Internationalisation Of Higher Education In The Uk Education Essay

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This thesis presents a study of the understandings of internationalisation of higher education at a UK university with long with exploring a possible future expansion in the Arab Gulf region in the Middle East by establishing an overseas campus there. The study elicited views from staff members in administrative positions at the university regarding the university level of internationalization and possibility of future expansion. It also explored the targeted market by surveying students on that region.

Prior research in the field of internationalisation of higher education has largely focused on international students' experiences or patterns of their interest to join foreign universities overseas campuses in their countries along with the reasons behind that through quantitative survey approach. Also important factors were taken into consideration and covered in the literature review and discussed with the staff members, such as Policy concerns, quality, brand and reputation, view of stakeholders and financial issues.

The research reported here is particularly important in the sense that it provides insight into how the term internationalisation is understood from diverse positions within Aston University management and how these interpretations influence approaches to develop the university's internationalisation strategy.

Another approach was a qualitative study, using Semi-structured interviews was taken as the key data collection helped to find more about the University staff point of view regarding future expansion and gave a good idea about the university current situation in term of ability of developing its internationalization strategy in order to expand globally.

Findings of the research include the existence of clear differences in views about the meaning of internationalisation in the university, and also different views regarding accepting the idea of obtaining a branch campus in the Arab Gulf Region as a part of internationalization.

The research aims to suggest appropriate recommendations for improving the "level of internationalization" at Aston University in the upcoming years.

Chapter 1: Introduction

It has been common recently for universities to expand globally by establishing overseas campuses as a part of internationalization strategy. Branch university campuses are in many ways a win-win-win phenomenon. For the university, they mean more students and stronger ties with other countries. For the host nation, they're a quick way of boosting higher education standards and attracting more students, both local and international. As for students, the prime attraction is a degree at an internationally ranked university, in a location where this was not previously possible. (QS, 2012)

The number of overseas branch campuses set up by universities has reached 200 with another 37 planned. For universities, the benefits of branches include "greater access to an expanding student market, especially in Asia where demand is expected to continue to outstrip supply for another 20 years (Morgan, 2012)

Another key selling point of branch university campuses is the unique kind of environment they provide, particularly when clustered together to form international education 'cities'. For example, Dubai's International Academic City (DIAC) is made up of 27 branch campuses run by universities from 11 countries, attended by 20,000 students of 137 nationalities. Similar (though smaller) clusters include Malaysia's EduCity and Qatar's Education City.

In most cases branch campuses are usually a cheaper option. At the University of Nottingham's UK campus, international students studying computer science are currently charged about US$23,660 per year. This is almost twice the amount charged to international students taking the same subject at the university's Malaysia campus. As of 2012-13, when UK students will be charged £9,000 at Nottingham (about US$14,225), travelling to study in Malaysia will also be a cheaper option for UK nationals - particularly when you factor in Malaysia's lower cost of living.

So the costs may be the same, or even cheaper than attending a university's home campus, but the big question is the quality of the course still the same

Only a few UK universities have so far been successful in establishing branch campuses overseas, but these have generally been high-profile initiatives resulting from the direct involvement of government agencies as well as support and encouragement on the part of academic partners. Indeed, these aims are far from being incompatible with one another. Yet while none should expect to bring home substantial profits from such engagements, all will hope to avoid incurring substantial losses and most will be looking, either directly or indirectly, to secure a modest return on their investments (HE Global, no date)

The internationalisation of higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK is largely influenced by the market discourse and global economical forces. Internationalization in higher education can benefit some traditional non-profit universities with financial problems and non profit organizations by enhancing research and knowledge capacity to increase cultural understanding (Altbach et al. 2007).

HEIs are seen to contribute to these values by increasing their international students' numbers and activities. The growth in the number of international students in the UK and the pressure from the UK government, together with the increased competitiveness among HEIs for a higher ranking comes as a result of the impact of changes in the global higher education context. This has forced many UK HEIs to move towards more strategic thinking about internationalisation. Internationalisation has, therefore, become a priority target and an agenda, as well as a tool for system development and planning in the form of international strategy, for many of these HEIs.

Fig 1 - Traditional and TNE Projected Recruitment

Internationalization strategies include international cooperation and development projects; institutional agreements and networks; the international/ intercultural dimension of the teaching/learning process, curriculum and research; campus-based extracurricular clubs and activities; mobility of academics through exchange, field work, sabbaticals and consultancy work; recruitment of international students; student exchange programs and semesters abroad; joint/double degree programs; twinning partnerships; and branch campuses (Knight, 2006).

This study addresses the internationalization in general as a start phase then examines the branch campuses strategy in particular as a second phase in Aston University.

My interest in internationalisation comes from the above attention to it, which surrounded my own experience as an international student myself, and being part of the phenomenon in that sense triggered my curiosity and desire to explore what 'internationalisation' meant.In addition being a student in Aston University, I would like to see it one of the leading global institution using its resources in the best way. Also being a graduate as an international student from A UK University overseas campus made me more interested to explore the horizons of the topic

1.2 Setting the scene

In addition to a personal interest in internationalisation as indicated above, this study was inspired by a concern with the universities challenges and the need to explore a new possible market. The aim is to explore these challenges further within the context of Aston University and address the possibility of developing the university international strategy particularly through branch campuses in The Arab Gulf Region.

