Westminster Higher Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
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Next steps for UK transnational education - quality and trust, branch campuses and remote learning, and growing the UK profile and position in global markets

February 2021

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference will discuss priorities and next steps for UK transnational education.

It will be an early opportunity to consider the implications of the newly-signed EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the replacement of the Erasmus+ programme by the Turing scheme.

The conference also takes place as the QAA consults on its proposed new approach to reviewing and enhancing the quality of UK TNE, and how it is perceived across the world.

The discussion at a glance:

  • the UK in a global higher education market - increasing competition, particularly in China and Malaysia as reported by UUK, with students increasingly preferring to study at local institutions
  • building confidence in UK TNE - and improving global profile, recognition and trust
  • the QAA approach - and priorities for improving the quality of UK transnational education, including:
    • international relationships and joint working
    • quality enhancement
    • meeting the needs of institutions providing TNE, and taking account of the challenges they face
  • growth opportunities - priorities for branch campuses, remote learning, innovation, partnerships in Europe and globally, and financially-sustainable business strategies
  • implementation - best practice, and protecting TNE providers and services from potential security and other challenges presented by international partnerships

The agenda:

  • Transnational education in the UK
  • Improving global recognition and trust in UK TNE qualifications
  • Trends in international and borderless higher education and growing the UK’s future role
    • The current international higher education landscape and opportunities for UK providers
    • Measuring global engagement amongst UK universities
    • Après le deluge: Is TNE the future of internationalisation for UK universities post-Covid and post-Brexit?
    • The future direction for developing UK TNE outside Europe
  • Next steps for developing branch campuses - partnerships and local collaboration, remote learning opportunities, financially sustainability and mitigating risks
  • Policy priorities for growing UK transnational education and its global position into the future

Key areas for discussion:

  • the QAA approach - priorities for its substantive work reviewing and improving the quality of UK transnational education, including:
    • international relationships and joint working:
      • involvement of local agencies and organisations in quality enhancement and regulation
      • deepening understandings of host countries’ operating environments and in-country networks
    • quality enhancement - ensuring that the system for achieving improvement:
      • is flexible and cost-efficient without undue burdens on institutions
      • takes account of student needs, and the goal of parity of TNE provision with expectations and experience of UK-based students
      • is supported by robust measurement and evidence
    • meeting the needs of institutions providing TNE - as well as the environment in which they operate, taking into account:
      • other pressures that providers are facing such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
      • how TNE fits with the wider policy context of calls for the UK higher education sector to streamline its operation and concentrate on quality output
    • the COVID policy context:
      • cutting bureaucratic and administrative burden - to enable providers across the sector to focus on post-pandemic recovery
      • the higher education restructuring regime - providing support on condition of commitment to improving the quality of their courses, equipping students with high-quality skills, and ensuring research output can contribute towards local economic growth
  • building confidence in UK TNE:
    • what is required from the global community of TNE providers to improve the recognition and trust in TNE qualifications
    • the potential impact of approaches such as quality benchmarking
  • growth opportunities:
    • remote learning:
      • next steps for developing branch campuses
      • use of edtech - latest thinking and experience of its incorporation into provision at branch campuses and the way forward for best practice
      • standards - priorities for ensuring that the quality of remote education at branch campuses is on a competitive par with what is offered in the UK and by host country providers
    • innovation and business models - new ways that institutions are growing and improving transnational education exports in a financially sustainable way, and opportunities going forward
    • recruitment and retention - latest approaches to widening awareness of the quality of UK higher education abroad, and how this needs to dovetail with enhanced provision
  • global profile:
    • assessing the UK’s standing in international higher education and priorities for enhancement, taking into account benchmarking, quality assurance, and improvement initiatives
    • what is needed from policy to support the UK’s TNE partnerships in Europe and to build new global
  • risk mitigation - safeguarding against potential security and other challenges presented by international partnerships, including:
    • threats to intellectual property, cybersecurity and academic freedom including in the areas of free speech and institutional autonomy
    • how UK TNE providers can ensure that increased international collaboration is matched with adequate safeguarding and collaboration with governing bodies and stakeholders

The context for discussion:

  • the Turing scheme:
    • replacing the Erasmus+ programme following the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and backed by over £100m in funding and grants for student overseas placements and exchanges
    • with concerns having been raised by UUK over the mobility of inbound students not covered by the scheme
  • the UK’s competitive position:
    • International student recruitment: Why aren't we second? - UUK International report recommending that UK universities utilise and develop branch campuses, regional partners and establish reputations for effective crisis management in response to increased competition from Asian and European higher education institutions
    • Transnational routes to on-shore UK higher education - a joint British Council and UUK report finding that the falling numbers of students entering UK degree programs via transnational routes has been led by increasing preference for, and quality of, local institutions in China and Malaysia
  • quality and trust:
    • Quality Evaluation and Enhancement of UK TNE - from the QAA, which has been commissioned by UUK and GuildHE:
      • to develop a new approach to increasing confidence for stakeholders in the UK and globally in transnational education
      • identifying shared challenges and areas for improvement, and best practice and innovative ways forward for tackling them
    • Transnational Education Quality Benchmark (TNE QB) - the UK NARIC scheme aiming to foster trust in TNE qualifications
  • implementation:
    • Managing risks in Internationalisation: Security related issues - UUK guidance on better understanding and safeguarding against security risks associated with international partnerships in HE
    • How can TNE help the UK’s international education sector in the post-Covid-19 period? - from UUK:
      • warning that international TNE ventures must be self-sustaining and financially sound
      • utilising new-found expertise to develop flexible learning, recruitment and support models to meet the needs of partners and students
  • cross-governmental and devolved strategies:
    • International Education Strategy: global potential, global growth - from 2019 aiming to increase UK higher education exports to £35bn per year by 2030
    • Global Wales - a Welsh higher education partnership - between British Council Wales, Universities Wales, the Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
    • the Connected Scotland partnership - to grow the sector’s export income

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Intellectual Property Office and the Welsh Government.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles