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Covid-19 spurs in-person and TNE route “mix”

International students faced with travel restrictions, visa delays or who are unwilling to leave home due to Covid-19 are increasingly opting for a mixture of at-home online study and on-campus learning, which is kindling hopes of wider acceptance for online and TNE qualifications globally.

TNECovid-19 could lead governments to grant wider recognition to different study models. Photo: Pixabay

38% of Chinese TNE courses are now fully in-country.

“One thing we’re seeing this year is people mixing the two routes on the very same course,” said HEPI director Nick Hillman, who is also a governor at the University of Manchester, during a PIE Live panel earlier this month.

“We have had some people stay at home but say they still very much expect to come here in January”

“We have had some people stay at home but say they still very much expect to come here in January. They do the beginning of their course from home and then do two thirds of the course here in the UK.”

Hillman noted he was interested in seeing “the degree to which those parts of the world that have perhaps been a little bit sniffy about TNE in the past” may change their approach to ensure students’ online studies are recognised.

“I think the current crisis might change that. In fact, I think it’s already evident that it is changing,” he added.

While many international students are starting classes remotely, some universities have also made agreements with partners to host students on their campuses.

National Taiwan University told The PIE News it was hosting almost 300 local students unable to travel abroad to partner universities. While on campus they can continue to take for-credit courses as well as access the university’s sports centre and library.

UUKi director Vivienne Stern referred to the “recognition of online qualifications” by governments as “an issue in a huge number of countries”, and encouraged the UK’s recently appointed international education champion Steve Smith to advocate for “the quality of study online”.

Whether demand for routes that combine remote and on-campus learning will continue post-Covid is yet to be seen, and there is some evidence of a shift towards models with less study abroad opportunities. A report from China earlier this year noted 38% of TNE courses there now fully in-country.

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