The number of international branch campuses operating worldwide hit 249 in 2015 after more than a decade of steady growth. China has overtaken the UAE as the country hosting the largest number of IBCs, while the US and Europe are driving growth.
China may no longer be a land as fertile for establishing international branch campuses as it once was, but institutions can gain strong, on the ground engagement through university centres, the report argues.
Online learning is a powerful asset not only to universities’ individual funding and internationalisation strategies, but also countries’ soft power. However, this requires "substantial capital" and commitment to ensuring quality, experts have said.
Despite undergoing major reform over the last three decades, China's higher education system still faces significant obstacles to recruit international students and staff and develop world class research according to the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.
Doug Becker, CEO of Laureate Education, has predicted far more private-public partnerships in the future as higher education provision becomes more competitive. He also said his company focused on opening up access to education rather than the political context of a partner country.
There is “no question that suspect and outright fraudulent practice exists” among some agents, but there is an indisputable need for agents in international education, a report by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE) has concluded.
The UK's position as the world's number two study destination was confirmed this week by new Google-led insight into student searches online into education opportunities, but the report predicts that demand for a UK education will shift toward transnational and online programmes.