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A socially responsible approach to TNE: 'Deep Dialogues' conference

Representatives from over 30 countries engaged in focused discussions about internationalisation and transnational education (TNE) at the Going Global ‘Deep Dialogues’ conference in Edinburgh last month. 

Delegates representing Ministries and education providers attended this three-day event, organised by the British Council in partnership with Ecctis, the Employee-Owned Trust company which operates UK ENIC on behalf of the UK Government.

Fabrizio Trifiro, Head of Stakeholder Engagement and International Quality Reviews at Ecctis, chaired the keynote address by Professor Hans de Wit, Director of the Center for International Higher Education, Boston College, USA, which called for the international education community to come together and adopt a socially responsible approach to internationalisation. 

Chris Lyons, Head of External Engagement at UK ENIC, chaired a session on the Global Recognition Convention and recognition challenges of TNE. Its key speaker was Borhene Chakroun, Director of the Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, UNESCO, who spoke about the progress that is being made in terms of signatories, a work programme and implementation of the Convention.

Fabrizio Trifiro said: ‘During the event a consensus emerged among delegates that a socially responsible approach to TNE is essential to make it scalable and sustainable.'

He said that social responsibility in this context will cover a range of factors:

  • Academic standards, with implications for quality assurance and recognition
  • A serious long-term commitment to each and every TNE operation
  • Responsibility for students if things go wrong, exercising a duty of care, and managing their expectations, as well as carefully listening to and responding to their views, and
  • Awareness of community responsibilities: complying with local regulations and meeting local education and training needs and, more broadly, our globally interconnected communities, embedding social goals and SDGs in the social mission of education institutions, including TNE.

‘Some form of global higher education governance systems might be needed to support more equitable forms of internationalisation and TNE, including through funding mechanisms,’ Fabrizio added. 

‘The European higher education area provides an example of this. Whether UNESCO will be able to take this vision and model of cooperation at a global level through the Global Recognition Convention remains to be seen. Either way, we all share the responsibility as key players in the international education landscape in our different individual roles. 

‘We can be agents of change individually, but it will be even better if we work together, united by common values. The ‘Deep Dialogues’ conference was very helpful in making us aware of the role we can play individually and collectively, and in contributing to the development of a cross-border community of practice with a common purpose.’

03/04/2024 10:54:00