Posted: July 7th, 2021
Transnational education (TNE) has played a key role in internationalising higher education around the world. TNE can be defined as ‘higher education activities in which the learners are located in a host country different from the one where the awarding institution is based’ (Van der Wende, 2001, p. 440). In other words, TNE is where students study in their home country for a degree or other qualification from an institution abroad. According to Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA, 2013a), there were 570,665 students studying UK HE-level qualifications abroad in 2011/2012.
According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS, 2013), approximately 75% of UK higher education institutions (HEIs) now engage in transnational education, in more than 200 countries. TNE is delivered in a number of different ways, which include distance learning (with or without face-to-face teaching support) and in-country delivery, such as branch campuses, twinning programmes, and franchising arrangement. Oxford Brookes University is the largest single UK institution operating in the TNE market, with over 250,000 students. However, this statistic mainly comprises students studying on the BSc in Applied Accounting, and has a very low completion rate of around 10%.
The British Council have identified growth opportunities in TNE to 2020 (British Council, 2013). Currently, the countries offering a conducive climate for TNE are Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Other countries with future potential are Bahrain, Botswana, China, India, Mauritius, Oman, Qatar, Spain, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam (DBIS, 2013).
Since the United Arab Emirates became a country in 1971, the government has invested heavily in higher education: ‘Over the past five years many universities have opened their doors in the UAE, with some succeeding while others failing to deliver results either academically or economically’ (Mahani & Molki, 2011, p. 3). Successful institutions include the University of Wollongong (Australia), Heriot-Watt University (Scotland) and New York University, Abu Dhabi (USA), while the failures include George Mason University (USA), Michigan State University (USA) and the University of Pune (India).
Answer the following key questions:
What are the pros and cons of TNE?
Why do you think established universities want to open up branch campuses in the UAE? What makes the UAE so attractive?
What are the key factors in the success or failure of branch campuses in the UAE? Make a list.
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