By Colin Nelson
AACSB's recently-released report on globalization speaks extensively about what it means to be a "global" institution, and covers many dimensions of cross-border education, such as institutions with international branch campuses, international joint or dual degree partnerships, articulation/twinning agreements between institutions in different nations, etc.[i]
However, there is an important dimension of cross-border education that is not covered, namely the growing number of regionally-focused, multi-locational institutions to which multiple national actors contribute. These are different from institutions with branch campuses outside their country of origin, in that no one nation hosts the "main campus," but rather all campuses act as co-equal parts of the institutional network. Such institutions are an increasingly common strategy in developing regions, where individual nations have limited resources for promoting access to higher education.
I have observed three models for such institutions. First is the model in which governments of several states collectively found and/or own a given institution, or the "public model." Examples include:
- University of the West Indies (UWI)– Established in 1948 as a College of the University of London, UWI became independent in 1962. It has three main campuses: Mona, Jamaica (which includes the Mona School of Business); Cave Hill, Barbados (which includes the Cave Hill School of Business); and St. Augustine, Trinidad (which includes the Arthur Lok Jack School of Business). UWI also has 42 university centers, known collectively as the "Open Campus," among UWI's other 14 stake-holding countries and territories:
- University of the South Pacific (USP) – Established in 1968, USP is jointly owned by the governments of 12 island countries in Oceania, each with its own campus and/or university center. The Faculty of Business and Economics is based on the main campus; Laucala, Fiji:
- Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI)– ESAMI is owned by the governments of 10 member states, who all signed its establishment charter in October 1979 and recognize its MBA programs. ESAMI headquarters is in Arusha, Tanzania, but all member states have campuses:
Another model is that of a private institution, founded and/or operating in multiple countries (the "private model"). This model does not preclude government cooperation, however, as such is generally needed for the institutions to operate effectively cross-nationally. Examples include:
- University of Central Asia (UCA) – An international treaty and charter establishing this secular, private university was signed in 2000 by the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and H.H. the Aga Khan, and registered with the UN. UCA is an independent, self-governing institution with campuses of equal size and stature in each founding country:
- Arab Open University (AOU) – Though its headquarters is in Kuwait, campuses of AOU also lie in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. AOU was founded in 2002 in all nations that currently boast a campus, except Oman, whose branch opened in 2008. AOU uses the same teaching and program delivery methods as The Open University of the U.K., a partner of AOU. The Faculty of Business Studies is one of AOU's three original academic units, present at all campuses:
The final model blurs the line between individual institutions and consortia (the "consortium model"):
University of the Indian Ocean (UIO) – Established in 1998 under the aegis of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), UIO is a European Union-funded network of institutions of the five IOC member states and territories: the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion (a French territory), and Seychelles. Though it has no physical campus of its own, multi-university degree programs are offered by UIO, focused on topical subject areas such as diaspora, or vocational degrees such as an MBA, whereby all participating students from IOC member countries attain the same recognized level of education. During its three-year pilot phase, the UIO secretariat was based in Réunion, but it now rotates among member states:
As the report points out, business schools in developed nations choosing to expand their global cross-border presence tend to select locations for their facilities "because of their roles as business centers in their respective regions and for their accessibility by students and faculty traveling from other regions of the world."[ii] As a result, less developed nations are not frequently chosen as hosts. I see regionally-focused institutions like those above as an encouraging sign, not only of developing nations' recognition of the utility of capacity-building inherent in management education, but also their ingenuity in creating locally relevant responses to their needs.
[i]AACSB International, Globalization of Management Education Task Force. (2011) Globalization of Management Education: Changing International Structures, Adaptive Strategies, and the Impact of Institutions, Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, U.K.
[ii] Ibid, p. 178.