2018 Global Forum Highlights

See Photo and Video Highlights and view Selected Presentations from our Global Forum on Student Well-Being And Outcomes in Education


10 May 2019

International [Branch] Campuses: OBHE coverage focus for 2019

Rachael Merola, Senior Researcher, OBHE

The OBHE begins a new focus on one of the most ambitious and longstanding forms of transnational education: the international branch campus (IBC). Since 2002 the OBHE has published six reports on the IBC phenomenon, the most recent two in conjunction with the Cross-Border Education Research Team (C-BERT), co-hosted at Albany’s Institute for Global Education Policy Studies and the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State University. This collaboration has resulted in the most comprehensive list of IBCs in existence.

The last report., released in December 2017, named 263 entities that fit OBHE/C-BERT’s definition of an international branch campus: “an entity that is owned, at least in part, by a foreign education provider; operated in the name of the foreign education provider; and provides an entire academic program, substantially on site, leading to a degree awarded by the foreign education provider.”

The 2017 report investigated success factors of “mature” IBCs founded prior to 2007, which constituted around half (130) of the IBCs counted at that time. Over three-quarters of these mature IBCs were founded by institutions based in just five countries: the US, the UK, Russia, France, and Australia. Recent growth continues to be driven by a small set of countries; in fact, half of all IBCs under development worldwide in 2017 were being planned by institutions based in the US and UK.

In 2019 OBHE/C-BERT will release a new report, including an updated count of the number and spread of IBCs globally.  Throughout the coming 12 months, the OBHE will complement the report with coverage of a range of trends and developments. Some of the planned topics are discussed in this article.

Full article available to all


25 April 2019

The Measure of Reform. Looking for Data on Student Success in the Philippines

Richard Garrett, Director, OBHE

The Philippines is home to the 11th largest higher education system in the world- with some 3.6 million students. The country is estimated to be the 12th most populous in the world, and destined to hit the top ten in the coming decades. But curiously, despite its scale, growing wealth and widespread use of English, the Philippines is nowhere to be seen in the Universitas 21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems. All the ten largest higher education systems- from Brazil to India, and Iran to Indonesia- are in the U21’s Top 50, so why not the Philippines?

Full article available for members and free trials.

12 March 2019

Student Experience as an Outcome: Performance-based funding in Australian higher education

Christopher Hill, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, The British University in Dubai

Rachael Merola, Senior Researcher, OBHE

Australia has long debated using student outcomes as a metric for funding, including experimenting with performance-based funding for learning and teaching from 2005 to 2009. Even as public expenditure per student has declined, increased enrollment has made total public spend on higher education rise, igniting renewed interest in measuring graduate outcomes and value for money and linking results to funding. This is a difficult task; stakeholders have struggled to agree on which outcomes should be measured, how university performance can be tracked, and whether there is adequate and accurate data to do so. The reintroduction of performance-based funding, to be implemented in 2020, will use student outcomes as the criteria for funding increases.

Full article available for members.

28  February 2019

What do New Zealand graduate outcomes tell us about progress on the nation’s skills shortages?

Rachael Merola, Senior Researcher, OBHE

Tertiary education in New Zealand has continued to make strides in both quality and access in recent years. The sector covers all post-secondary education including private training establishments (PTEs), institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs), wānanga universities and workplace training. All of the country’s eight state-funded universities were ranked in the top 100 in at least one subject in the 2015/16 QS World University Rankings, and government funding of research and research-led teaching increased to $622 million in 2018 from $576 million in 2017. Attracted by quality, cost, and work opportunities, international student numbers climbed 33% in universities from 2012-2016.  To improve access, first year fees for domestic students and qualifying residents were waived in 2017. While these measures give the impression that the nation is experiencing a Golden Age in tertiary education, data on the outcomes of graduates suggest a persistent skills shortage.

Full article available for members.

22 January 2019

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The International Quest to Define and Improve Student Success

On November 4-5, 2018 the Global Forum took place at the V Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton in Dubai, UAE. The theme was “The International Quest to Define and Improve Student Success: A global forum on student well-being and outcomes in higher education”. Please see photo highlights and video coverage of the event. The agenda and speaker bios are here

The knowledge partner of the 2018 Global Forum was the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai. As it does each year, the Forum brought together 125+ policy-makers, researchers, faculty, and practitioners to delve into some of the most salient topics in international higher education—this year, student well-being and outcomes in HE.

