital raising programme, which resulted in all the Scottish universities and their associated colleges contributing almost £300,000 to the venture. An additional £2 million was raised from industry, government and private investors.

In September 1997 the Ministry for Higher Education and Research in the United Arab Emirates, awarded Scottish Knowledge the contract to plan and develop the first phase of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Institute.

In February 1998 it launched its Distance Learning Investment Programme and committed over £3 million to the development of over 30 postgraduate, undergraduate and vocational courses as online (web-based) programmes.

In February 1999, Scottish Knowledge signed a deal with two Malaysian institutions which, it believed at the time, could be worth £20 million over the next five years. The deal was to supply distance-learning material from Scottish universities and colleges to Malaysia's largest academic institution, Universiti Teknologi MARA, and the national oil and gas company Petronas. Other reports indicate that in Malaysia it also signed deals with Universiti Malaya and the Open University of Malaysia. This seems to have been part of a joint venture with Malaysia's 11 public universities to provide online courses to 150,000 graduates.

In February 2000, Scottish Knowledge signed a £3.5 million deal with News International, giving it 25 per cent of Scottish Knowledge. Worldwide Learning Limited, a subsidiary of TSL Education in the News International Group, will market and distribute the distance-learning courses and products.

In 2000 it signed a global e-university alliance contract with Shell International to give the company's 96,000 employees across the world access to online education and training worldwide, through the Shell Global University.

In 2001 it achieved accreditation of the worlds first foreign nursing course, approved for delivery into the USA, planned to be for 2.5 million nurses. (Nurse education remains to this day a "hardy perennial" earner for distance learning providers.)

In 2002 Scottish Knowledge closed.


  1. Interesting Scottish response to Dearing,
  2. MegaTrends Report on Scottish Knowledge,
  3. E-flagship is scaled down,
  4. Competitor Analysis: Interactive University,
  5. The UK e-University, 3 March 2005,

> United Kingdom
> Programmes