Transnational education is swiftly becoming one of the biggest drives towards globalisation and an interconnected academic community, offering more academic opportunities to students across the world.
It involves education being delivered by an awarding institution in a country other than the one in which they are based. For example, Lincoln College is based in England but also delivers education in Saudi Arabia.
This is a recognised qualification denoted as “(country code) HE TNE” and is weighted with considerable impress by many countries.
What is the student situation in Thailand?
Many Thai students study abroad, according to recent figures, but the country itself has fallen behind its neighbours in the opportunities it offers with transnational education. HESA figures revealed that, while over 6,000 Thai HE students studied in person in the UK, only around 300 were studying UK HE courses in Thailand (2016-17).
This is because, while technically possible to introduce branch campuses in Thailand, there was a complicated procedure in place that meant few foreign universities could secure it.
What is the new TNE policy?
It was in May 2017 that the Ministry of Education in Thailand announced the new policy to change this and welcome new transnational education opportunities to the country, encouraging “high-potential” overseas universities especially.
Since the announcement, overseas universities have announced plans to set up branch campuses in Thailand. Carnegie Mellon University from the US and National Taiwan University are the first two to be officially recognised as branch campuses in Thailand.
In early 2018, this led to the British Council likewise considering Thailand’s new policy and the education market.
What will this mean for UK universities?
With the new policy in place, Thailand now offers several tax exemptions, relaxed visa regulations for staff, and additional incentives for UK universities considering campus branches in the country.
However, restrictions on subject choices mean that few UK interviewees so far have been interested. Any offered programmes must support priority industries and some subjects, including business (the most popular course among Thai students in the UK), cannot be taught at branch campuses.
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