UK seals first European transnational education deal post-Brexit

Agreement with Greece’s Education Ministry will facilitate academic collaboration with country’s state university sector

March 25, 2021
The Arch of Galerius in Thessaloniki, Greece to illustrate the UK and Greece establishing a new transnational education partnership
Source: iStock

The UK and Greece have established a new transnational education (TNE) partnership, which will help institutions in the two countries collaborate on education and research post-Brexit.

The UK-Greece Strategic Partnership in Education initiative, established by the British Council, the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and the British Embassy in Athens, is the first TNE programme to be agreed between a European Union country and the UK since Brexit was completed. It will facilitate academic collaboration, including joint and dual degrees, distance learning, summer programmes and academic and student exchanges.

The British Council said several Russell Group universities in the UK, and several institutions in Greece, had expressed interest in launching new collaborations. Existing partnerships between the two countries have involved only private colleges in Greece, but the new agreement is designed to explore opportunities with the country’s state university sector.

In December, the University of York announced that it was set to establish a new campus in Greece in partnership with City College, a provider of UK degrees based in Thessaloniki. It said at the time that more than 700 students were set to enrol in autumn 2021.

Greece is the leading host country for UK TNE learners in the EU, with almost 14,000 TNE students in 2018-19.

The British Council said it would be holding webinars from the second half of April for Greek and UK universities to familiarise themselves with how they can engage with the programme. “Partner-matching work” will then commence in May, followed by possible delegation visits later in the year.

EU countries are likely to continue to provide growth opportunities for TNE and to keep bucking the global trend of a declining interest in TNE, the British Council added.

Kate Joyce, director of higher education and science at the British Council, said: “Greece is a very important market for UK TNE.

“The British Council is proud to support UK universities and our partners in Greece to develop new frameworks for collaboration as the systems governing our work in the European Union change,” she said.

“This programme is, we hope, the first of many initiatives that will ensure that universities in the UK and in European countries can strengthen partnerships and meet the challenges and opportunities of an internationalised education together.”

Greece’s minister of education and religious affairs, Niki Kerameus, said: “Greek universities have a lot to gain but also to offer to the global academic community, through exchange of good practice and joint study programmes.

“A modern education system, extrovert and adapted to the needs of the 21st century, will ensure that our country has the place it deserves on the international academic map.”

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