Friday 11 December 2015


Opportunities are growing for UK higher education providers to expand in India, new research by the British Council has found.

India has the largest university-age population in the world, and combined with its significant economic growth – there is now an urgent demand for innovation in education and training delivery – including transnational (TNE) delivery.

The report found that enrolments on TNE programmes have risen steadily over the last five years to approximately 13,000 students (2013/14); those coming into the UK on TNE programmes now contribute up to a fifth of all Indian undergraduate students in the UK.

Richard Everitt, Director of Education and Society for the British Council in India, commented "This research shows that TNE opportunities must be taken seriously by any UK Universities and Colleges that want a long-term partnership with India. The report provides a practical guide on how to consider, establish and manage TNE relationships with an Indian institution. Just last month Prime Ministers Modi and Cameron announced the ‘2016 UK-India Year of Education, Research and Innovation’ and TNE growth will be a key aspect of that."

The report states that successful TNE partnerships had given rise to many direct benefits: Indian partners and staff noted a quick start-up of programmes, international training for staff and tighter approaches to quality assurance. UK universities reported that they had gained a new understanding and networks with India, increased staff and student exchanges with greater potential for student mobility to the UK.

The report also found that many of the India-UK TNE partnerships were underpinned by strong staff relationships - teams with a shared outlook and understanding. Investment in team-building was identified as crucial.

Regulation has been considered a stumbling block to TNE expansion in India, but the British Council report concludes that the changes to TNE requirements recently introduced by the Indian University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) are supportive and allow foreign degrees to be delivered through TNE partnership arrangements.

However, there remains an associated need for parallel affiliation of any programme with an Indian university for a degree award. A further requirement is that all Indian education activities must be not-for-profit. The report notes that some challenges remain regarding the recognition of foreign degrees, particularly for distance learning, but the recent Association of Indian Universities (AIU) requirements offer some flexibility in defining equivalences of awards.

Two key challenges for foreign TNE expansion in India identified by the research are price sensitivity and cultural differences. The relatively low fee levels for degree programmes in India will be a challenge for foreign universities with a higher cost base.

Moreover, cultural differences at both institutional and individual levels need to be recognised and addressed, the British Council research recommends. Potentially contrasting areas include cultures of learning, assessment and institutional management.


Notes to Editor

Read report here

For more information and copies of the report please contact Nicola Norton, Senior Press Officer, British Council on 0207 389 4889 or

The research was carried out in UK and India in autumn 2015 by a consortium led by Neil Kemp in the UK and Joy Joyti Nandi in India, with Sudhanshu Bhushan (National University of Educational Planning and Administration), Vijay Vrat Arya (University of Delhi) and Rajani Naidoo (University of Bath).

 A total of 56 Indian institutions were contacted, and detailed follow up was undertaken with 42 of these. Over150 programmes were identified as involving some form of TNE partnership.


About the British Council

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally. 

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