2005 年 76 巻 p. 225-244
The growth of “transnational universities, ” including offshore branch campuses and degree programs provided in partnership with local institutions, is a major factor that made higher education a target of WTO/GATS negotiations. Quality assurance for transnational universities, including approval and evaluation, is a newly emerging issue for national higher education systems in the face of globalization.
This paper analyzes Australia's policy on quality assurance for transnational universities, since Australian universities are extremely active as transnational universities, and because the Commonwealth and State governments of Australia have developed an explicit quality assurance framework for transnational higher education.
The analytical viewpoint adopted in the paper is that for nation states, assuring the quality of transnational universities is a control measure for embracing those universities into their national education system, as a part of their strategic adaptation to globalization. The paper examines whether or not this viewpoint is valid by analyzing quality assurance policies in Australia, a leading country in this regard.
The results of the analysis confirm the validity of the viewpoint, and demonstrate that Australia, as both a supplier and recipient country, is utilizing quality assurance as a control measure for incorporating transnational universities into its national education system. The quality assurance policy of Australia, as a supplier country, is to implement external quality assurance of Australian universities' offshore programs through overseas audit visits by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), while calling upon the universities to develop their own internal quality assurance mechanisms, in order to sustain the brand image of Australian higher education. Its policy as a recipient country is to manage the approval process for foreign universities to operate in Australia, requiring them to have equivalent quality and standards to Australian universities. While there is a difference between the former policy, which is supportive in nature, and the latter, which involves legal regulation in the form of licensing, both policies are instruments that aim to incorporate transnational universities into the national education system, and place them under the nation state's control.
Australia's policies will have significant implications for Japan as it begins to recognize foreign university branch programs, and authorize moves by Japanese universities to open offshore branches, opening up its national borders to transnational universities both into Japan and outwards from Japan.