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Free online courses for Sars schools

INTERACTIVE University, the global interactive learning arm of the Scottish higher education sector, is making its ground-breaking Scholar programme available to school students in Hong Kong whose studies have been disrupted by the Sars epidemic.

The outbreak of "severe acute respiratory syndrome" led to all secondary schools in Hong Kong closing at the end of March, but they began a phased reopening last Tuesday.

Roy Leitch of Heriot-Watt University, chief executive of Interactive University, said it was aware of the distress and disruption caused to schools and colleges and its gesture allowed it "to display solidarity with our partners and the education sector as a whole".

Students studying A-levels and their equivalents in the sciences, maths and computing will be able to access all of the Scholar material free of charge for the whole of this month, with protected password access.

Anthony Tam, director of the school of professional education and executive development at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said the opportunity for students to be able to access top class curriculum material from Scotland was "fantastic" at such a critical time with exams approaching.

Launched in 2000, Scholar was developed by Heriot-Watt University and provides online support for senior secondary students. IU serves 46,000 student consumers around the world, who access learning through a network of 27 local learning partners in 15 countries.

IU delivers 4.5 million online learning hours a year globally.

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