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The shape of things to come. The evolution of transnational education: data, definitions, opportunities and impacts analysis

British Council. The shape of things to come. The evolution of transnational education: data, definitions, opportunities and impacts analysis. Going Global. 2013. Pages: 101.

The new British Council’s report examines the current situation of transnational education (TNE). As indicated by the title, the report covers three areas of transnational education. The first part attempts to review definitions and descriptions of TNE as well as data related to this subject. In the second part, an analytical framework is presented in order to identify the most favourable environments for the development of TNE. The last part focuses in particular on China, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia by assessing the impact and potential of TNE on host countries.

The report ascertains that definitions on TNE tend to vary according to multilateral or national agencies. Additionally, data related to TNE are only compiled by eight countries and one administrative region, indicating the need to improve data collection. The analytical framework concerning the identification of the most favourable TNE environments, i.e., potential host countries, focuses on three categories: policy environment, market environment and mobility environment. The first category consists of indicators such as the establishment of an administrative unit responsible for TNE or regulations in place for the establishment of TNE programmes. The second category considers factors which are likely to affect the demand for TNE programmes as for instance gross domestic product (GDP) per capita ratios, or levels of societal development. Mobility environment, the last category, focuses on figures of already established international branch campuses (IBC) and student mobility as an indicator for further development as a TNE host country. The impact analysis on host countries, which focuses strongly on China, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, is based on the following ‘categories of impact’: academic, economic, human resource development, socio-cultural and status. The report identifies not only specific impacts but also strategies of how TNE is used by receiving states in order to improve academic capacity building, as in the case of China, or increase revenue as shown by the example of Malaysia.

Given the few available data on transnational education, the British Council report is a very useful and good source on the field of TNE, giving an overview of the current situation and recent developments.

The report can be found here