By the 1965 General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), signed by all members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including Nigeria, education was considered as an exportable service. With this understanding and the design of GATS to enhance trade liberalisation, the National Universities Commission (NUC) hopes to widen access to higher education and fully exploit the provisions of GAT for the benefits of Nigerians. A way of achieving the above is to open the space for TNE to foster collaboration between stakeholders in the Nigerian University System and their international counterparts.
Hence, this document, containing policy framework and guidelines for Transnational Education (TNE) is put together for the first time as a holistic document. It consists of elements of TNE that had existed in various collaborative initiatives and Memoran4da of Understanding.
Some considerations have made the TNE framework imperative. These include a growing demand for entrance into the Nigerian education market through diverse forms of offer. Indeed, TNE has increasingly become a crucial component of higher education, with globalisation and digital technologies making it easier for institutions to operate across borders. Today, we have a consistent flow of educational goods and services within the context of global trade and movement of human populations. These come in the form of education tourism, international student flows and the export of technology that have become integral aspects of TNE and of prevailing human realities.
In the context of internationalisation, it is important to emphasize that the flow of skills and services has mainly been from the North to the South, with developing developing nations expending much of their resources to develop talents that end up in developed nations to help develop the economies of these nations while leaving their own countries stranded. The incidence of students going to Western countries for studies aggravates the brain drain and talent migration from the South to the North, as many of them choose to stay behind in the North after their studies. TNE could be one of the means of solving this problem.
This document provides a guideline for all interested international players in Nigeria’s higher education sector and enables Nigerian universities to leverage on the opportunities provided by TNE. The vision and fundamental principles of the Nigerian state is substantiated in the framework, in addition to the general principle of equity and global best practices.
The NUC is aware of the vast potentials of TNE, as well as the challenges of properly operationalising it. While the Commission id disposed to open the Nigerian space and thus align with the realities of the 21st century and global best practices in relation to transnational education, the TNE framework will provide clear regulatory guidelines that will govern the operations of each model of TNE for the benefit of the nation, while ensuring that the risks are minimised if not eliminated. It is for this reason that the framework provides definitions, conceptual clarifications, guidelines and procedures for operationalising TNE in the Nigerian University System.
Chris J. Maiyaki
Ag. Executive Secretary, NUC