The UK's delivery of HE TNE grows at five times the rate of
international student recruitment to the UK
- In just two years (2012/13 to 2014/15), transnational higher
education (HE) delivered by UK institutions grew by 13%. At the
same time international student recruitment into the UK grew by
just 2.7%. Four in five universities surveyed intend to expand
their transnational education (TNE) provision in the next three
- Twenty-eight percent of UK HE TNE programmes are delivered for
students in Asia, whilst the European Union accounts for 23%,
Africa for 14% and the Middle East for 13%.
- Partnership approaches with host country partners are becoming
more equitable with an increased focus on joint responsibility for
programme development and delivery.
These are three of the key findings of our new report
The Scale and Scope of UK Higher Education
Transnational Education. Providing evidence for
HEIs and policy makers working in this area, TNE Scale and Scope
showcases the great breadth and variety of models and partnerships
in the UK's outgoing HE TNE.
Twelve case studies accompany the data and give a face to UK HE
TNE. They include international campuses, joint schools, online
programmes and degree-validating partnerships.
The research demonstrates:
- the five countries where the most UK HE TNE is delivered
(Malaysia, Hong Kong, Oman, Singapore and Sri Lanka) have remained
constant since 2012-13, however the next five countries on the list
have changed (Egypt, China, Greece, Germany, India), showing that
this is an evolving landscape;
- there are only 15 countries in the world where the UK does not
offer any TNE;
- since 2012-13 there has been an increase in the flexibility of
offer in mode of delivery, with more programmes being offered as
full-time, part-time or both;
- four in five universities who commented on their future
plans intend to expand their TNE provision in the next three
- partnership approaches with host country partners are becoming
more equitable. While the UK partner is usually the lead on those
areas of its global calling card of excellence - curriculum,
quality assurance and assessment - there is either an equal
distribution of responsibility or a strong focus on joint delivery
and ownership in other areas of programme delivery.
Vivienne Stern, Director of the UK HE International
"It's remarkable to see both the scale and variety of UK higher
education delivered outside of the UK and also how fast it is
growing. This research will be valuable to both policy-makers and
the wider higher education sector as it grapples with both the
opportunities and challenges of different forms of transnational
education. We expect to see this fast growth continuing over
the next few years and will continue to engage with our members so
we can give them the support they need through the Global HE
Gordon Slaven, Director of Higher Education at
the British Council comments:
"This report supports our experience that the reach of the UK's
HE is growing ever wider, with more territories and regions hosting
UK TNE programmes. Through the British Council's work, we have seen
a clear shift in the nature of TNE, with host countries looking to
develop partnerships rather than simply hosting overseas
universities. This move is clearly evidenced in the report's
finding that there is increasing equitability in TNE relationships.
The British Council continues to support UK universities in their
international activity including TNE and as a partner in the
The report is available to download here.
The report will be the topic of discussion of a full-day event
on 8 July. See the agenda and book
For more information or to speak to International Unit Director
Vivienne Stern or Head of HE Global Programme
Raegan Hiles please contact Cleo on Cleo.Fatoorehchi@international.ac.uk
or 020 7419 5615
- HEGlobal is a joint initiative between the IU and the British
Council to empower UK HEIs in their TNE activity.
- The study was commissioned as part of the HEGlobal programme,
and with additional support from the Department for Business,
Innovation & Skills.
- The report is based on a survey with UK HE TNE providers
covering their TNE provision in the academic year 2014/15 (referred
to as 2014/15 TNE Survey hereafter), followed by survey analysis.
The survey received 62 responses from UK HEIs, 55 of which have
active transnational education programmes, including two thirds of
the 22 higher education institutions with the largest enrolments
(i.e. more than 5,000), providing coverage of around 68% of all
active transnational education students in 2014/15.
- The research was conducted by Warwick Economics &
- Business and Management is the UK HE TNE subject delivered in
most countries. The second most popular subject is Medicine and
related studies, followed by Arts & Humanities.
- Since 2012/13, the flexibility of offer in mode of delivery has
increased. More programmes are now being offered as full time, part
time, or both.
- TNE provides opportunities for external expansion but also
internal review. This can strengthen the core capacity and
capability of an institution and support further growth in the
areas of curriculum development, material delivery and partnership