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British Council to work with QAA for TNE

The UK intends to remain at the forefront of global Transnational Education (TNE) opportunities, and the British Council used the launch reception of its latest TNE research dossier last week to announce a new MoU with qualifications authority, QAA, to help leverage opportunity to enhance the UK’s reputation.

Universities Minister Willetts at the launch of the latest TNE research

In the UK alone, more international students are taking UK qualifications abroad then in the country

The two organisations will work closely to develop a partnership that has global TNE delivery in its scope. “We are concerned to protect and enhance any course offered under the UK banner,” said Jo Beall, the British Council’s Director of Education and Society, announcing the news at the launch event that was also attended by Universities Minister, David Willetts.

Willetts supported the news, nodded to the opportunity that TNE presents but added that MOOCs were another area of TNE potential that were not covered in the study, The Shape of Things to Come, which assesses TNE potential and the impact on a host country.

He made it clear that the UK needs to invest in virtual platforms as well as TNE delivery models.

There was broad concensus among the panel of experts, including host country practitioners, that TNE would remain a fast-changing sector of international education, which the UK has clearly earmarked for further development in its new industrial strategy for education exports.

Qatar and South Korea also have above average prospects

Whether in the form of international branch campuses, joint degrees or twinning programmes, TNE has become a key component to the internationalisation of education. In the UK alone, more international students are taking UK qualifications abroad than in the country – 571,000 overseas compared to 488,000 domestically.

Based on influencers including government policies to facilitate inbound TNE, economic factors driving demand for foreign degrees and established quality assurance systems, the study aims to show which countries are “hot spots” for TNE development.

Examining existing TNE models in 25 countries, the report determined that Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the UAE are the countries with the most conducive environments to host Transnational Education (TNE) programmes in the next two to three years due to their well developed regulatory systems and healthy economies.

Qatar and South Korea also have above average prospects and Vietnam, India and China are among the countries showing average opportunity.

The report marks an important differentiator between higher and lower ranking countries is the existence of a dedicated agency with responsibility for TNE like Malaysia’s Private Higher Education Management Sector. Robust quality regulations are also important in providing recognition of qualifications, clarity on the establishment procedures for TNE programmes and sustainability in the sector.

As TNE tends to be more expensive than domestic education the report shows that in general, the market will be reflective of GDP. “While a blunt measure of opportunity, this data suggests that economic growth will remain accommodative to TNE activity for the next two years,” it states.

As the first study of its kind in both breadth and purpose, The Shape of Things to Come – The evolution of transnational education: data, definitions, opportunities and impacts analysis” also acknowledges that a clear lack of data and consistent collecting methods make it almost impossible to paint a clear picture of the market.

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