Transnational express

July 24, 2014

As someone involved in international higher education in both a professional and academic capacity, I started reading Christopher Bigsby’s piece “Sunny side up” (Opinion, 17 July) with great interest. But three or four thinly veiled insults in and I couldn’t help but think that the opinion itself was a load of “bat spit”.

For a start, Bigsby is talking not about “internationalisation” but about importing students and exporting programmes. They are indeed parts of an internationalisation agenda, but it covers a much wider spectrum (or at least it should), including internationalising the curriculum, development of interculturally competent graduates, international research and staff development. Bigsby also cites Theresa May as a cause of transnational education, and while I can agree that the Home Office has much to answer for in discouraging international students, transnational education was an important part of the UK’s higher education landscape prior to the coalition government.

Further, his examples exclude the big success stories to give a misleading impression: Nottingham’s Ningbo and Malaysia campuses; Liverpool’s partnership to form Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University; not to mention the University of London International Programmes, for example. These are not only successes commercially, but serve a genuine ideal of giving every student the opportunity of a first-rate education, irrespective of nationality, background and financial status (a key factor to get a visa to come to the UK). It is certainly true that some institutions have not made good decisions, but to say that decisions are made for the weather is dismissive of the good work being done overseas to increase domestic or regional capacity and thereby access to a quality higher education for all.

Christopher Costigan
Senior lecturer
BPP University

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Post-doctoral Research Associate in Chemistry

University Of Western Australia

PACE Data Support Officer

Macquarie University - Sydney Australia

Associate Lecturer in Nursing

Central Queensland University
See all jobs

Most Commented

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

Alexander Wedderburn

Former president of the British Psychological Society remembered

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham

The University of Aberdeen

Tim Ingold and colleagues at the University of Aberdeen have created a manifesto that they hope will preserve higher education's true values