Coventry University’s endeavours notwithstanding, other international education initiatives are more sustainable, Coventry University is making bold moves into international higher education, signing two agreements since Christmas to open new branch campuses

One, on a purpose-built campus in Casablanca, Morocco, will provide teacher training and courses in business and science and technology in partnership with Morocco’s Superior Institution of Science and Technology (SIST). The other, in Wrocław, Poland, will occupy two floors of a new office complex and initially offer undergraduate degrees in digital technology, business management and cybersecurity.

Coventry is the first UK university to establish a presence in Morocco and the first university from any foreign country to open a branch campus in Poland. However, it seems unlikely that the moves signal the reversal of a trend that, in recent years, has seen the growth of international branch campuses (IBCs) slow to a near-standstill.

In 2015, according to the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, there were 263 IBCs – defined as offshore operations run by the home institution, or as a joint venture, using the foreign institution’s name and awarding its degrees. That figure compares with just 84 in 2000. However, only a handful have opened since, and OBCs still account only for perhaps 225,000 students, out of 200 million worldwide (of whom more than 5 million are internationally mobile).

Read more : Philip Altbach and Hans de Wit : Times Higher Education : 19 February 2020