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QAA commissioned to review and enhance the quality of UK TNE

Date: July 16 - 2020

UK universities have endorsed a strong, UK-wide approach to the quality enhancement of higher education delivered internationally, known as transnational education (TNE), helping to foster good learner communities and the sharing of good practice across the sector.

Universities UK and GuildHE – who between them represent 173 universities and higher education providers across the UK – have commissioned QAA to develop a new approach to reviewing and enhancing the quality of UK TNE. QAA will consult on a new review method later this year and will launch a programme of in-country enhancement activity in 2021.

The commission follows an extensive international consultation about the future of TNE review in the UK, with the aim of ensuring that students can continue to trust in the quality of their education. A report published today by QAA, Universities UK International (UUKi), and GuildHE found that universities want 'a system where a programme of TNE activities and resources was complemented by an in-country review schedule'.

Over 95% of respondents agreed that any system should retain a UK-wide approach. Around 60% supported a programme of in-country activity to enhance the quality of TNE.

Responses also indicated that there is a 'deep commitment' to the future of UK TNE among the UK's universities, and 'strong pride' in the way in which UK higher education and UK TNE is respected and valued around the world.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Chair of the joint UUKi/GuildHE/QAA Working Group on the Quality Assurance of TNE and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, said:  'I am delighted to see the results of the Consultation on Future Approaches to the External Quality Enhancement of TNE. It is very positive to see widespread support for a UK-wide approach. There is a commitment among universities, sector bodies and overseas partners to work together to enhance the quality of UK higher education which will ultimately benefit transnational students and their local communities'.

Dr David Llewellyn, Chair of GuildHE and Vice Chancellor of Harper Adams University, said: 'UK higher education has a positive impact on students around the world and makes a substantial contribution to the international reputation of the UK. As we all work through the longer-term implications of the current crisis, it will be important to continue to enhance the quality of the student experience wherever UK higher education is delivered. Following extensive feedback on the consultation GuildHE is pleased, along with Universities UK, to ask QAA to develop a new method to protect and enhance the quality of UK TNE'.

Douglas Blackstock, QAA's Chief Executive said: 'This commission by Universities UK and GuildHE is a powerful demonstration of the lasting commitment to the quality of UK TNE. It is also a strong endorsement of the work of QAA as the UK's independent quality body for higher education. Students, governments and quality agencies around the world can trust that UK TNE delivers a high-quality student experience from trusted institutions, backed up by a respected independent agency'.

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

Publication Date: 16 Jul 2020