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Exploring latest trends on International Branch Campuses 2016

The Observatory for Higher Education (OBHE) and Cross-Border Education Research team (C-Bert) have released their newest, joint report on International Branch Campuses: Trends and Developments 2016. The findings of this fifth edition offer a comprehensive overview of International Brach Campuses (IBS) worldwide, degrees and programmes offered, student numbers and reveal those top providers and host countries currently driving growth of the sector.   

Currently 249 IBCs are distributed over more than 70 countries, the period of 2011-2015 saw the establishment of 66 new IBCs, a growth of about 26% , although absolute growth numbers have remained rather steady  over the last ten years.

Major findings include:
  • An estimated 180 000 students were registered at a IBC globally, for the year 2015 they represented about 4% of the international student body.
  • The report found 33 countries to currently export their education in form of IBCs - the US, UK, Russia, France and Australia currently the top providers.
  • On the receiving end, 76 countries forged partnerships to host campuses from abroad. China claimed the United Arab Emirates status as top host-country, although both place head to head with 32 and respectively 31 IBCs each.  Singapore and Malaysia hosting each 12 IBCs and Quarter with 11, complete the list of top five countries with the highest concentrations.
  • The world of education export and import saw six newcomer countries in providing IBCs, nine new hosts and six countries appeared on the stage pursuing both ends of the strategy.   
  • Developing counties are progressing in talking up both hosting and home roles of IBCs, although they remain at the margins with little growth from 2011-2015. Beyond the MENA region four new IBCs were established in Africa and merely one in South America.

Overall IBCs continue on an upward slope across the world, where the report finds this growth largely driven by providers in the US and Europe and around half of IBCs currently in the making will export US or UK education. There are still many facets to be explored of developmental trends in the field and the second part of this report will address in 2017 motivations and measures of success, through interviews with institutional leaders in IBCs across the world.    

International Branch Campuses: Trends and Developments 2016Full report