Arab Gulf Region in the Middle East



Participants of this study are individuals at various middle and senior management positions across the university's departments. These are individuals who are directly or indirectly involved and aware of the university current situation and the university's international activities. Semi-Structured interviews were used as a method to achieve that aim. Also a quantitative survey was distributed to students in the Arab region in the Middle East as a targeted area on this study to see their level of involvement with internationalization and their interest to join foreign universities overseas campuses in their countries. The main benefit of the qualitative interviews on this study is to analyze the university situation and recommend an overseas expansion.

1.3 Thesis outline

This thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter 2 presents the literature review with regards to internationalisation focusing on institutions overseas expansion, experiences of some international institutions and factors behind internationalization. Chapter 3 describes the methodology and methods used to carry out the research. Chapter 4 presents an analysis and discussion of the data from the staff interviews as a first phase and the students' survey as a second one. Also published secondary data and Aston 2020 strategy were used to support the analysis. Finally, chapter 5 concludes with a broader discussion and recommendations for further research.

Project Aim and objectives:

Aston University is one of the most recognised universities in The United Kingdom, both in academics and research. The project will expand the university's horizons on how it can be improved better to achieve objectives and targets focusing on the overseas expansion.


Review Aston University current situation focusing on the factors affect overseas expansion and suggest some ideas for future development based on the analysis.


Explore the internationalization opportunities of Aston University via conducting interviews with administrative staff members.

Benchmark UK universities with overseas campuses or partnerships (Nottingham and Herriot Watt).

Obtain data from students in targeted countries in order to find more about their interests of joining in programmes offered by Aston.

Aston Strategy 2020

It is addressed in Aston 2020 strategy that Aston will get more into partnerships and business engagement and enhance international relations and network

The aim is to answer the research questions Research questions

Primary Research Question: What is the organisational context for developing its internationalization strategy focusing on overseas expansion?

Sub-Research Questions:

1) What data do we need to support the internationalization strategy development?

2) What analyses do we need to support the internationalization strategy development?

3) What are the views of the sponsor and each of the key stakeholders regarding overseas expansion?

4) What are the funding, information sharing, decision arrangements regarding overseas expansion?

5) Are there any existing commitments that may limit the resources available or the extent of change?

6) What is the political context for expansion?

7) What are the students view regarding joining overseas campuses of foreign universities

Literature Review


It is well known that Universities have recently been facing many challenges such as, increasing of international competition, achieving higher ranking among universities, and the need of create world-class institutions (Mahani, et. al. 2011). They respond to these challenges in different ways as some higher education institutions are increasingly moving toward the internationalization of their campuses. Internationalization of higher education includes different programs such as, branch campuses, cross border collaborative programs, exchange of international students, and establishment of English-medium programs and degrees (Mahani, et. al. 2011).

According to The Complete University Guide 2012 (supported by The Telegraph and PwC Aston is ranked 25th out of all 115 UK universities and according to QS World University Rankings 2011/2012 Aston University ranked 334 out of over 6,000 Universities around the World.

Jane Knight differentiated between globalization and internationalization. She stated that Globalization is the context of economic and academic trends that are part of the reality of the 21st century while, Internationalization includes the policies and practices undertaken by academic systems and institutions and even individuals to cope with the global academic environment (Altbach et al. 2007)

Key terms and concepts

The growing interest in the international dimension and delivery of higher education has led to an increase in the number of terms used in the field (Knight, 2006). In the Guide, the following key terms and concepts are frequently used:

Globalization: A process that is increasing "the flow of people, culture, ideas, values, knowledge, technology, and economy across borders, resulting in a more interconnected and interdependent world." Globalization affects each country differently. It can have both positive and negative consequences, according to a nation's individual history, traditions, culture, priorities and resources. Education is one of the sectors impacted by globalization (Knight, 2006).

Internationalization of higher education:

Typically, "the process of integrating an international, intercultural, and global dimension into the purpose, functions (teaching, research, service) and delivery of higher education"; a different process than globalization (Knight, 2006).

Internationalization strategies: In the context of higher education, refers to both campus based activities and cross-border initiatives to facilitate and promote internationalization. Strategies include: international cooperation and development projects; institutional agreements and networks; the international/ intercultural dimension of the teaching/learning process, curriculum and research; campus-based extracurricular clubs and activities; mobility of academics through exchange, field work, sabbaticals and consultancy work; recruitment of international students; student exchange programs and semesters abroad; joint/double degree programs; twinning partnerships; and branch campuses. This Guide addresses only the cross-border aspects of internationalization of higher education (Knight, 2006).

Cross-border education: The movement of people, knowledge, programs, providers and curriculum across national or regional jurisdictional borders. Cross-border education is a subset of "internationalization of higher education" and can be an element in the development cooperation projects, academic exchange programs and commercial initiatives. The commercial initiatives are the focus of this Guide (Knight, 2006).

Trade of education services: Cross-border education initiatives that are commercial in nature and are usually intended to be for profit (though this is not always the case); a term primarily used by the trade sector (Knight, 2006).

So what is Cross Boarder Education?


Cross-border education can be considered a relatively new phenomenon. One of its cited definitions is given by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and

Development (OECD) in 2005, i.e.:

"Cross-border education includes higher education that takes place in situations where the teacher, student, programme, institution/provider or course materials cross national jurisdictional borders. Cross-border education may include higher education by public/private and not-for-profit/for-profit providers. It encompasses a wide range of modalities, in a continuum from face-to-face (taking various forms such as students travelling abroad and campuses abroad) to distance learning (using a range of technologies and including e-learning.". A different definition is also provided by Knight (2006), i.e.: "Cross-border education refers to the movement of people, programs, providers, knowledge, ideas, projects and services across national boundaries."

