The research found that TNE in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China is not a substitute for outbound mobility, rather it forms part of larger capacity building strategies within education.
Destination countries should “move fast” to establish themselves in various markets across the world, the report counsels, where demand for HE exceeds supply “in order to ensure their place in these development initiatives.”
Destination countries should “move fast” to establish themselves in various markets across the world where demand for HE exceeds supply
TNE can also play a complimentary role in attracting students, acting as a “stepping stone” to post-graduate study abroad it concludes.
Commissioned by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education and carried out Dr Vangelis Tsiligiris is College Principal and Researcher in Cross-Border Higher Education at MBS College of Crete the report combines UNESCO and HESA data with opinions from TNE experts in each market.
The UK is the largest provider of TNE followed by Australia and the US. Enrolments for UK TNE in the form of international branch campuses, joint-degree programmes, distance learning, twinning programmes and duel degree programmes reached 598,925 in 2012-2013, up 5% on the previous year according to HESA.
However critics allege that figure is distorted as almost half of the total is represented by ACCA/Oxord Brookes University accounting programme where enrolments are mostly concentrated in Pakistan.
The figures used in the report have removed ACCA/Oxford Brookes numbers and show that UK students studying overseas grew to 337,255 students in 2012-2013, a 76% increase since 2008.
Malaysia is the top country in terms of numbers for TNE exports where enrolments have grown 122% in the last four years. Top providers are lead by Staffordshire University which has a twinning programme with Disted College in Penang, University of East London and the University of Nottingham.
Meanwhile, similar to other countries in the research with the exception of China, Malaysian students to travelling to the UK study declined only slightly indicating outbound mobility was unaffected by the growth in TNE in the country.
The research found demand is driven by the country and reputation of the awarding institutions, local capacity constraints and the high cost of studying abroad.
Host countries also benefit from increased inbound mobility as TNE attracts regional students for reasons including employability, culture, language and religion.
For example, Malaysia is a more attractive choice for international students than Singapore, which is more expensive and consequently less attractive for international students who seek a cheaper alternative to studying in Australia or the UK the research says.
But other international students tend to prefer Singapore because of its “vibrant job market which encourages students to come here as well as large populations of Chinese, Indian and Malay” Guy Perring, Director of Client Services Asia at i-graduate was quoted as saying.
The report highlights an overall decline in outbound students from the host countries but concludes that the fall is not due to the increase in TNE numbers.
TNE appears to emerge as an alternative route for students in TNE host countries to access higher education and/or acquire an international qualification
“This is attributed to the local government policies to tackle brain-drain rather than the development of the TNE market alone,” it states. “Overall, TNE appears to emerge as an alternative route for students in TNE host countries to access higher education and/or acquire an international qualification rather than a substitute for outbound student mobility.”
And despite not being connected to overall mobility, host institution would do well to explore TNE opportunities in order to make up for the loss in students studying abroad.
“TNE also acts a catalyst for sustaining international student mobility through complementary actions (ie twinning) as well as by establishing a global reputation for TNE-exporting institutions,” it says.