The Routledgefalmer Reader in Higher Education

By Malcolm Tight | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 16

THE REGULATION OF TRANSNATIONAL HIGHER EDUCATION IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Case studies of Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia

Grant McBurnie and Christopher Ziguras

Higher Education, 42, 85−105, 2001


EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION

This article was categorised in the introductory chapter as adopting a comparative approach to researching system policy. As with the preceding article by Jongbloed and Vossensteyn (2001), while the comparative methodology is clear, the methods used to collect and analyse the data are not so explicit. Again, however, the research presented evidently rests upon the analysis of documents produced by governments and agencies in the systems compared.

McBurnie and Ziguras focus on transnational higher education, that is, higher education provided by institutions based in one country through satellite operations in other countries. They locate their analysis within the general context provided by globalisation, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). In terms of the WTO's categorisation of modes of international service delivery, their focus is on 'commercial presence'.

The region in which they base their analysis is an interesting one, both for the substantial growth in the demand for higher education, and for the varied approach towards transnational higher education taken by the governments concerned, which vary from relatively laissez-faire to highly regulatory. Quality and standards issues are clearly to the fore in their consideration.

The authors provide case studies of three systems − Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia − in each case discussing the degree of regulation applied, how it operates and the rationale for it. They show that consumer protection is of key importance in Hong Kong, together with transparency in regulations. In Malaysia, by comparison, the chief rationale appears to be the advancement of specific national goals, while in Australia the concern is to protect the local system from recent pressures from overseas institutions.

The literature on transnational higher education is relatively limited (e.g. Knight and de Wit 1997), but growing as the phenomenon itself grows in importance. It has connections with the literature on international study, represented in this Reader by the article by Kember (2000).

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