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Brown backs Link scheme

Chancellor Gordon Brown is backing a TES campaign to increase international links between schools and colleges.

He will announce plans next week to support initiatives, including opportunities overseas for students, during a visit to Mozambique with Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa.

In The TES this week, Mr Brown praises the Make the Link campaign for promoting such initiatives and pledges support.

"Over the next 18 months we must urge schools, and then colleges and universities, to join the crusade for education," he says. The sort of college links he is most interested in are those which increase youth volunteer activities for the mutual benefit of communities at home and overseas.

A gap year for vocational students in Tanzania - offered by City of Bristol college and featured in FE Focus this week - is the type of scheme he is keen to promote.

Mr Brown and the then Home Secretary David Blunkett set up the Russell commission two years ago to investigate wider initiatives for youth volunteering. The result was a programme of matched funding for industry and others to provide such opportunities.

These will be extended to education and could draw in colleges and other training providers.

College organisations have developed their own initiatives alongside this.

The Association for College Management is backing City of Bristol's scheme and is looking to develop it for other colleges.

Nadine Cartner, ACM head of policy, said: "For some time, ACM has been investigating partnerships with developing countries. We are excited at building links with Tanzania. There are benefits both for developing countries and our students in terms of curriculum and work placements."


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