This British Council-commissioned report provides insight into Egypt's growing transnational education (TNE) sector. The report gives a detailed description of the operating environment for TNE in Egypt and the scale of different types of partnerships in the country, as well as providing an in-depth analysis of the regulations and processes that overseas universities must go through to develop new TNE partnerships. It also analyses the potential opportunities of different types of local partners and the TNE model.
Egypt is the leading host of UK transnational education students in the MENA region, while the UK is Egypt's largest partner in the number of higher education partnerships. Transnational education is delivered via various operating models, including four international branch campus (IBC) hubs, hosting seven universities (including four from the UK), developed since 2018 with the Egyptian government keen to attract more other UK TNE partnership includes joint and dual degrees, franchise and validation arrangements, and some online delivery. However, growth in recent years has been driven by other countries, including Germany and the US, amidst a more cautious approach from UK universities.
There is potential for UK universities to increase their TNE presence through both collaborative provision and international branch campuses, with positive factors including the high regard for British higher education in Egypt and government support for overseas universities to establish branch campuses. With overseas education fees often considered prohibitively expensive for local families, TNE represents an attractive lower-cost option for many.
While the overall operating environment for TNE in Egypt is positive and enabling, details on policies, procedures and regulations governing TNE are not always clear. There are specific laws and requirements for establishing international branch campuses. Still, there are also unwritten expectations surrounding the involvement of local investors and consultants and around the business and/or legal partnerships that universities must set up to create IBCs. Processes for developing other kinds of partnerships, such as joint or dual degrees and franchised or validated UK degree programmes, are more opaque. This report aims to provide UK HEIs with a better understanding of typical stakeholder journeys that a UK university may experience whilst developing different TNE models in Egypt, with typical relationships and timelines indicated in the process.
Opportunities to work with local partners on different types of TNE partnership opportunities vary depending on the type of partner. Public universities are keen to establish or expand joint or dual-degree cooperation. In contrast, national universities (a type of non-profit institution partly funded by the state and partly by tuition fees) are interested in partnerships that can facilitate Egyptian student progression to the UK. Private universities are keen to internationalise and are interested in a variety of TNE models, including franchise and validation agreements; meanwhile international branch campuses are typically established in cooperation with local private investors that finance the IBC's infrastructure and its operating costs while the overseas university partner is responsible for academic provision. Finally, technological universities (a relatively new form of publicly-funded institution) present comparatively lower cooperation opportunities overall but may have some potential in TVET-related courses.
We hope this report provides practical guidance and experience-based insight into the steps to take, and stakeholders to engage with, to support sustainable UK and Egyptian education partnerships, as Egypt continues to emerge as a significant regional player in TNE.