TNE is key to growing global higher education market

30 April 2014

A major new piece of research has found the impact of transnational education (TNE) on host countries is overwhelmingly positive.  This study is the first in-depth look at the impact of TNE in the countries where it is delivered, and analyses the views of students, graduates, academics, policy makers and employers in ten host nations.

TNE students most valued the international outlook and analytical skills they gained from the programmes and viewed them as a way of developing their professional skills and furthering their careers. Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of TNE students believe the programmes offer good value for money, despite often costing more than local alternatives.

At a national level, TNE was thought to be having the greatest impact by providing increased access to higher education and improving the quality of local provision. There was some concern among higher education experts that where TNE institutions offered programmes already available locally, there was a limited impact on skills gaps, and the study found that TNE does not generally appear to be providing different programmes to those offered locally. However, students were firmly of the opinion that TNE qualifications gave them an edge in the jobs market, mainly because of the prestige of the foreign university and the fact that they had developed an international outlook.

TNE is growing rapidly across the world. According to a recent data from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, there are now more international students taking degrees offered by English universities in their home country than there are studying in England - with 545,000 students registered on TNE courses in 2012-13. Despite this, the report found a surprising lack of awareness of TNE courses within host countries. Only 39 per cent of non-TNE students were aware of the programmes and less than half (46 per cent) of non-TNE academics.

This research, Impacts of transnational education on host countries: academic, cultural, economic and skills impacts and implications of programme and provider mobility was undertaken by the British Council and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and launched on 30 April at the British Council’s Going Global 2014 conference for leaders of international education.

*Transnational education: the delivery of higher education programmes in a different country from the one where the awarding/overseeing institution is based