Perhaps, but there’s still a lot going on
The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, OBHE, has published its fourth report on international branch campuses. The OBHE definition of a branch campus, which has broadened since the previous report, is this:
a higher education institution that is located in another country from the institution which either originated it or operates it, with some physical presence in the host country, and which awards at least one degree in the host country that is accredited in the country of the originating institution.
The report highlights some interesting developments in branch campus activities across the globe. The New York Times offers a helpful summary of some of the key findings and suggests that the latest data indicates something of a slowdown:
Of the 200 operating branches, 78 are connected to American universities, as are a third of the 37 being planned.
Among the planned programs in China are New York University’s liberal arts campus, the University of California, Berkeley’s engineering center, and programs by Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, Kean University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are planning programs in India; George Mason and Stony Brook are opening in South Korea; the Berklee College of Music in Spain; and Carnegie Mellon in Rwanda.
The report also found that universities in developing countries are now opening branch campuses in their regions. India, for example, has four campuses in Mauritius.
While the United Arab Emirates still has the most branches (37), the greatest growth has come in China, which has 17 branches now, up from 10 in 2009; and Singapore, which has 18, up from 12.
Over the last decade, as globalization and international rankings have become increasingly important, many American universities have seen branch campuses as a way to bolster their prestige.
And although many university officials like to speak of their international efforts as altruistic contributions to world development, the vast majority are in the Emirates, China, Singapore and South Korea, which pay large sums to attract big-name institutions, and few are in poorer nations in Africa or Latin America.
This is a really telling point, particularly in relation to US insitutions’ international activities. However, what is also fascinating in the report is the number of countries which are hosting a branch campus for the first time:
Interestingly, half of these developments are south-south, ie where both provider and host are from the southern hemisphere.
Plenty more in the report too.