Transnational education, partnerships and internationalisation #GEI 75

Patrick Brothers
Jan 8, 2017 · 5 min read

This week we explore the rise of transnational education in the international student landscape. Transnational education — or its more common abbreviation ‘TNE’ — broadly refers to the provision of education to international students in offshore locations, mainly through satellite campuses or distance learning. While setting up overseas campuses used to be the default model, there appears to be a systemic shift in the nature of TNE, with countries increasingly focused on developing joint partnerships with local providers rather than simply hosting overseas universities. A new release by the British Council reveals a growing interest in TNE pathway programmes where students enrol in both the host country and the awarding country as part of their overall degree, also known as ‘twinning programmes’.

Looking at TNE providers, Australia and the UK are widely known as top performers in the delivery of transnational education programmes. In this feature, UK-based HEGLobal and the Australian Department of Education and Training both provide a snapshot of their respective TNE provision. However, while the TNE market may have been traditionally dominated by Australia and the UK, this landscape is fast changing. European countries are becoming emerging TNE players — interestingly with motivations that are quite different from Anglo-Saxon countries. While the latter countries generally undertake TNE activities primarily for economic reasons, the German Academic Exchange Service reveals that the German approach to TNE is largely driven by the broader goal of internationalisation — such as the desire to improve visibility of German higher education, engage with international markets, and find new partners for teaching and research. It seems to be a model that many countries are shifting to as well, especially as they seek to differentiate their provision in an increasingly competitive higher education landscape.

International transfer students: What makes them successful?

Download (Paid report) Report by British Council, August 2016

As modes of transnational education (TNE) delivery continue to evolve, there is a growing interest in TNE pathway programmes where students enrol in both the host country and the awarding country as part of their overall degree. This report reveals that one third of non-EU students in first-degree programs in the UK are TNE students transferring into the system, many from large source countries like China and Malaysia. The report identifies factors that can make TNE transfer arrangements successful, such as English language proficiency, pedagogical differences, and access to student support services such as peer mentoring. As international student interest in transfer pathways remains strong and pathways to the UK become increasingly important, this report provides an invaluable resource for institutions looking to develop and enhance the success of their TNE partnerships and outcomes for students on pathway programmes.

Transnational education grows at five times the rate of international student recruitment into the UK

Download Report by British Council, June 2016

In just two years, transnational education (TNE) delivered by UK higher education institutions grew by 13%, five times faster than the 2.7% growth rate of international student recruitment into the UK. 28% of UK HE TNE programmes are delivered for students in Asia, whilst the European Union accounts for 23%, Africa for 14% and the Middle East for 13%. The nature of TNE is shifting, with host countries looking to develop partnerships focusing on joint programme delivery rather than simply hosting overseas universities. The report aims to better understand the TNE landscape, showcasing twelve case studies of TNE provision — including international campuses, joint schools, online programmes and degree-validating partnerships — to assess what has worked well for that particular provision and offer lessons for sustainable TNE growth.

A snapshot of transnational education by Australian providers

Download Report by the Australian Department of Education and Training, September 2015

Out of the 350,000 international students in Australian higher education institutions in 2014, almost a quarter were enrolled at offshore campuses and a further 25,500 were distance education students. Together, these 111,000 transnational students represent 32% of all Australian higher education international students in 2014 (up by 1% on 2013). This snapshot analyses the provision of transnational education in the Australian higher education sector, revealing some key findings on the transnational student population: 1) 68% of students were enrolled in Bachelor courses, compared to 21% in Masters by coursework, 2) The most popular field of education was Business, followed by Engineering, Arts, and IT, and 3) The top 5 countries (in terms of nationality) were Singapore, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

How the transnational model in Germany differs from other countries

Download Report by the German Academic Exchange Service, 2014

English-speaking countries have traditionally dominated the TNE market but there are now emerging players. This report discusses the German approach to TNE — which is largely based on a collaborative partnership model between the institution abroad and a local partner. According to the report, this allows for a balance of interest where the host country benefits from the new higher education infrastructure and new study opportunities available to a growing student population, while the partners from abroad benefit from an improved position in the international education market. The paper discusses the benefits of TNE and concludes by outlining key performance criteria for the success of TNE projects, including: Knowledge of general conditions in the host country, good integration of the project within the home institution, clear agreements on collaboration with foreign partners, sustainable and secure financing, and a targeted connection with Germany.

Which universities will rise, and how will they do it?

Download Report by Firetail, August 2016

Emerging markets like China are seeing massive investment in higher education due to factors such as the burgeoning middle class, the increasing demand for education and the centrality of higher education to national growth. According to Firetail, this has driven a gold rush of established universities setting up new campuses overseas to capture this opportunity. This report explores global disruptive trends in higher education, putting forth that those that succeed will be ambitious, fast-improving universities that take advantage of disruptive global trends that create unique opportunities for innovation. Ambitious universities will pursue a clear direction in five areas: Differentiated Excellence; Local, Social & Global relevance; Integrated Planning, People & Culture; and Academic Entrepreneurship, while extending the research quality that is core to differentiating universities from other institutions.


This Week’s Infographic

Latest facts and figures on UK international education

Source: Universities UK

Navitas Ventures Blog

Navitas Ventures is the corporate venture arm of Navitas. We are on a mission to accelerate innovation in education globally.

Patrick Brothers

Written by

Co-Founder HolonIQ

Navitas Ventures Blog

Navitas Ventures is the corporate venture arm of Navitas. We are on a mission to accelerate innovation in education globally.

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