UK HE in China

QAA Review of Transnational Education in China

Back in 2012 the QAA surveyed all UK higher education institutions in order to find out details of their TNE activity in China. The QAA review includes detailed reports on 10 UK universities and divides HEIs’ TNE activity into a number of different types. For the purposes of the survey, TNE was divided into the following categories:

• A: branch campus
• B: partnership
• C: distance learning through flexible and distributed learning (FDL).

Category B (partnership) was further sub-divided into:
• B1 – students in China follow a programme leading to an award from the UK institution, sometimes completing the whole programme in China, but sometimes transferring to the UK to complete parts of the programme
• B2 – students start by following a programme offered by the partner, but later transfer (under an articulation agreement) to a programme at the UK institution, but with an entitlement to advanced standing on academic grounds.
Thus, under B1 students do not change their programme, although they may change their location of study, whereas under B2 students change both their programme and their location of study.

Category C (FDL) was divided into:
• C1 – students follow a programme of the UK institution without the assistance of any support centre in China
• C2 – students follow a programme of the UK institution with the assistance of a support centre in China that is approved by the UK institution.

Campus at University of Nottingham Ningbo China
Campus at University of Nottingham Ningbo China

The report reveals that UK universities are extremely active in China:

The survey found 70 UK institutions with provision in China falling into one or more of the above categories. Collectively, these institutions reported 275 distinct relationships with 186 separate Chinese institutions. The total number of students studying in China through UK TNE was recorded by the survey as 33,874. In addition, there were 5,392 students studying in the UK, having transferred from a partner institution in China. Of the many different programmes being offered through UK TNE in China, 42 per cent are in the Business and Finance subject areas, and 19 per cent in Engineering. The survey found most of the TNE to be located geographically in the major urban centres of China’s eastern seaboard: Beijing, Shanghai, Ningbo (Zhejiang province),

The number of these institutions reporting TNE in each category is shown below.


Wonkhe TNE table

The University of Nottingham’s presence in China is the only one here identified as a branch campus (although the number of students here is rather out of date, it’s now over 5,600). The full report on the University of Nottingham Ningbo China can be found here and is highly complimentary both about the development itself – “an impressive achievement” – and the quality of the student experience.

Overall though there is a huge amount of activity by UK institutions and it comes in a wide variety of forms. Much of interest therefore in the QAA’s review.

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