Transnational education data collection systems: awareness, analysis, action


New TNE data collection framework published: May 2017

Original study published: June 2015


John McNamara and Dr Jane Knight

The British Council, in partnership with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), conceived this research project and co-funded it with support from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


There has been an exponential increase transnational education (TNE) in recent years. This rise has been both in the number of new TNE programmes offered, and also in new forms of TNE partnerships and delivery modes. However, the research and monitoring of these new developments is not keeping up with the rate of change. While opinion and anecdotal evidence reveal the benefits and risks attached to this burgeoning field, there continues to be a significant lack of research, robust data and information regarding TNE programmes - particularly in terms of host country TNE activity.

To address this issue, the British Council and DAAD commissioned this study to research the existence and characteristics of TNE data collection systems in host countries and the capacity to produce robust data on TNE programmes and enrolment rates. This report has three primary aims:

  • To raise awareness about the lack of TNE information and data in a field that is both growing and changing rapidly.
  • To provide an overview of ten host countries and three sending countries, all of which are at different stages of developing and operating a TNE data collection system, in order to identify good practices, as well as key issues and challenges.
  • To advocate for commitment and action by TNE active countries – both sending and host – to work towards a set of common definitions of TNE modes and programmes, and to adopt a more systematic approach to TNE data collection.