The British Council


The British Council was founded to create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and the wider world. The organisation calls this work cultural relations. It works in more than 100 countries, connecting millions of people with the United Kingdom through programmes and services in the English language, the arts, education and society. The Council believes these are the most effective means of engaging with others, and has been doing this work since 1934.

As part of its work, the British Council is managing the Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform(SPHEIR) in conjunction with the International Unit and PWC. Funded by the UK Department of International Development, SPHEIR is a new £45 million DFID fund to support higher education transformation in focus countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East. It aims to deliver systemic and sustainable change within higher education systems, enabling them to meet labour market needs and generate the job-ready, entrepreneurial graduates needed to accelerate development, build inclusive societies and promote strong economic growth.

The programme will shortly launch two demonstration projects and will issue another call for proposals in October. DFID wants to encourage new actors with innovative ideas into the HE space, with partnerships involving public, private and third sector organisations operating in one or more African countries and bringing about systemic change.

Image c. Matt Wright