Thursday 28 February 2013

The countries that appear to present the best opportunities for developing trans-national education have been identified in a new study.

Research commissioned by the British Council defines the factors that create strong market conditions for TNE and compares 25 host countries to pinpoint the hotspots and countries with the potential to join them.

A report on the findings, The Shape of Things to Come 2; the evolution of trans-national education, also looks in detail at the impact of TNE on three key countries, China, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. To discover more about how the TNE market is developing globally, the British Council study collated data for 25 host countries to create an “Opportunities Matrix for TNE”. This assesses the strengths and weaknesses of countries in three areas – the “regulatory framework” for TNE, made up of government strategies and bodies, quality assurance systems, and accreditation of qualifications; the “market environment”, or indicators of demand for TNE; and existing “student and institution mobility levels”. Demand factors include economic / demographic, infrastructure / capacity, socio-cultural and business environment indicators.

The matrix assigns each country to one of five “opportunity groups”, determined by distance from the mean score. The results suggest that Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have the most favourable environment for TNE.

The second and third groups of host countries – Qatar and South Korea, followed by Bahrain, Botswana, China, India, Mauritius, Oman, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam – each have strengths and weakness in different areas. Thailand, for example, scores highly for a positive regulatory environment and South Korea for a positive demand environment.

John McNamara, who led the research, says the study finds that the TNE hot spots are generally those with a well-developed regulatory environment, which is often a response to increasing TNE activity in the first place, so the forces at play are interrelated and complex. Helpful regulatory conditions include a clear strategy for TNE with specific government departments or organisations that promote it, and reliable quality assurance and accreditation of courses. Incentives offered to attract overseas institutions and the willingness of overseas governments and employers to recognise qualifications from foreign universities also contribute to the regulatory environment.

While the regulatory and demand environments are generally found to map each other fairly closely, there are examples of countries that score significantly higher in one category compared with the other. The matrix suggests, for example, that demand conditions for TNE in India are significantly more favourable than the regulatory environment.

The study also looks at the impact of TNE on three host countries, and finds that the TNE motivations and modes of delivery can vary significantly from country to country. The case studies find evidence that TNE is fulfilling many of its intended objectives:

In Malaysia, TNE is contributing to economic goals by helping to stem the outflow of students and currency and by attracting international students to Malaysia

In China, TNE is helping local universities to learn much from their international partners by way of programme delivery and administrative skills

In the UAE, it is supporting the country by providing increased higher education access to the country’s large expatriate population

Mr McNamara, lead analyst at McNamara Economic Research, said that in many countries TNE has moved up the policy agenda, signalling its growing significance.

“This study found that TNE data provision is improving, with three sending countries and seven host countries now reporting data. However, direct country comparisons remain difficult due to methodological differences. Data improvements are largely due to improved quality assurance monitoring in host countries and a higher overall priority being given to TNE,” he said.

Kevin Van-Cauter, Higher Education Adviser at the British Council said: “As attracting international students to campuses becomes ever-more competitive, TNE presents a tremendous alternative for institutions to develop successful partnerships that can meet both their own ambitions, and the needs of the host country. TNE has now grown significantly in the last decade, and this study shows that the greatest growth has occurred where host countries have clear ambitions and strategies to encourage this type of provision.  In these environments TNE may offer the best way forward for international growth. This study provides vital information for countries that wish to establish themselves as TNE host countries, and for universities that plan to develop TNE provision. It shows that to succeed, universities cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach, but must adapt their strategies according to local conditions.”

The report’s findings will be debated at the British Council’s Going Global 2013 conference for the world’s education leaders, to be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from March 4 to 6.

About the British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

We work in more than 100 countries, and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of £739 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%.  We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.

For more information, please visit: