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TNE “hotspots” identified by British Council

Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates are the countries offering the most favourable environments to develop transnational education, a new British Council study reveals. However, hubs from Botswana to Korea may have the potential to become “TNE hotspots” in the future.

Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the UAE offer the most favourable environment for TNE

The Shape of Things to Come 2 compares 25 host countries, defining the factors that create strong market conditions for TNE. These include “regulatory framework”, covering government input, quality assurance systems and accreditation; “student and institution mobility levels”; and the “market environment” or indicators of demand, such as economic and demographic factors.

“To succeed, universities cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach, but must adapt their strategies”

Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the UAE top the list because of their “well-developed regulatory frameworks”,  according to John McNamara who led the research.

All have a “clear strategy for TNE with specific government departments or organisations that promote it, and reliable quality assurance and accreditation of courses”. Incentives to attract overseas institutions have helped.

Kevin Van-Cauter, higher education adviser at the British Council said: “TNE has now grown significantly in the last decade, and this study shows that the greatest growth has occurred where host countries have clear ambitions and strategies to encourage this type of provision.”

Other destinations may be rising, however, notably Qatar and South Korea. Bahrain, Botswana, China, India, Mauritius, Oman, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam follow them.

The report also looks in detail at the impact of TNE on China, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, and finds TNE fulfilling many of its intended objectives, despite differing motivations and modes of delivery.

In Malaysia, for instance, it is contributing to economic goals by stemming the flight of students and currency, and by attracting international students to the country.

In China, it is helping modernise local universities as they learn from their international partners, while in the UAE it is helping up-skill the large expatriate population. “To succeed, universities cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach, but must adapt their strategies according to local conditions,” said Van-Cauter.

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