Transnational education (TNE) is an important area for UK higher degree-awarding providers. 142 UK providers have students on TNE programmes and more than 650,000 students study for UK awards through transnational provision, including through open and distance learning. The Department for Education (DfE) estimates that UK higher education TNE contributes over £600 million in exports to the UK economy and is currently delivered in 226 locations worldwide.
As the UK's quality experts, QAA has conducted over 45 country reviews of the UK's transnational education. In July 2020, following an extensive international consultation about the future of TNE review, Universities UK and GuildHE commissioned QAA to develop a new approach to reviewing and enhancing the quality of UK TNE. We will consult on a new review method later this year and will launch a programme of in-country enhancement activity in 2021. A summary report on the consultation has also been published.
QAA is also developing separate advice for UK providers during the pandemic response period, available in our COVID-19 support and guidance section.
The UK Government has explicitly expressed interest in supporting the growth of TNE by higher education institutions, recognising its economic benefits and soft power returns. The International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth, published in March 2019, aims at 'supporting TNE as a key growth area'. Specific initiatives, including the 'Global Wales' and 'Connected Scotland', also support TNE.
For UK universities, approaches to TNE are part of wider internationalisation strategies aimed at building mutually beneficial partnerships embracing research and knowledge transfer, as well as education, staff and student mobility. Internationalisation helps to ensure that all students studying for UK awards are equipped to operate in a global society.