Transnational education and engineering accreditation

Harrison, Ian; Bond, Kay
December 2012
Engineering Education;Dec2012, Vol. 7 Issue 2, p24
Academic Journal
In the higher education sector there is increasing incidence of transnational education, whereby student learning is undertaken in a different country from the awarding institution. One example is the branch campuses operated by the University of Nottingham in Malaysia and China which award identical certificates to graduates from common programmes across the three campuses. This paper explores the specific challenges faced by transnational education in the case of a programme which has been validated by a national professional institution and consequently provides graduates with partial exemption from the full process of gaining individual professional recognition, typified by engineering education where programme validation by engineering institutions is highly prized by prospective students. An example is described where the local accreditation panels from different countries required different programme features from what was designed as a common, transnational, programme delivered in three countries. Achieving degree accreditation for students graduating in each different country is clearly challenging when maintaining the undifferentiated status of the degree, and whilst international agreements appear to provide a supportive framework for transnational education, this paper concludes that specific requirements of individual national accrediting bodies will continue to prove challenging to the higher education institutions involved.


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