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Report: TNE benefits “need more detail”

TNE collaboration in Europe needs reform so universities can better understand and utilise its benefits, according to the author of a new report from the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities.

The report notes that “little systematic work on the benefits” of transnational partnership for the sector exist. Photo: Pexels

The exact meaning of the benefits [of TNE collaboration] are left open

The Transnational education and mobility in higher education: looking back – looking forward paper examines European universities’ approaches to transnational collaboration, as well as innovation and policy implications.

“The sector’s current support and participation in international education activities shows the buy-in,” said Jo Magouri, professor in sociolinguistics and the university-level academic director for education and internationalisation at the University of Warwick.

“To build on this momentum, we need to approach transnational collaboration with a new holistic approach which must cut across resourcing, careers, admin and pedagogical support, and infrastructure.”

The current system for general international collaboration, according to the report, shows that the actual workings of transnational collaboration remain vague. 

The report notes that “little systematic work on the benefits” of transnational partnership for the sector exist, both in policy discourse and scholarship. 

According to the European Commission, benefits – according to only anecdotal evidence – include improved internationalisation, improved and diversified educational offerings and improved students’ employability, among other advantages.

However, the report points out that the exact meaning of these benefits are left open, as is how international collaboration is the “way to achieve” such benefits. 

“Policy priorities should build on existing good practices and have a clear and added value for institutions and academics to secure the sector’s buy-in,” the report recommended. 

The same goes for TNE cooperation benefits – listed by the EC as increasing global competitiveness, helping to tackle global challenges and nurturing equality. 

“This list is, yet again, intuitively in line with the vision of a global, border free international education – but, meanings and processes remain at high level and therefore need operationalisation in order to be distilled into the activities, processes and structures that are necessary to get there,” the report noted.

“Meanings and processes remain at high level and therefore need operationalisation”

Traditional collaboration methods in TNE will suffer without further investment, and the benefits of it will reach “less of the student body”, considering only a small fraction of students actually go into study abroad or joint programs. 

In the report, Magouri recommended that the “holistic” approach needs a “nuanced and diverse set of learning activities involving multiple mobilities”.

“[We must draw] on an internationalisation approach that is based on an educational model synchronised with the complexity of real-world problems.

“Universities need to lead on changing the practice and narrative for innovation in internationalisation of education. Research should be used for evidence-based policy recommendations,” Magouri added.

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