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What do host countries think of TNE? New study shares insight…

A pilot study commissioned by the British Council offers a first glimpse into the impact of TNE on host nations, institutions and students. A profile of the typical TNE student was presented this week at a high-level HE Summit, while delegates heard from host countries for their opinions. Sara Custer reports.
May 16 2013
3 Min Read

A pilot study commissioned by the British Council offers a first glimpse into the impact of TNE on host nations, institutions and students. It reveals that the number and types of TNE programs have increased substantially over the last decade, led mostly by the UK and Australia in the form of international branch campuses, double degree programmes and validating overseas courses.

Presenting the research at the Higher Education Summit in London this week, authors Jane Knight, adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, and John McNamara, founder of McNamara Economic Research, explained that results conclude that in most cases TNE is beneficial for all players meeting skills gaps, upskilling the labour force, increasing knowledge sharing and offering positive socio-culture impacts.

Host of the HE Summit, the British Council, nevertheless called for the international education community to consider TNE from the perspective of non-G8 countries, during an event that is held traditionally by the nation with G8 presidency (this is the third year, following similar summits hosted by IIE in the USA and Campus France).

Dr Jo Beall, Director of Education and Society at the British Council, opened the event citing the challenge to provide skilled graduates who also contribute to HE research.”We need to look at TNE from the lens of non-G8 countries,” she said. “It’s dangerous to think training upskilled workers and entrepreneurers is enough.”

Looking at the impact in 10 host countries including China, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa and the UAE, key findings of the survey show that TNE benefits economies by attracting international students and faculty while still retaining local students who are able to combine work with studying.

Positive academic contributions include capacity building and knowledge sharing between the two institutions and students reported studying in English a high priority.

“It’s dangerous to think training upskilled workers and entrepreneurers is enough”

Evidence did show TNE contributing to brain drain in some cases but in general survey respondents said that programmes met skills gaps, enhancing communication and analytical thinking.

Among the high-level names in attendance at the summit – which had TNE as its theme and was organised to coincide with the G8 summit in Belfast next month – various delegates provided fascinating insight into the status of TNE in traditional “recipient” countries.

Lucky Moahi from the Botswana Education Hub said TNE increases HE enrolments, internationalisation and helps retain graduates during a time when the government has allocated 8% of the country’s GDP to education.

Mohd Yazid Bin And Hamid, CEO of the newly launched Education Malaysia Global Services, said TNE in Malaysia attracts foreign students from neighbouring countries, contributing to the government’s overall goals to have 200,000 internationals students by 2020.

And Dr. Mukhtar Amhed, CEP of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission confirmed that TNE increases quality control in Pakistan, where there is “big potential for higher education” but poor infrastructure.

“As a government policy we welcome TNE with no worry about Western-centric knowledge sharing”

In China, Minister Counsellor for Education at the Chinese Embassy, Shen Yang, downplayed any concerns about TNE being largely a construct of the West. He said, “As a government policy we welcome TNE with no worry about Western-centric knowledge sharing.”

Author of the report, Knight, observed that the finding are preliminary and that the study has “identified questions we need to explore further”.

“We had the chance to drill down and get the impact based on experiential evidence,” she said. “But we need to form opinions and claims about the benefits and risks about TNE based on systematic data collection.”

The research included a survey of 269 TNE graduates mostly from Botswana, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Mexico, interviews with 10 TNE experts in receiving countries as well as with 13 host institutions.

Authors of the report said that the evidence revealed a different profile of TNE students than originally thought: 60% of respondents were between 25-35 years old, 45% were studying undergrad degrees, 51% of those degrees were in business and most had not previously studied abroad.

Daniel Obst and Allan Goodman of IIE

Daniel Obst and Allan Goodman of IIE

Despite the preliminary findings, the study highlights the need for more robust data across the sector. “We have gone some way to show the overall positive bearing that overseas delivery of higher education programmes can have,” said Kevin Van-Cauter, Higher Education Adviser at the British Council.

Educators at the event also discussed the need for a more accurate definition of TNE in order to collect more solid data and the importance of partnerships that encourage two-way exchange of ideas between host and provider.

The event attracted an impressive roll call from around the world; names such as Karen McBride, CEO of CBIE; Dorothe Ruland, Secretary-General of DAAD in Germany; Freddy Weima, Director-General of NUFFIC; Michiko Suzuki, Executive Director of the Student Exchange Dept at Japan Student Services Organisation (JASSO) in Japan; and Daniel Obst and Allan Goodman of IIE, one of the initial instigators of the G8 HE Summit series.

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