It also often involves collaborative arrangements, sometimes requiring access to technology and is a response of education to globalisation (Daniel, Kanwar & Clarke- Okah, 2006). Through internationalisation, higher education has now become an important export sector; where franchising and licensing production are beginning to turn into foreign direct investment as universities stamp their presence in other countries (Healey, 2008)

Knight (2006) also opines that cross-border education may signify a horizontal move from development co-operation to competitive commerce, i.e. from aid to trade.

As with many businesses, the internationalisation of higher education follows an incremental process; a sequencing sometimes known as the 'Uppsala internationalisation model' (Healey, 2008). The steps in this model are:

1. Exporting;

2. Licensing production;

3. Joint ventures; and

4. Sole ventures.

This model suggests that universities may 'export' educational services to foreign students who enrol on their home campuses; 'franchise' or sub-contracts a local provider in another country to offer academic programmes; establish off-shore production facilities with the involvement of local partners; or wholly-own branch campuses in foreign countries (Healey, 2008).

Exporting: In the context of higher education, universities „export‟ educational services to foreign students who enrol on their home campuses.

Licensing Production: The higher education equivalent of licensing production is more usually known as "franchising ‟, in which a university (normally based in a MESDC) sub-contracts a local provider in another country to offer part or all of its degree programme. Many arrangements of this type between private colleges and UK and Australian universities started life as so- called „1+2‟ deals, in which the college delivered the first year of a three year bachelor's degree on its own premises, with the students going on to complete their degrees as regular students on the university's home campus. „1+2‟ gradually gave way to „2+1‟ and then the„3+0‟ model, in which the while degree was franchised. Concerns about the poor quality of many of the private colleges, mainly established by local companies on a for-profit basis, have led to franchising sometimes being disparaged as "McDonaldization" (Hayes and Wynyard, 2002)

Joint Ventures: What Mazzarol et al (2003) term the „third wave‟ of the Uppsala internationalisation process entails the establishment of offshore production facilities. In the higher education sector, national regulations regarding the licensing of educational providers typically require the involvement of a local partner, so that joint ventures are the standard organisational form of the third wave

Sole Ventures: In the OECD, there are examples of wholly-owned branch campuses around the world,particularly in centres like London and Paris, but many are little more than international study centres for use by visiting students from the foreign (often US) university's home campus. There is also a large number of foreign for-profit private colleges and universities operating across the OECD which admit students to degree programmes. For example, the „British Accreditation

Council‟, a non -governmental for-profit agency set up to provide accreditation to private institutions, lists a total of 78 accredited private universities and colleges offering higher education in the United Kingdom

In the main, however, these organisations are generally ineligible for publicly funded study support (eg, government student loans) and tend to cater for small numbers of international students. More importantly, they are not part of any third wave of internationalisation by established western universities

Cross-border providers are diverse, and generally classified into two categories, i.e. traditional universities and alternative providers who primarily focus on teaching and the delivery of services (Knight, 2006). The latter can include brick-and-mortar institutions or virtual universities that complement, compete, collaborate or simply co-exist with other providers. OECD (2005) also acknowledges that cross-border higher education encompass a wide range of modalities ranging from face-to-face to distance learning.

Mobility in cross-border education can involve students, programmes or the institutions themselves (Knight, 2006). Students, mainly from politically and economically elite backgrounds, have been going abroad for a university education for decades (Healey, 2008). Similar to the Uppsala model, academic programmes can also be 'moved' through licensing, franchising, twinning, articulation, validation and through virtual/distance modes. Conversely, the different forms of cross-border provider mobility include branch campuses, independent institutions, mergers and acquisitions, study centres, networks as well as virtual universities ((Fadzil & Munira 2008)

Table (1) General framework for cross-border education

Source: (Knight, 2006)

The Free-Trade Context

It is well accepted now seeing education as a business and finds different ways to respond to it as it is going global ((Fadzil & Munira 2008). It can be seen as a private good which can be traded freely not a public responsibility.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) will provide a regulatory framework to encourage international trade in education and service-related industries as part of negotiating the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). GATS remains under negotiation and individual countries may agree to some or all of its provisions. But GATS will, when WTO member countries implement the agreement, focus on facilitating academic mobility via:

• Cross-border supply. This mode may include distance education (e-learning), and franchising courses or degrees. It does not necessarily require the physical movement of the consumer or provider.

• Consumption abroad. The consumer moves to the country of the provider. This mode includes traditional student mobility.

• Commercial presence. The service provider establishes facilities in another country including branch campuses and joint ventures with local institutions.

• Presence of natural persons. This mode includes persons, including professors and researchers, who travel temporarily to another country to provide educational services.

The internationalization motivations and benefits:

It is clear that they key motive for all internationalization projects in the profit sector is earning money and making profit. It is the same motive for some traditional non-profit universities with financial problems (Altbach et al. 2007). According to a survey by knight main motivations for non profit organizations are not financial but that they wish to enhance research and knowledge capacity to increase cultural understanding. Many countries Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the US recruit international students to earn profits by charging high fees. International graduate students also provide research and teaching services for modest compensation (Altbach et al. 2007). By diversifying modes of delivery and establishing international branch campuses, Western higher education institutions might be spreading their risks, so that they are less dependent on particular categories of student, and less at risk of sudden shocks or shifting economic and socio-cultural trends that result in reduced enrolments of international students at home campuses. It is increasingly important for some universities to establish or develop a global brand in order to achieve their growth objectives and to attract international students and research income. In addition to its campuses in Australia and Dubai, Murdoch University currently has a presence in Japan, Malaysia and Singapore (Wilkins, 2011).

