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Sector-wide International Consultation Maps out the Future of UK Transnational Education

Date: June 8 - 2020

Following a three-month sector-wide international consultation, Universities UK, GuildHE and QAA have endorsed new findings that will map out the future of approaches to quality enhancement of UK transnational education (TNE) provision.

The three organisations will publish a summary of the consultation results and analysis before the next academic year, after which QAA will be invited to lead on developing a new method and approach to quality enhancement of UK TNE provision.

The consultation drew responses from 105 organisations worldwide, including 74 universities across the UK, representative groups, overseas quality bodies, student representation, and individual responses.

The consultation focused on key aspects UK TNE provision, from its guiding principles to governance and funding, and found predominant agreement that any enhancement should continue to follow a UK-wide approach to ensure consistent experience and quality across UK TNE provision.

Douglas Blackstock, QAA’s Chief Executive, said: 'The findings of this joint consultation provide an excellent opportunity to help continue to support and enhance this important area for UK higher education. The responses demonstrated a deep commitment to the development of TNE, and a strong pride in the international recognition that it already has. We’ll be working to deliver a new model for quality enhancement, based on the findings – and will consult with the sector further in the autumn as this is developed.'

Vivienne Stern, UUKi's Director, said “The UK is a global leader in transnational education, delivering high-quality degrees in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. To maintain and strengthen that position, it’s vital that we listen to the needs of students, institutions, and overseas partners, and respond appropriately to an entirely new global situation. The results of this consultation will ensure we’re well placed to do just that, enhancing UK TNE provision wherever it is delivered across the world.' 

Alex Bols, GuildHE’s Deputy Chief Executive, said: 'UK higher education is delivered across the globe and has an international reputation for excellence. As global higher education considers the longer-term implications of the current crisis, it will be important that we continue to enhance the quality of the student experience wherever UK higher education is delivered. The extensive feedback to the consultation will enable us to bring forward proposals that will safeguard and develop this reputation.'

142 providers offer overseas higher education programmes in 226 locations worldwide, delivering UK higher education to more than 650,000 students and contributing more than £600 million to the UK economy. As the COVID-19 challenge continues, more students could choose UK degrees in country. The development of the new UK TNE enhancement model will also carefully take this new context into account.

More information about TNE review can be found on the QAA website.