Thursday 20 October 2022


Transnational education (TNE) partnerships are a key contributor to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, says 'The Value of Transnational Education' report published today.  The new research shows how governments and higher education institutions are making use of TNE to enhance the quality of higher education provision.

The report also finds that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of higher education by highlighting the importance of long-term international partnerships and accelerating investment into distance and online learning.  Many institutions noted that their relations with overseas partners had strengthened as a result.

Spanning over 12 geographies, this new report showcases the variety of value and impact TNE can have across and within countries.  Sixty-eight per cent of respondents said TNE widened access for students from underrepresented socioeconomic groups, contributing to better gender balance (63 per cent), and widening access for underrepresented ethnicities (37 per cent). 

For some UK universities, TNE has become an international extension of their mission to increase participation. The report also found a reduction in brain drain was an explicit value of TNE partnerships; students can gain an internationally recognised qualification much more affordably, and tuition fees are invariably much lower at the TNE partner than if they studied at the home campuses.

This research drew on 79 interviews with education ministries, regulatory bodies, higher education institutions and a survey of over 100 higher education stakeholders involved in the delivery or regulation of transnational education in both host and provider countries.

In addition to stakeholders from the UK, evidence was gathered from Egypt, Greece, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan. 

Maddalaine Ansell, Director Education, British Council, said: ‘“It’s brilliant that we now have stronger evidence of how TNE partnerships contribute to the UK’s global ambitions – especially our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. TNE partnerships build capacity and strengthen higher education systems overseas improving student experience and graduate employability.  At the same time they build the reputation of the UK higher education systems as among the best in the world and demonstrate that we want to use our assets as a force for good.”


Notes to Editor

Read the full report here


This research involved an extensive literature review and analysis of the existing body of knowledge. It drew on 79 interviews conducted across 12 geographies with higher education stakeholders, including ministries, regulatory bodies, and higher education institutions (pro-vice chancellors, academic programme leads and international partnership managers); a survey of over 100 higher education stakeholders involved in the delivery or regulation of transnational education in both host and provider countries; and 23 impact case studies from 21 countries, including 13 designated official development assistance (ODA) countries. 

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The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We support peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. We work with people in over 200 countries and territories and are on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2020–21 we connected with 67 million people directly and with 745 million people overall.