TRANSNATIONAL EDUCATION -
Presentation of definitions and Code of Good practice
Some concepts that should be taken into account
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.
institution or programme in question
Transnational education is closely linked to
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.:
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.
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 education systems.
Article V.1. Each Party shall recognize periods of study
completed within the framework of a higher education programme 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
Mission of the Council of Europe/UNESCO working group was
1. Student mobility and transnational education
Transnational 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 credential evaluators.
Transnational education. In the case of transnational education the students don’t move – they study inn their home country or even at home, but the credentials are awarded in the name of a foreign institution. So the diplomas “fly” to the student from aboard. 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.
Quite 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:
· can the 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 branch 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 established 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 troublemaker.
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:
6. Offshore institutions
Offshore institutions claim that they belong to the education system of another country, but they actually don’t have a mother institution in that country.
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… As a result, qualifications awarded by “international” institutions are not recognised within the framework of Lisbon recognition convention, which is an agreement between States.
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.
- who are the tutors?