HIGHER education is one of the UK’s strongest industries. In 2008-09, the Department for Business estimated that Britain’s education exports were worth about £15bn.
But it’s no longer just about foreign students coming to Britain. A study by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education showed that the number of overseas university branch campuses had reached 200 in 2012, a 23 per cent increase from 2009.
And Britain is leading the way in the Islamic world. Iskandar Malaysia, a government-backed economic development corridor, is home to 10 international university branches. Five are from the UK.
Khairil Anwar Ahmad, chief executive of Medini Iskandar (a development within Iskandar Malaysia) says that “we knew many institutions in the UK were looking to expand internationally, and because of their quality, it made sense for us to try to attract them.”
But this trajectory is not assured, and ensuring the establishment of reputable universities in emerging markets will be a key point of discussion at today’s Forum. Ahmad notes that bringing Western institutions to countries like Malaysia can drive sustainable economic development.