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Transnational education (TNE) - higher education delivered overseas - is an integral and expanding part of UK higher education provision. Over 80 percent of all UK degree-awarding bodies are engaged in some form in TNE, either through distance learning, partnerships, or branch campus arrangements. This provision is delivered in over 200 countries worldwide.

We review UK TNE as part of its mission to safeguard standards and improve the quality of UK higher education wherever it is delivered. In addition to looking at TNE through institutional reviews in the UK, we have developed a complementary TNE review process that includes visits to overseas delivery sites.

TNE reviews have traditionally been carried out on a country-by-country basis, to ensure the most efficient use of resources given the geographical spread and growing scale of UK TNE. Each year, a country with significant UK provision is selected. 

A country-based approach also allows us to gain an in-depth understanding of the specific features and challenges involved in operating in particular countries, and to establish stronger links with the host country quality assurance bodies. This understanding and intelligence can then be passed on to the UK higher education sector.

We regularly liaise with host country agencies to facilitate information sharing, to cooperate in quality assurance activities to avoid unnecessary duplication, and to lessen the burden on UK higher education providers.

TNE Consultation

The popularity of transnational education is directly connected to the reputation of UK higher education. Universities UK, GuildHE and QAA now want to hear from universities about how UK TNE can be delivered most effectively.

A consultation is currently being undertaken to scope the future form that a quality enhancement system of UK higher education TNE may take.

The consultation document is published below and responses should be submitted via our online survey.

Consultation on Future Approaches to the External Quality Enhancement of UK Higher Education Transnational Education

Publication Date: 16 Oct 2019

TNE Review

TNE Review is the process through which QAA, on behalf of Universities UK and GuildHE and in the interests of UK higher education, contributes to safeguarding and improving the academic quality and standards of UK higher education delivered overseas. By reviewing UK TNE, we provide assurance to governments, relevant bodies and students in host countries, as well as opportunities to increase mutual understanding and trust.

Transnational Education Review: Handbook

Publication Date: 02 Apr 2019

This review method focuses on the following aspects:

  • testing the implementation of policies and processes for safeguarding standards and enhancing the quality of TNE provision
  • gaining a detailed understanding of the TNE student experience
  • disseminating good practice in TNE provision to the wider UK higher education sector
  • enhancing cooperation with quality assurance bodies in UK TNE host countries.

TNE Review adopts a country-based approach, and allows for flexibility to take into account the different operating environments in which TNE is offered. It has been designed by consideration of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).

Recent reviews and reports