Germany and Malaysia are the regions most likely to benefit from ongoing growth in global higher education (HE), according to a report launched at the British Council’s Going Global 2016 conference last week.

The study confirmed that both Germany and Malaysia are ahead of the UK and Australia – the world’s second and third-most popular study abroad destinations, respectively – in terms of HE support provided by policies, regulations, quality assurance and finance, according to a new British Council index which compares 26 countries worldwide.

The index also places the USA, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand below Germany and Malaysia for the same criteria.

The 26 nations featured in the index, which also includes India, Russia and Brazil, were compared against 37 quality indicators which were developed through the evaluation of more than 100 national strategies.

The report, titled The Shape of Global Higher Education, was announced at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre for the largest annual global HE conference. University leaders, heads of state and policy makers were among the 800 representatives at the meeting between May 3 and 5.

The purpose of the study was to determine the most favourable national environments for global collaboration, partnerships, research and economic growth so results could be used as a guide within global education sectors. The British Council described it as “the first comparative framework through which the relative strengths and weaknesses of different countries’ higher education policies can be judged”.

The report highlights three crucial ways in which global governments can support their country’s HE sector, the fist being through openness to enable widespread mobility through each national sector; the second being an increased regulatory setting to encourage mobility and programmes through quality assurance and greater appreciation of international qualifications; and finally, unbiased access to HE that is backed by sustainable development policies.

In terms of openness and global mobility, Australia, the UK and Germany lead the pack, but the report notes that the UK’s advantage in this area is largely due to international strategy and transnational education, concealing “an incomplete set of policies regarding students and academic mobility”.

The same countries remain top in terms of quality assurance and recognition of credentials, but the UK suffers a considerable drop for accessibility, falling to ninth place due to the international market displacing domestic applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds. China takes the lead in terms of quality assurance, followed by Germany and Thailand, respectively.

Germany and Malaysia represent the regions with the highest overall scores, achieving good results in all three performance indicators. The report cites Malaysia’s Education Blueprint 2015-2020, emphasising desirable targets for overseas student recruitment and global research collaborations; as well as Germany’s Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdeinst’s Strategy 2020, which hones in on student mobility, as prime examples of growing dedication towards international HE schemes.

Professor Jo Beall, Director Education and Society, British Council, says:  “There is hardly a country left unaffected by the global flows of students, teaching and research, so the value of a greater understanding of national higher education systems has never been more important,” said Professor Jo Beall, Director of Education and Society for the British Council.

“The future of higher education will depend on successful, sustainable, mutually beneficial partnerships,” concludes Beall.

Additional reporting by Media FHE.

Image via Flickr.

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

Rising cost of living in Malaysia means students can’t afford to eat

Data shows Spain, France and Germany remain top student exchange destinations