Employee benefits:

Working in international branch campus can be considered as a great opportunity for the staff members as the branch campuses are often modern, purpose of built places resourced with the best equipment, gaining new research opportunities and valuable teaching experience. However, some academics fear that working at branch campuses in the Gulf States may hinder their research and career progression, in some cases foreign universities are prepared to offer earlier promotions, e.g. to professor, as an incentive to encourage high calibre staff to work at their branch campuses (Wilkins, 2011). Working in the Gulf can offer academics excitement and glamour in their lifestyles. The financial packages offered to expatriate academics in the Gulf States can be very attractive, especially as accommodation is usually provided, salaries are tax-free, free medical insurance is provided, and the school fees of dependent children are paid. International branch campuses also provide employment opportunities for Gulf nationals, especially in managerial, administrative and support roles. As more Gulf nationals achieve PhDs, it is likely that the number taking academic positions at branch campuses in the Gulf States will also increase, thus contributing to the achievement of further labour market nationalisation across the region. (Wilkins, 2011).

Individual Internationalization

Students are the individuals who choose the destination based on the immigration rules and the field of the study. They also decide whether they will study abroad or remain home and enrol in programs offered by foreign education providers. Students are also considered to be the largest source of funds for internationalization not government or academic institutions or philanthropies as there are more than two million international students which are self funded (Altbach et al. 2007).

Growth Areas

International higher education initiatives exist in almost every country. But the developed countries especially the large English-speaking nations and, to some extent, the larger EU countries provide most services. By any measure such as flows of international students, franchisers of academic programs to foreign providers, international accreditors or quality guarantors, or controlling partners in "twinning" arrangements. These countries reap the main financial benefits and control most programs. The "buying" countries are Asian and Latin American middle-income countries and, to a lesser extent, the poorer nations of the developing world that lack capacity to meet growing demand. The largest markets are therefore for "demand absorbing" programs that provide access to students who could not otherwise attend a postsecondary institution.

Another part of the market: undergraduate students seeking an overseas academic or cultural experience. Other industrialized countries also send significant numbers of students abroad, often via EU programs. Another widespread phenomenon in industrialized nations providing effective cross-cultural educational preparation for university students, such as internationalizing the curriculum accompanies the physical movement of students, programs, providers, and academic staff across borders (Altbach et al. 2007)

Quality Assurance and Recognition

Some factors regarding the quality assurance and the recognition can make the internationalization very difficult. The first issue is the registration of the institution or the network that deliver the cross-border program or whether it is licensed and recognized by the providing and receiving country. Many countries lacking capacity or political will do not have the regulatory systems to register or evaluate out of country providers. Regulatory frameworks for quality assurance or accreditation, even when they exist, usually do not apply to providers outside the national education system (Altbach et al. 2007)

The second issue: is how regulators assure the quality of the courses or programs offered by public or private institutions, and especially by the new private commercial companies and providers who are usually not part of, or recognized by, nationally based quality assurance schemes and how regulators monitor the quality of the academic experience of students engaged in cross-border education

Historically, national quality-assurance agencies did not assess the quality of imported and exported programs, with notable exceptions. But Hong Kong, Israel, Malaysia, and South Africa, as receivers of cross-border education, have developed systems to register and monitor the quality of foreign provision.

The United Kingdom and Australia are sending countries that introduced quality assurance for exported cross-border provision by their recognized higher education institutions. The third issue: the role of accreditation. Market forces increase the importance of the profile and reputation of providers and their courses. Institutions make major investments in marketing and branding campaigns to earn name recognition and to increase Quality assurance starts with the program deliverer domestic or international. Many higher education institutions have adequate quality assurance processes for domestic delivery. But these processes do not cover the challenges inherent in working cross-culturally, in a foreign regulatory environment and, potentially, with a foreign partner.

These challenges include academic entry requirements, student examination and assessment procedures, faculty workload, delivery modes, curricular adaptation, assuring quality teaching, academic and sociocultural support for students, and title and level of award. In balancing quality issues with the financial investment and return, higher education providers must consider intellectual property ownership, choice of partners, division of responsibilities, academic and business risk assessments, and internal and external approval processes (Altbach et al. 2007)

Success and failure among foreign Universities

For decades, countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Gulf countries, and South Korea have all engaged in collaborations in an effort to improve the quality of the higher education institutions in their countries. However, globalization of higher education is not a trend exclusive to recent years (Mahani, et. al. 2011)

Globalization has affected many higher education systems over the past two decades. Many students now seek oversees education in order to be well prepared for the global market. Studying oversees has become a new trend; nearly three million students worldwide now study outside their home countries, a 57% increase in just the past decade (Wildavsky, 2010). The number of international branch campuses has also grown dramatically, with more than 160 around the world. Countries worldwide are becoming aware of the economic benefits of educational institutions and are working hard to improve their enrolment rates (Wildavsky, 2010). It is estimated that the number of globally mobile students will nearly triple to eight million by 2025. India and China are said to continue to be the world's leading exporters of students, although China has started to import students from other Asian countries (Wildavsky, 2010). International research collaborations amongst universities are another growing trend, and have almost doubled in the past two decades. Such international collaborative work in education ensures that academic progress in one part of the world could result in advancements and growth in another part of the world. Allowing people and knowledge to freely move beyond campus walls is constructive to all parties involved (Mahani, 2011)

