TRANSNATIONAL EDUCATION -
Presentation of definitions and Code of Good practice
based upon the results of
Council of Europe/UNESCO Working group on Transnational Education
presentation by Dr. Andrejs Rauhvargers
at Malmö seminar
on Transnational education
(Also presented on Session.2.04 at EAIE Leipzig
2. Some cartoons on definitions in transnational education
2. Illustrated presentation of the Code
of Good Practice
(see also the full text of
the Council of Europe/UNESCO Code of Good Practice
in the Provision of Transnational Education)
Some concepts that should be taken into account
when analysinhg the phenomenon of transnational education
education is: all
types of higher education study programmes, or sets of courses of study, or educational
services (including those of distance education) in which the learners are located in a
country different from the one where the awarding institution is based.
Such programmes may belong to the
education system of a State different from the State in which it operates, or may operate
independently of any national education system.
The institution or programme in
belong to the national education system of another country,
or it may be independent of any
While this distinction
should not have a
bearing on the demands for transparency and quality,
it does have
consequences on the legal aspects of the recognition of qualifications granted
under such programmes, as
well as for the arrangements for quality assurance.
Transnational education is closely
- development of and new possibilities offered by information and
- growth of corporate educational provision by multi-national
- developing global market of borderless higher education
Transnational education results from the process of merging the interests of both
sending and receiving institutions. It is often a response to a demand for higher
education to which the national system is not able (or willing) to respond, e.g.:
national system does not offer a kind of program(mes)
national system is elite higher education and lots of qualified
applicants remain outside
national system does not provide
opportunities for learning in prallel to work
national system does not provide HE in
national system restricts womens
access in some way
national system is too expensive
transnational programmes are more
By all accounts, transnational education is here to
stay, and cannot be disregarded in the name of past national glories, or considered as
a mere temporary phenomenon.
A refusal to find ways of dealing with this new phenomenon, for example by means of
attempts at national level to simply outlaw transnational programmes qualifications as
such, would in the short or medium term, lead to problems which will not disappear, and
would be even more difficult to solve at a later date.
Recognition problems of
transnational qualifications can not be solved through direct application of Lisbon
recognition convention. Convention is an
agreement between States, it covers
qualifications issued by national higher
Convention uses wording foreign qualifications , it is about recognition of
education completed in another country, see below:
V.1. Each Party shall recognize periods of study completed within the framework of a
higher education programme in another Party.
each Party shall recognize the higher education qualifications
conferred in another Party
If a foreign institution operates in
territory of a Party:
Article IV.9 (admission), Article
VI.5 (HE credentials):
each Party may make the recognition of qualifications
issued by foreign educational institutions operating in its territory contingent upon
- specific requirements of national legislation or
- specific agreements concluded with the Party of origin of such
Mission of the Council of
Europe/UNESCO working group was
- reflection and analysis of the new developments in transnational
- sharing information;
- making recommendations for recognition
of qualifications awarded through transnational education
- promoting cooperation with quality assurance and accreditation
Definitions in transnational education
1. Student mobility and
education is something different from student mobility.
Mobility. When students move to study in another country (crossing
the green borderline with watchtowers), they return with their credentials that are
obtained in another country.This case is clearly under the Lisbon convention and
the principles for evaluation and recognition of truly foreign credentials are clear to
education. In the case of transnational education the students dont move they
study inn their home country or even at home, but the credentials are awarded in the name
of a fopreign institution. So the diplomas fly to the student from aboad. In
other words, it is not the student but the diploma that crosses the borderline.
2. Programme articulations
Programme articulations are result of
co-operation among higher education institutions in different countries. They can lead to
e.g. programme twinning, joint or double degrees.
Provided that both higher education
institutions are recognised in their own countries (we found that the symbol above the
university icon in clipart pictures was regarded to as accreditation), this
kind of transnational education should not lead to too many problems.
often higher education institutions establish branch campuses in other countries. In
many cases the mother institution is a recognised institution in its own country.
