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Transnational education in the European context

Export of education is a relatively new area of international operation for Continental European universities: in comparison to activities by institutions in the UK, US, or Australia, the development of cross-border operations by European provides is still in child’s shoes and the number of programmes and students concerned are a fraction of those concerned by inwards student mobility. However, the scene is changing very rapidly, with more and more European institutions realising the great potential of this form of international education, and wishing to enter the global market of exported education. 

An comprehensive ACA study to the European Commission study maps the current supply and demand for European transnational education, and analyses the possible opportunities and risks for European providers in this area. It contains five extensive country reports that look in detail into the provision of transnational education – in terms of policies and practice – in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Furthermore, the study includes an analysis of the profile of typical transnational education students and their decision making mechanisms based on findings of an extensive web-survey.

The research reveals some communalities as well as important differences both in types of provision and modes of delivery, and in approaches, motivations, and expectations on transnational education: for many institutions and in many countries – especially those were tuition fees cannot be charged at the home campuses, or where fee levels are very low – transnational education is the only ‘competitive’ form of education and one that may be also driven by financial interests. At the same time, an interesting feature of European transnational education (including recent developments in the UK) is the persisting or growing interest in cooperative arrangements, i.e. education provision in which academic collaboration with a foreign higher education institution is at the heart of the development and delivery of the programmes. Indeed, development of double and joint degrees appears to be one of the preferred and most frequently used modes of delivery in several European countries. 

This report is part of the Global Promotion Project, Lot 2: Innovative services for international attractiveness.