Over the past five years many universities have opened their doors in the UAE, with some succeeding while others failing to deliver results either academically or economically. Government officials in the UAE continue to allow international institutions to establish campuses across the seven Emirates, with the intention to not only serve the local population, but to establish the country as a thriving regional educational hub similar to Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia. According to Becker (2009), between 2006-2009, 49 international branch campuses started their operations in the UAE, most of which were American, Australian and British universities. A research study indicated that 62% of students in the UAE studying in UK-based institutions stated that the UK offered the best higher education in the world (Wilkins, 2010). Hence, with such positive reputation amongst students in the UAE, one can assume that these international campuses should not have difficulty attracting students. However, over the years, not all international universities have been successful in the UAE, as some have had to terminate their operations soon after starting (Mahani, et. al. 2011)

George Mason University

It had to close its doors in 2009, less than three years after it opened its campus in Emirate of Ras Al Khaima due to low enrolment rates. It was unable to meet its recruitment target although it enrolled 180 students (Bardsley, 2008).

Michigan State University Dubai

Michigan State University's branch campus in Dubai closed after a two-year effort to create a top-tier university. It hoped to enroll 400 students by its second year, however, the total number of their enrollment was 85. Michigan State University's president, Lou Anna K. Simon, stated that even though they offered the similar undergraduate program as their American campus and hoped to attract the same type of students, the university had to close its doors due to Dubai's financial meltdown which started few weeks after the branch opened its doors in the Dubai International Academic City due to low enrollment rates and lack of qualified students (Mills, 2010).

Michigan State University was founded through the support of Dubai Holding; a company owned by the Dubai ruling family and founded on a $5 million loan and grants. MSU's 5 year strategic plan meant that they had to attract between 100 to 200 undergraduate students for each incoming class in order to sustain the five academic programs they were offering. However, during the last months of its operation, it had become clear to administrators that the campus was not able to operate and survive with 85 students across five programs. Therefore, once the university applied to the UAE's National Research Foundation for funds, and was turned down, they reduced their tuition rates by 50% to students who were willing to transfer from other Dubai-based universities. Of the 220 students that applied, only 20 qualified academically. With only 20 students, MSU was unable to survive and applied for a $3.4 million loan to Dubai Holding, which was declined and the university finally closed down (Mills, 2010).

While the Dubai financial meltdown had a negative impact on Michigan State University's success, its competitors claim that the institution's failure was due to high tuition rates and the absence of a local track record. The Dubai economic recession did cause some loss of jobs, but mainly amongst younger expatriates in their 20s and 30s who worked in real-estate and construction, not the mid-level executives and older expatriates who have university age children. The Michigan States University's Dubai campus tuition was $16,000, which was approximately 23% higher than Heriot-Watt and Wollongong universities.

One of the factors that caused the closure of Michigan State University in Dubai was the financial problems the institution was facing in its home campus in the United States. A decline in state revenues, programs cuts, escalating tuitions and frozen salaries, meant that the university couldn't sustain the struggling campus' operation in the Middle East (Mills, 2010).

Indian University of Pune

The most recent failure amongst internationally branched universities has been the Indian University of Pune, which opened a branch campus in 2009 in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. Universities are keen to opening campuses in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, because of the existence of an educational free zone in which institutions do not require accreditation from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The president of the institution, Mr. Shukat Mirza, blames its failure on lack of enrollment, and stated that they have faced difficulties attracting students since the university is located in Ras Al Khaimah, a less populated Emirate that does not offer the same lifestyle available to students in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (Swan, 2011).

University Of Wollongong

In the same year that Michigan State University closed down, the Australian University of Wollongong's Dubai branch had its highest enrollment since its establishment in the UAE. The University of Wollongong opened in Dubai in 1993 in a rented office building adjacent to an abandoned shopping complex, with only eight students. The university started operating without any grants or loans; however, it grew slowly as it depended on its tuition-financed budget. Today, it has 4,500 alumni and has moved to Knowledge Village an education complex. Currently the university enrolls 2,500 students (Mills, 2010).

Heriot-Watt University

Scotland's Heriot-Watt University is an example of a fast growing university in the UAE. The university started with 117 students in its first year and this number increased to 500 within three years. Today, after five years since its establishment, Herriot-Watts' Dubai campus student enrollment is 1,400. The university is currently working on constructing a 300,000 square foot campus that will accommodate up to 4,500 students (Mills, 2010).

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology

It is another university that opened in the UAE which affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The assistant dean for research at Masdar states that the affiliation with MIT will provide people with the comfort that the institution is legitimate and reliable. As a post-graduate-only university, Masdar currently enrolls 92 students from 22 different countries and is planning to increase its student population to 800. Qualified students were accepted into the postgraduate program from around the world and are offered full tuition, accommodation, monthly stipend, personal computers, all text books, and travel reimbursements (Lindsey , 2011).

It is clear that not all HE institutions with branch campuses are struggling. Heriot-Watt University and Nottingham University are good models of success among universities with overseas campuses.