However, the credential evaluator will
want to know answers to a number of questions, like:
recognition/accreditation of the mother institution be transferred also to the branch? In
other words, are the same quality assurance bodies who check the quality of mother
institution, really responsible also for the branch? And if not, in what way is it ensured
that quality is the same as in mother institution?
are the programmes in
the branch campus really identical to the ones in mother institution? If they are
do they fit the needs of receiving country?
if the programmes are
adapted to the needs of host country, are they still the same degrees/qualifications as in
the sending country?
finally, there is the
question about the teaching staff quality (see next picture).
4. Teaching staff
So, who is teaching in the branch campus
(and same will go for the franchised institutions/programmes)?
is it a professor of mother institution (left side and right side upper
character) visiting branch campus? And if the professor is just visiting, what
consequences does it have to the quality?
is it a well trained local (right side character in the middle
position) who teaches the brach campus or a franchised programme. And if it is a
well-trained local, do the students feel the full flavour of the education provided by (and culture of) the foreign
institution in whose name the qualification will be awarded?
and what quality of education is ensured if the person teaching looks like
the character in the lower right position? Unfortunately the Council of Europe/UNESCO
working group received signals from some
receiving countries that this could be the case, especially regarding franchised programmes of foreign institutions, but
also in the case of branches.
Franchising means that a foreign institution does not establish its
branch in the receiving country but, instead, allows some institution in the receiving
country to deliver its programmes. The qualifications awarded however are those of the
foreign sending institution.
Franchising quite often leads to recognition problems. In the case of
franchising the franchisee can be a recognised or a non-recognized higher education
institution of the host country, or it can be anything non-higher education
institutions, companies running courses, or companies establuished with the only purpose
to run franchised programmes. Especially the case of franchising involves agents
third parties who recruit students, organise tuition, provide information to
students and to sending institution, etc. It has been indicated in many cases that if
there is a trouble with transnational education, agent will most probably be the
All the same questions asked about a branch of a foreign institution
are also valid for franchising. But recognition of qualifications awarded upon completion
of franchised programmes needs answers to some more questions:
- are the
franchised programmes provided in compliance with the laws of receiving country (and also
the sending country)?
- is there any
quality check at all from the side of sending country?
- do the
authorities of the receiving country have enough reliable information to judge about the
quality of the franchised programmes?
- do the students
studying in a foreign programme get any impression about the culture and
education system of the sending country at all?
- and, since in
the case of franchised programmes they are quite often provided in the language of
receiving country, do they still resemble the equally named programmes in the sending
6. Offshore institutions
Offshore institutions claim that they belong to the education system
of another country, but they actually dont have a mother institution in that
In the case of offshore institutions it is rather difficult to judge
if the institution has the features of the education system it claims to belong to.
7. "International" institutions
Some of transnational education providers claim they are
international institutions. The names of such institutions may include words
like Trans-Atlantic, European, Global or just
International. Quite often these institutions function in several countries.
The problem with recognition of the qualifications awarded is the
following if an institution is
international, it does not belong to the education system of any particular country. And
no particular country is responsible for the quality of education provided
result, qualifications awarded by international institutions arev not
recognised within the framework of Lisbon recognition convention, which is an agreement
8. Distance education
Recognition of a credential awarded through distance education by a foreign
institution may sometimes be tricky even if it is a case of "classical' distance
education where the student learns individually and sometimes visits the university for
examinations or presentation of thesis.
However, in today's reality the distance education almost always involves a component of
tutoring, consultations, guidance, quite often the examinations and defense of thesis are
organis3d in the country of students;' residence. And then recognition of the
qualifications awarded again requires answers to the same questions as in the case
of branch campus or offshore onstitution:
- who are the tutors?
- are the students at the end familiar enough with the traditions of awarding
institution (and the country whose qualification they are receiving)?
- if the programme is adapted tyo the receiving country's needs, does it still
resemble the same programme provided in the sending country?
- is there an evidence that the awarding institution fully controls the quality of
Continue to Illustrated
presentation of the principles of Code