There is no question that more and more students across the world are choosing to study international higher education programmes without moving to the country that awards the qualification. So we are talking about so-called transnational education, or TNE, also known as cross-border mobility of academic programmes and providers.
A frequently heard phrase these days is that “TNE is a win-win situation”. This may be correct, but in order to examine the true impact of TNE on receiving/host countries a major survey study was undertaken by the British Council and the German Academic Exchange Service, or DAAD, with collaboration from Australian International Education, and in association with Campus France and the UCL Institute of Education in London. The analysis of the 1,906 responses of eight different target groups yielded some fascinating insights.
A different profile of students
The flexibility of TNE clearly has appeal for students with requirements to balance work, study and other life demands.
This conclusion is based on the analysis of proportions between students with previous employment experience and non-experienced ones, between traditional school leavers and students who are generally older and between students working full-time during their studies and unemployed ones.
The research has shown that TNE students believe employers perceive TNE to be advantageous when selecting job candidates. The two main reasons cited for this were:
- Prestige and status of the foreign institution or education system;
- The international outlook and multicultural experience of TNE graduates relative to local non-TNE graduates.
Cost of TNE
The affordability of TNE relative to study abroad represents the most positive attribute of TNE for students.
On the other hand, the high cost of TNE compared with local academic programmes represents a main negative attribute of TNE.
Lack of awareness of TNE
A surprising finding is an overall lack of awareness about TNE programmes in the host country. The majority of non-TNE students and non-TNE faculty surveyed were not aware of the TNE opportunities in their country and sometimes in their own institution.
Outlook for TNE
Respondents were generally optimistic about the outlook for TNE and indicated that both the number of new programmes and the capacity of existing programmes will continue to grow over the medium term.
In terms of helping to build the local knowledge economy and producing collaborative research output, TNE looks well placed to play an increasing role in the host country.