Brand reputation and human resource issues

In 2008, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University announced that that they would not be opening international branch campuses in the foreseeable future. Of concern to both institutions was control over their brand name reputation and quality assurance issues, particularly their ability to recruit the quality of academics that would guarantee academic standards (Olds, 2008). Research active senior academics are usually reluctant to leave their work at home campuses and junior academics fear that working overseas will limit their chances for promotion. International branch campuses often recruit academics who lack an affiliation with the home campus (Altbach, 2010), and sometimes they even hire academics who have no experience of teaching or education in the home country. Some of the smaller branch campuses employ relatively high proportions of parttime academics, which may represent an effective method of minimising costs, but it is not a method of achieving employee commitment and high quality teaching and research. In conclusion, whilst establishing international branch campuses in the UAE, or in any of the other new education hubs, may appeal to institutions wanting to raise cash and their international profile, it would seem that some of the world's most prestigious universities do not yet believe that the rewards outweigh the risks and potential costs (Wilkins, 2010).

The shortage of student applications is clearly forcing some private HEIs to be 'flexible' with regard to their entry requirements. Students are studying in international branch campuses in the UAE who probably would not have been accepted onto the same programme at the institution's main home campus (Altbach, 2010). Once enrolled, there exists considerable pressure on academics to satisfy the students, as they are now considered to be more like consumers than simple receivers of education. This is no different to the situation that exists in many countries around the world, which is considered by many to be the result of the commercialisation of higher education. A survey conducted in the UAE revealed that many professors believed their students had average or below average ability in mathematics and writing in English. They also admitted that students were being awarded higher grades than they deserved (Gerson, 2010). Pounder (2007) suggests that educational institutions should develop and experiment with new approaches to assessing teaching quality and classroom dynamics. The current balance of supply and demand in the UAE private HE sector has brought both advantages and disadvantages for students. Disadvantages and potential risks include the availability of a narrow range of subjects and options, modules that are not delivered due to insufficient numbers of students selecting them, under-investment in resources and equipment, a narrow range of extra-curricular activities and the risk of institutions closing and abandoning their enrolled students before they have completed their programmes.

Potential advantages to students of the current market situation include gaining access to higher education, which may otherwise have been inaccessible, the ability to gain a degree from a prestigious western university without having to travel to the country where it is based, smaller class sizes and the inability of institutions to increase tuition fees (Wilkins, 2010).

Internationalization Risks

Jane Knight stated that while the process of internationalization affords many benefits to higher education, it is clear that there are serious risks associated with this complex and growing phenomenon. According to the results of the 2005 International Association of Universities (IAU) Survey there is overwhelming agreement (96 percent of responding institutions from 95 countries) that internationalization brings benefits to higher education. Yet, this consensus is qualified by the fact that 70 percent also believe there are substantial risks associated with the international dimension of higher education (Knight, 2007).

The top three risks associated with internationalization are commercialization and commodification of education programs, the increase in the number of foreign "degree mills" and low-quality providers, and brain drain. It is a sign of the times that each of these risks relates more to the cross-border aspects of internationalization than the campus-based activities. Both developing and developed countries identified commercialization as the number-one risk over brain drain-a clear testimony to its importance. It is also revealing that the loss of cultural or national identity, jeopardy of the quality of higher education, and the homogenization of curriculum were identified as the least important risks. When these results are compared to a similar 2003 IAU Internationalization Survey, brain drain was considered as the greatest risk. Thus, we are seeing a definite shift over the last three years toward mounting concern about commercialization, commodification, and marketization trends (Knight, 2007)

Regional Views of Risks

In the Middle East, the loss of cultural identity is definitely the number-one risk attached to the process of internationalization. Increasing attention is being given to the importance of the international dimension of higher education in the Middle East. It will be revealing to see whether increased involvement in internationalization brings new and different threats to higher education in this region over the next three years when the IAU Internationalization Survey will again be distributed. This triannual survey meets the imperative need that we have a long-term perspective and regular monitoring of changes and challenges facing the international dimension of higher education institutions around the world (Knight, 2007).

Policy and government International Branch Campuses

(Lane) conducted a study using two exploratory case studies (Malaysia and Dubai) to investigate the relationship between the government, public policy, and IBCs. The IBCs imported by the governments investigated in this study tend to be from well-established institutions in countries that attract a large number of international students. The results from the study suggest that governments are actively recruiting institutions from other countries to aid in improving the host government's education-related reputation and signalling to the world that it is modernizing its economy and its desire to be a regional education hub. Thus, IBCs not only increase local capacity and provide a different type of education, but are intended to foster new regional interest in pursuing an education in the host country (Lane, 2011).

Current Status of IBC Development and Regulation

In the last 15 years, changes in the policy environments of many countries aimed at attracting IBCs has led to a relatively rapid increase in this type of venture.

