Preparing for the future of transnational education

Preparing for the future of transnational education

The recent summer issue of EAIE Forum on transnational education (TNE) presents several viewpoints about complexities, challenges, approaches and definitions of transnational education. It also discusses the future of TNE with Jane Knight noting that “Looking to the future, it may be who awards the qualification which might be the key factor in defining TNE, not the mobility of an academic programme across jurisdictional borders.”

The future is quite uncertain and an overarching question arises for institutional leaders – are your transnational strategies future-ready? Are they adaptable and sustainable for a complex environment which is primed to be disrupted by learning models like MOOCs?  Do your strategies involve assessing the market demand and adapting to the emergence of a new segment of ‘glocal’ students?

In addition, the issues of quality are always threatening the growth and innovation in TNE. In my article in the recent issue of Forum magazine, ‘A question of quality in transnational education’, I ask how traditional definitions, expectations and models of quality assurance will be able to respond to an expanding scale and increasing complexity of TNE activities. These are critical questions for senior international officers to address in defining global engagement strategies. At the same time, strategic choices about best-fit models, markets and partners are expected to be not only responsive but also need to be impactful within limited budgets.

At the EAIE Conference in Prague this September, I am chairing a session entitled ‘Transnational education strategies: what works, what doesn’t?’ which will discuss strategic choices in TNE. Three panellists from the Netherlands, the UK and Australia will bring diverse perspectives on what works and what doesn’t for TNE: Robert Coelen, Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Nigel Healey, Nottingham Trent University, and Eugene Sebastian, Monash University. Each panellist has published various points of view on the subject of TN, all articles well worth a read.

In Robert Coelen’s article, adapting curricula for success, our attention is brought to the issue of curriculum adaptation in TNE models and how to strike the right balance between “preservation vs. localisation” of curriculum. In Nigel Healey’s article, towards a risk-based typology for transnational education, he argues that the standard classification of TNE by the nature of the activity is of lesser relevance because of multidimensional nature of partnerships and suggests a new risk-based typology with the sources of reputational risk to the home university. Eugene Sebastian asks what makes for a successful transnational partnership and shares the case of building a high-profile relationship in one of the most difficult countries in terms of regulation – India, in his article four critical success factors for transnational partnerships.

In sum, TNE is growing not only in numbers but also in complexity. This makes the future unpredictable and raises the importance of informed strategic choices. How can institutions develop informed and adaptive strategies to manage the risks and maximise the opportunities with TNE without compromising its mission? Share your thoughts below or on the EAIE LinkedIn page and Twitter.

Dr. Rahul Choudaha, World Education Services, New York, USA