The Forum’s keynote talk was delivered by Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham and one of the world’s leading thinkers on student well-being.  The topic was “Improving Student Success- The positive and mindful university”. 

Speakers and delegates hailed from a range of organisations including KHDA, Quality Assurance Agency (UK), TEQSA (Australia), CPE (Singapore), SP Jain, Zayed University, Heriot-Watt University, TecMilenio University, and i-graduate, and locations including UK, USA, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, UAE, and more. Selected presentations can be found here

OBHE Publications

Our research agenda focuses on topics that have current and future relevance to transnational higher education, and our reports provide in-depth analysis of the latest developments, trends and challenges in borderless higher education. By synthesising the latest international developments, the research reports assess their wider implications for higher education leaders and policy makers.

The Observatory publishes original in-house research reports on themes that challenge the 'traditional' boundaries of higher education, and particularly those expected to impact the core business of universities and colleges.

The Observatory also commissions internationally renowned authors to prepare substantive reports on key issues in borderless higher education with specific national, regional and/or international perspectives. The issues are both timely and provocative, challenging institutional leaders in their thinking and understanding of topics critical to strategic planning. Authors draw on their experience and expertise to provide insight into a wide diversity of international experience.

View all reports     Articles     View sample report       Reports & articles (sampler)


The Observatory's full archive of News Headlines, Articles, and Reports is available on an unlimited basis to subscribers only.

Individual reports are also available to non-subscribers.Electronic versions of reports can be purchased through a publications search, where publication details are on view.

Certain limited articles are also available for purchase. Please note, however, that an institutional subscription provides more value for money.

To learn about the Observatory's breadth of coverage, search our publications archive.

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Global HE market “hugely competitive” – British Council report The PIE News, 16 May 2019

Higher education authority lifts limit on international students University World News16 May 2019

'Going global' keynote in higher education FE News, 14 May 2019

Is an office abroad a better option than a branch campus? University World News13 May 2019

UCL Launches the Monash Diploma of Science Programme The Sunday Times Sri Lankia13 May 2019

Ukraine: A Dark Horse in the Race for International Students Inside HIgher Ed (blog)12 May 2019

Study finds that university rankings matter less than teaching quality and living cost to international students, 10 May 2019

How can higher ed bring transparency to the alternative credential marketplace? EducationDive9 May 2019

Community College Expands Internationally to Grow Enrollment Inside Higher Ed9 May 2019

Survey finds increasing importance of internationalization of Higher Education in the New Political Climate Inside HIgher Ed (blog)9 May 2019

International student enrolment continues to soar in Canada University Affairs, 7 May 2019

Australia: sector hits back at Four Corners report The PIE News7 May 2019

ASEAN countries move forward on internationalisation University World News, 5 May 2019

Brazil Govt Cuts University Budgets Inside HIgher Ed, 5 May 2019

Nigeria deploys professors to Uganda to build local academic capacity University World News, 5 May 2019

How will Education Change in the Next Ten Years? International Policy Digest, 2 May 2019

Damian Hinds sets out UK plans for international education EdExec2 May 2019

Private universities in Bangladesh defy rules Prothom Alo English, 1 May 2019

Should you study at a university’s main campus or branch campus? Study International News, 30 April 2019

London branch campuses ‘offer much less’ than parent institutions Times Higher Education, 30 April 2019

Tsukuba University setting up branch campus in Perak Malaysia New Straits Times Online, 29 April 2019

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Forthcoming Events


15 May 2019:  UUKi Workshop The finance of TNE workshop: yield, returns, and hidden costs , London, UK

12-14 June 2019:  SUNY Albany 2nd Annual Intensive International Education Leadership Institute Future Change/Future Growth: Strategies for Global Success, Albany, New York

11 July 2019:  UUKi Workshop Mental health: A whole university approach, London, UK

25-29 August 2019:  40th French-German Colloquium on student affairs  conference on "Student Life in Europe - social responsibility, commitment, mobility", Strasbourg, FRANCE

23-25 October 2019:  6th Conference of the Americas on International Education (CAIE), Bogota, COLOMBIA

3-7 November 2019:  28th International Council for Open and Distance Learning (ICDE) World Conference on Online Learning, 'Transforming Lives and Societies', Dublin, IRELAND

6 November 2019:  UUKi TNE Conference, London, UK

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