Unlike most of their predecessors, many of the recently developing IBCs are designed to serve students in the host country and local region, operating alongside domestic providers. One aspect of the nature of cross-border higher education is that, regardless of whether a home campus is considered public or private, the IBC operates in the private sector of the host country (though it can fulfill some public purposes (Lane and Kinser 2011)). While there has yet to emerge one agreed upon definition of an

IBC, there does seem to be agreement that an IBC must have a physical presence on foreign soil, the students at the IBC must be able to earn a degree from the home campus, and that it be fully or jointly owned by the institution from which the degree is awarded. As such, regardless of whether an IBC is regulated under the same provisions as apply to the public or private higher education sector, the academic enterprise is neither owned nor completely controlled by the host government. In some places, such as Qatar and Abu Dhabi the private-public distinction becomes blurred because of the amount of financial support the government is providing to some of the IBCS within their borders; however, from a legal perspective, the home campus retains the academic authority and ownership over the degree and curricular provisions (Lane and Kinser 2011). In both Malaysia and Dubai, the government considers IBCs part of the private sector. The issue of internationalisation, for obvious reasons, is more dependent on government policy than is any other. Teaching and learning in the university sector are therefore more closely aligned to national policy at present than may have been the case in recent times (Lane, 2011).

The internationalisation of higher education (HE) has led to an increasing interest in pedagogy, cross cultural awareness, the student experience and the fundamental relationship between the UK university sector and the government.

There is every expectation that student mobility will increase from the assessed

2009 global figure of 3.2 million, of which approximately 400,000 are registered as studying in the UK, and that TNE figures for UK institutions collected comprehensively by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) for the first time in 2008, will continue to grow and will surpass the traditional international recruitment figure. As UK government policies, regulations and legislation may, for good reasons, have to monitor more closely the international student and staff entry quotas, permission to remain and bring dependents, length of employment in the UK on completion of study and nationality and specialism in sensitive research areas, this option for delivery of British degree qualifications through the TNE route will become more popular for the institutions and the students. Already there are 162 full overseas campuses functioning across the globe with 10% of these provided by the UK institutions. International recruitment came to be valued as part, but only part, of the wider and longer term approach to internationalisation. Both government and the institutions had agreed on this as numbers in the UK exceeded 400,000 in the first decade of the twenty-first century: It is not just about getting students to choose UK universities and colleges. It's about building sustainable partnerships between our universities and colleges and those of other countries. The future lies not just in recruitment but in strong relationships, the quality of the actual experience and demonstrating maximum value for those who place their trust in the UK (Humfrey, 2011)

The Future of Internationalization

Internationalism will remain a central force in higher education, though its contours are unclear. Australian experts argue that perhaps 15 million students will study abroad by 2025 up from the current two million. This prediction might be optimistic. The international student numbers in Australia have declined somewhat, after a decade of dramatic expansion (Altbach et al. 2007). The US, the leading host country, also saw a modest enrolment decline in 2004. The long-term trends are strong and stable, but several uncertainties may affect the pace of internationalization:

• Political realities and national security. Terrorism may affect international higher education.

Tightened visa requirements in the US, the UK and other countries, security restrictions on the subjects that can be studied, and fear of terrorism expressed by potential international students may affect cross=border student flows.

• Government policies and the cost of study. Policies concerning the cost of tuition and of fees for visas and other documents may affect international initiatives.

• Expanded domestic capacity. Interest in studying abroad or in enrolling in international programs may decline as countries increase access to higher education, especially to master's and doctoral programs.

• English. The growing use of English as a medium of research and instruction, especially at the graduate level, may stimulate interest in international programs, offered by universities in English.

• The internationalization of the curriculum. Students may find international programs useful as curricula move toward models developed in the US and other industrialized countries.

• E-learning. International acceptance of degrees will lead to an expanded role for distance education, though it is unclear whether international e-learning degrees will become more widespread or domestic e-learning programs-often located in developing or middle-income countries will continue to dominate.

• The private sector. Private higher education is the fastest-growing segment of higher education worldwide, though only a small part of this sector is international. It is not clear if private higher education providers will find the international market sufficiently profitable though some expansion seems likely.

• Quality assurance and control. Quality assurance is a major concern within countries. It is a greater problem internationally. Observers criticize many international higher education programs for low standards, but fail to identify measures of quality. (Altbach et al. 2007).


Chapter Three: Methodology


In the previous chapter, I reviewed the literature on the internationalisation of Higher Education in different contexts. I addressed the reasons behind the success and failure of some institutions. In this chapter, I present my research aim and question in light of the reviewed literature, and I describe my research approach and methodology.

This chapter describes and explains the methodology deployed in this study and at the research methods reading which informed my choice of methods.

Chapter one introduced the subject of this dissertation, i.e. to give a brief about internationalization in higher education and the pursuing of establishing overseas campuses. The focus is particularly the significant factors that influence universities to pursue an internationalization strategy, evaluating the university situation and their capability to develop its internationalization strategy and express a new market by examining the students' needs.

Developing the research instrument

Three main research instruments were used during this work. An initial survey questionnaire was given to students in the Arab Gulf in the Middle East embarking on their interest of joining overseas campuses in their countries. The questionnaire was designed to be quick and easy for students to complete, with several questions involving a choice of tick boxes, with a minimum amount of written response required. Ninty-two questionnaires were returned, so it was a relatively good sample. The questionnaire can be found in Appendix i.

The data from the returned questionnaires was collated and analysed and the findings can be found in Chapter Four. The questionnaire was designed to evaluate and get to know about the students level of involvement with internationalization, classify them to local students and international ones, know their motive to join specific universities or programs and finally get to know their opinion about the foreign universities campuses on their county/country of living and if they are willing to join them.

The next stage was undertaking the research to form interviews and qualitative research. Six different interviews were conducted with medium/senior level staff members to see the university understanding of internationalization, evaluate their ability to establish overseas campuses and develop the university internationalization strategy (a copy of the interview can be found in Appendix ii). Also reviewing internationalization published documents was a part of the research as a secondary data.

4.3 Data collection

It was recognised that it was important to secure information at an early stage on the students' perceptions of and engagement in internationalization. To achieve this, a survey was distributed via 'Survey Monkey' (a copy of the survey is available in Appendix I). A copy was sent to Qatar foundation to help distributing the survey and this was also publicised in both Qatar living website in both general page and education page. Also the survey was distributed in various education websites in The Arab Gulf Region. It was initially promising that 104 replies were received and 92 out of these included a response to the key question on good practice. We were, therefore, left with good data that could be valid for good analysis. However minimal responses received from the local students in the region compared to the responses from the international students

It became clear that if the answers to all or most of the above were positive then there was a high probability that internationalization activity and interest are promising.

Methodology and methods

Mixed methodology

Mixed method strategies are those that involves collecting and analyzing both form of data, qualitative and quantitative in a single study (Creswell, 2003)

Qualitative research is defined as multi method in focus, involving an interpretive, naturalistic approach to its subject matter. It involves the studied use and collection of a variety of empirical materials- case study, personal experience, introspective, life story, interview, observational, historical, interactional, and visual texts.

(Helle Neergaard and John Parm Ulhøi, 2007)

Semi structured interviews

It consists of predetermined questions related to domains of interest, administered to a representative sample of respondents to confirm study domains, and identify factors, variables and items or attributes of variables for analysis or use in a survey. The questions on a semi structured interviews guide are per formulated, but the answers to those questions are open-ended, they can be fully expanded at the discretion of the interviewer and the interviewee, and can be enhanced by probes (Schensul, Stephen, Jean J. Schensul, and Margaret D. LeCompte 1999)

The study

In this study, a two-phase, mixed method approach was taken to the research with quantitative survey and qualitative interview in a sequence.

Once students' attitudes and opinions of internationalisation had been gathered using a quantitative survey, a qualitative approach was adopted to understand the best ways of introducing internationalisation issues into the curriculum through gathering data from administrative staff. The overall approach to the research is illustrated in (Figure 1)

Quantitative Survey (Questionnaire)

A survey was designed from a review of the literature on internationalisation and curriculum development. The survey instrument contained 34 questions which combined nominal (yes/no) and ordinal (preferences and 4-point Likert) scales.

The survey instrument and the theoretical sources of its development are presented in Appendix 1.


After analysing the documents, 6 in-depth semi-structured interviews were planned and conducted with individuals in diverse management positions at the university to understand their views of internationalisation. Interviews have the purpose of encouraging interviewees to express their views and interpretations of the world, and the questions asked during the interview should assist such an expression. This is reflected in the interview schedule prepared for this research in that questions encouraged open responses and free expression. The interview questions asked about how the interviewees understood internationalisation in general and at that particular institution from their own positions.

Questions also asked about the international strategy and how or whether it was thought to be important. There were variations in detail in the questions, but there were seven core questions in all interviews (Appendix 1). Interviews were between 30 to 60 minutes. As mentioned earlier, the interviews conducted were semi-structured, thus allowing for paraphrasing of questions and a broader discussion without deviating far from the topic that the interviews revolve around.

Ethical considerations

Formulations of ethical principles are no different for quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Among the most important ethical principles, the researcher has to adhere to are informed consent, voluntary participation, confidentiality, protection from harm, and maintenance of the well-being of the participants. Informed consent, from individuals capable of such consent, must be obtained in all forms of research. This requires informing participants about overall purpose of the research and its procedures, as well as the risks and benefits of participation. Voluntary participation means that participants are not coerced to participate in the study and, at any time during the research, may withdraw their participation with penalties (Klenke, 2008).

Being a small-scale study in which participants are middle or senior managers from a single institution, the views of those participants may give an indication of their identity. Interpretations of statements may demand recognition of the respondents' role or position, which, therefore, needs to be stated and, as a result, makes the respondents more easily identifiable. Participants were made aware of this issue before participating, and their consent sought before conducting interviews with them. Every attempt was made to minimise the reference to specific details about participants' personal information and identities that might have been accidentally mentioned by them in the interviews. As for the interviews, and as mentioned earlier, interview questions were sent in advance to participants and they were made aware of the fact that the interviews were semi-structured and other questions than those in the interview schedules might emerge. Before the interviews, interviewees' consent to record the interviews was sought and the confidentiality and anonymity issues were also discussed beforehand.

The selection of extracts from interview transcripts was based on the research main aim. Every attempt was made to ensure that all data related to the aim of the study were presented and that the findings were not distorted.

Conclusion: A view to the analysis

In this chapter, I presented a description of the methodology used in my research on the internationalisation. A survey was given to students in the targeted market in the gulf region to see if the students willing to join overseas campuses of foreign universities in their country/country of living. Also. Interviews were conducted with individuals in middle and senior management positions in academic as well as service-based departments at that university for a closer look at how internationalisation was understood and thought to be managed in the university and to explore the current situation regarding the expansion. NVivo software for qualitative research was used to store and organise interview transcripts. Being an inductive study, there were no predetermined codes or categories to explore, and the software was only used as a database to identify main themes and broad categories; namely, those related to the meaning of internationalisation and to the international strategy document. In other words, codes and theme were created inside NVivo in relation to internationalisation issues or the international strategy as and when there was reference to such areas in the interview data. In chapter four, I present an analysis and discussion of the data.