Exporting Higher Education: Public and Private Providers
At its heart, Transnational Education is market-driven. It is a corporate, not an academic, impulse to take the service to the customer, instead of forcing customers into the service provider's preferred situation. Not surprisingly, the first international association dedicated to Transnational Education was established by the founder of the first accredited, private for-profit university in the US – Glenn Jones of Jones International University.
Enabled by GATS, modes 1 and 3 are certain to attract corporate education providers from North America, Australia, and the European Union. Through the use of ePaks and other eLearning formats, Mode 1 is almost infinitely scalable, making the interaction-lite approach extremely attractive to content owners and other private providers. Mode 3 would seem to represent more of an investment and thus a higher risk. Still, it is not yet clear what form the market itself prefers.
Nor is it clear what role, if any, traditional institutions of Higher Education will play. Will Transnational Education be largely ceded to private corporations, or will major US Universities compete in this arena? The anwers to questions of market preference and competitive involvement are intertwined. Mode 1 unquestionably plays to the strengths of the private sector. If attractively produced content and associated examinations meet the needs of Asian hiring managers, we will see multinational publishing companies leading the way, as is the case with Thompson Learning Corporation and the Universitas 21 association it is attempting to direct. On the other hand, teaching and learning is clearly enhanced, it is possible that not-for-profit colleges and universities may have unique advantages of their own.