To do or not to do transnational education? 

 In News

The UK higher education sector is world class by any objective measure, but that hasn’t prevented financial sustainability becoming an issue for many providers.

International student numbers are almost certain to continue falling following recent changes, compounded by the government’s negative messaging and policy intent irrespective of the MAC review outcome.

Given this reality and the absence of money for any future government to invest in higher education, whatever its political inclination, universities must look to their own means to augment and diversify their revenue streams.

None of the available options are quick or easy – and it will be particularly challenging for those who missed the opportunity to harvest monies in the good times and invest them into assured future success. But we must find a way to embark on the decade long transformation that UK HE requires.

One essential element is transnational education – the opportunities were outlined in a recent International Higher Education Commission report – but its potential is not realised 50% of students are in only 15 institutions.

Often misplaced, concerns about quality assurance, investment costs and complex regulatory systems have prevented it from being more widely adopted; but TNE has never really been difficult, as the many successes show.

The UK is not alone in this increasing focus – Australia and many others are looking afresh, including, increasingly, traditional sending countries who see TNE as a means of halting “brain drain” and attracting international investment.

However, none are as big or sophisticated or as extensive in their offering as the UK, and on this basis we believe that TNE will become a major element of UK HE provision.

It all comes down to trust

TNE does present real challenges, including the need to comply with local regulations whilst maintaining the credibility of degrees, but particularly around the perception of TNE.

We need to develop a shared understanding internationally about the quality of TNE and address regulators concerns. We need to be more innovative – successful TNE goes beyond branch campuses or double degrees, the forms of TNE traditionally preferred.

At the same time, more consideration should be given to meeting local needs.

TNE is not simply an additional delivery site abroad, it needs to be viewed as a “start-up”, established to specifically reflect the local socio-economic context, the different market dynamics, tailored to local customer requirements and reflecting the new channels to market.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach

We need to consider the local and regional context, including the political and economic environments. Maximising the impact and value of TNE, including for employability and academic partnerships means extensive collaboration with local agencies, industries, and institutions.

Leading from the top

Government support for institutional leadership, and collaboration between agencies in the sector, is imperative to fully harness the potential of TNE.

“Any new government must recognise the potential of transnational education to enhance the UK’s global reputation in higher education”

For example, West Africa is poised to become one of the largest TNE markets and one where the UK has a significant competitive advantage as it is not a strategic priority for our competitors.

However, ministerial buy-in and support are essential to deliver this. Any new government must recognise the potential of TNE to enhance the UK’s global reputation in higher education.

The verdict

We are witnessing a rapid rise in the number of students seeking world-class education, but who increasingly encounter issues around access and affordability. Business 101 tells us that we need to create the capacity and capability to respond to this evolving global landscape.

That does not mean abandoning the unique role of onshore residential education.

It means embracing TNE as a strategic response to meet the objectives of UK higher education institutions; using it to enhance financial, academic and operational returns; to reassert our historic role of contributing to public good locally, nationally and internationally; and responding to the growing demand for international education delivered ‘closer to home’.

About the authors: This article was written by David Pilsbury, chief development officer at Oxford International Education Group, Fabrizio Trifiro, TNE expert and Board Member of INQAAHE, Janet Ilieva, founder & director at Education Insight 

The post To do or not to do transnational education?  appeared first on The PIE News.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt