THE move by Activate Learning – the umbrella organisation for the former Oxford and Cherwell Valley College and Banbury and Bicester College – to seal a deal to run education institutes in Saudi Arabia is a promising exercise in expansion.

As we report today, Activate Learning is part of a group that will open three further education colleges in the Kingdom solely for women.

The constraints on women in Saudi Arabia have been widely documented, but the country appears to recognise that it needs bodies, male and female, to power its burgeoning economy.

The key point we need to remember in this global economy is that our country has expertise that many others cannot provide.

High education standards are, despite claims to the contrary, something we can and do export aroud the world.

What is most encouraging is that it is Activate Learning that has struck the deal rather than the ‘usual suspect’, the University of Oxford.

It is a sign of the organisation’s confidence that it is striking out on the international stage. The message it preaches to students is to not be limited in their dreams, so it is only fitting it leads by example.

With the prospect of at least some of the millions the venture will bring in being reinvested locally, this is a great day for the county’s further education sector.

And also for the oppressed women of Saudia Arabia