2019 UK-China Joint Institute Alliance Annual General Meeting and Transnational Education Conference held in Haining, Zhejiang, October 2019 ©

British Council

The rise of TNE in China

TNE is a large and growing sector in China. 30 years of rapid expansion in Chinese - overseas joint programmes and institutes have stimulated in-depth collaboration and the development of Chinese host universities and their overseas partners, boosting:

  • two-way student mobility
  • teaching exchanges
  • student experience management
  • teacher development
  • quality assurance

Over half a million students are enrolled on joint TNE programmes in China, with TNE graduates totalling over 1.5 million. There are more than 1,000 active joint programmes or institutes at undergraduate degree level or higher.

The UK - a lead TNE partner for China

The UK has led the development of course and qualification exports in mainland China, with over 250 joint degree partnerships in operation. 

Around 61,000 students were studying for UK higher education qualifications in mainland China in 2020-21.   

The UK is one of China’s leading partners, with UK cooperative partnership accounting for:

  • over a fifth of all Chinese-overseas joint programmes and institutes at the bachelor’s degree level and above
  • more than a fifth of the students on these programmes

There are over 250 UK China joint programmes at the bachelor’s degree level and upwards, operating with approval from the Chinese Ministry of Education. There are 42 UK China joint institutes, including 40 institutes without independent legal entity status and two cooperative universities with their own independent legal entity status. 

UK China - pioneers in TNE

The UK has pioneered new education models through joint universities, such as the University of Nottingham Ningbo China and Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. 

Britain also launched the first joint institute (Surrey International Institute, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics) specialising in business, testimony to China’s high level of confidence in the UK’s higher education system.

What we do for UK China TNE

We expand the scale and potential for UK China transnational education. British Council China does this through three streams of higher education programme activity:

Think TNE

Our focus in Think TNE is the future strategic development of transnational education in China and across East Asia. 

Our core Think TNE activities are:

  • research
  • information sharing
  • policy development and strategy

Working with our UK and Chinese partner institutions and authorities, we set up policy dialogues and meetings to discuss TNE priorities, quality assurance (QA), guiding principles and operating parameters to steer the future of TNE collaboration for both countries. 

Train TNE

We equip UK and Chinese institutions to build capacity for innovation and sustainable TNE growth through professional development. This includes topical conferences, training workshops or interventions which encourage TNE knowledge sharing between institutions.

Network TNE

We create sustainable networks and projects to accelerate UK China TNE development. We broker partnerships and bring institutions together to explore collaborative and potential opportunities. 

One of our pioneering networks is the UK China Joint Institute Alliance. 

The UK China Joint Institute Alliance

The UK China Joint Institute Alliance (the Alliance) is a pioneering partnership of UK and Chinese institutions working to boost the development and management of.  UK China transnational education (TNE) joint institutes and to drive innovation and quality TNE delivery in China.  

The Alliance was set up in 2017 and is supported by the British Council and the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE). It has 22 UK and Chinese founding member institutes. It is co-chaired by the University of Edinburgh and Dongbei University of Finance and Economics.

Its programme is delivered through:

  • practitioner engagement, meetings, dialogue and workshops
  • working papers and reports on joint issues in TNE
  • TNE conferences in China
  • training and capacity building
  • research.

The aims of the Alliance are to:

  • support dialogue and share best practice in the management and operation of TNE in China, increasing quality of delivery through joint TNE institutes in China
  • progress multilateral exchanges, joint curriculum development, faculty recruitment and training
  • promote the quality of teaching in TNE ensuring a rich student experience
  • contribute to the development of TNE policy
  • map strategic future directions of UK China TNE and identify new TNE collaborations e.g. joint research and publication in shared priority areas
  • accelerate innovation and change in UK China TNE
  • promote and showcase UK China TNE. 

Find more about UK China Transnational Education from the links below.


See also

External links