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UK TNE a “success story” in Malaysia, report finds

UK degrees offered in Malaysia – the second-largest host country for UK transnational education – have been praised as being both relevant to the local market and employment needs, as well as meeting the expectations of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, according to a new report.

Malaysia is the second-largest host country for UK TNE, and the largest if distance-learning and Oxford Brookes' partnership with ACCA are excluded. Photo: good free photos

Over 50% of all non-local programs in Malaysia lead to a UK degree

A review by the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education – conducted in close engagement with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency – found that the quality of UK qualifications being delivered in Malaysia was similar to those delivered in the UK.

“UK TNE provision in Malaysia provides students with a high-quality experience”

“UK branch campuses offer degrees that are equivalent to those offered in the UK, with the same academic standards and the same content with appropriate contextualisation,” the report noted.

Franchised programs, typically designed by the UK university, are “essentially the same” as the same program delivered in the UK, while dual-award programs in Malaysia will remain popular from the students’ perspective due to perceived enhanced employability opportunities.

UK higher education in Malaysia is a success story for UK universities, for Malaysia as a country and, most importantly, for students taking UK degrees in the country, QAA stated.

QAA’s executive director of Operations, Vicki Stott, said the review “highlights how UK TNE provision in Malaysia provides students with a high-quality experience”.

“It’s been achieved through an investment in staff development; systems to enable the student voice to be heard and responded to; effective communication and partnership relations; and recognition of the local context,” Stott explained.

“These qualities will support UK TNE provision as it moves into a post-pandemic world.”

QAA is developing separate advice for UK TNE providers to maintain and uphold the quality standards, which will be published on its Covid-19 response page.

TNE management processes in Malaysia are “generally well developed”, ensuring standards and quality are equivalent to similar provision delivered in the UK, the report stated.

Over 50% of all non-local programs in Malaysia lead to a UK degree, with the vast majority provision taking the form of franchise or validation partnerships with local providers, it continued.

The report, however, noted that there had been a decrease in TNE student numbers in the past few years, brought about largely due to an increasingly competitive market, a developing local higher education sector and changes in local regulations.

Head Education (Malaysia) at the British Council, Prabha Sundram, suggested the report needs to be considered when analysing the post Covid-19 implications on UK TNE provision in Malaysia.

“[It] will subsequently aid us in co-creating mutually beneficial ways of supporting the TNE sector throughout this rapidly evolving situation, and beyond,” Sundram explained.

Both MQA and QAA are “fully committed to strategically work together towards enhancing the quality of higher education in Malaysia and the UK within respective legal mandates, quality assurance policies and frameworks,” deputy CEO, Malaysian Qualifications Agency, Khairul Salleh bin Mohamed Sahari, added.

TNE was also the focus of a recent webinar, in which educators urged HEIs to hone their TNE provision to mitigate the potential changes in a post-coronavirus educational landscape.

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One Response to UK TNE a “success story” in Malaysia, report finds

  1. Great to see the reports finally out. It’s been a great pleasure to work with MQA and BC Malaysia throughout the review exercise, and with the TNE review team in carrying out the visits and developing the reports. Malaysia has been a very interesting location to review given to the diversity of TNE models it hosts, the maturity of the local regulatory system, and its different understanding of dual, double and joint awards.

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