New links have been struck between Scotland and China's Ministry of Education to deliver Scottish undergraduate degrees for Chinese students in their homeland.
The deal between the Interactive University and Foundation College of the China Scholarship Council (FCCSC - a department of the Chinese Ministry of Education) will build on the foundation and Higher National programmes currently being offered by both the FCCSC and the Scottish Qualifications Authority in China.
It means that students on pre-degree programmes will be able to continue their studies in China or Scotland. Undergraduate programmes from a consortium of Scottish universities are expected to attract some 5,000 students over five years.
Professor Roy Leitch, chief executive of the Interactive University, said:
"While we recognise that Scottish qualifications are among the best in the world, it is the localised context and content added by our academic partners around the world which helps to create employable, articulate graduates."
All of the Chinese universities involved would be the subject of rigorous scrutiny from both IU and the partner academic institutions in Scotland, Professor Leitch said.
The programmes will be delivered in China from September next year, initially by a consortium including Heriot-Watt, Robert Gordon, Dundee, Stirling and Napier universities. Strathclyde University is expected to join the first phase roll-out.
It is anticipated that over the next five years more higher education institutions and Scottish universities will be enrolled in further phases to deliver a wider portfolio of programmes.