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Responding to the challenges of quality assurance in trans-national education

Weir, J., Wright, F., Kulski, M. and Oliver, B. (2005) Responding to the challenges of quality assurance in trans-national education. In: Cross-border provision and the future of higher education in Africa. 11th AAU General Conference, 21st – 25th February, Cape Town pp. 58-60.

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The worldwide transformation of higher education (HE) towards the end of the 20th century has resulted in an increasingly globalised and competitive HE environment, leading to further diversification across the sector and an expansion in the provision of educational programmes across national boundaries. The use of new information and communication technologies in particular is driving a sharp increase in the delivery of trans-national education and makes the notion of ‘borderless’ education a reality. However, the delivery of online or ‘offshore’ educational programmes raises important questions about quality assurance both from the perspective of institutions providing these academic programmes nationally, as well as the students enrolled in these programme. Driving the push towards international quality assurance is both current and projected enrolment by students in universities outside their own countries. Their number was estimated to be 1.4 million in 1992, 1.8 million in 2000, and has been forecast to grow to 7.2 million students by 2025. The issue of how these programme should be monitored and who has responsibility for determining the quality of offshore providers is not clear in what has become an increasingly complex higher education environment.

It would appear that the regulation of educational programmes delivered across national borders is lagging well behind its rapid expansion and there is an emerging need to determine how best to ensure the quality of these programmes. It is in this context that we explore some of the issues involved in assuring the quality of university programmes offered by Australian universities to students in African countries and discuss some institutional and national responses to the challenges posed by transnational education.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Publisher: Association of African Universities
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