International Branch Campuses of UK Universities in UAE: Highlights from QAA

Quality Assurance Agency of UK released a very insightful report entitled “Review of UK Transnational Education in United Arab Emirates.” It provides an overview of the scale and scope of the overseas branch campus activity of British universities in UAE. It is an important indicator as, according to the report “the UAE is the country hosting the largest number of international branch campuses in the world, currently hosting 37 from 11 different countries, with the UK being the highest sending country.”
The report notes that “of all UK higher education institutions, 70 of them (over 40 per cent) were engaged in some form of TNE activity in the UAE in 2012-13. This activity involves just over 15,000 students, representing an increase of 37 per cent during the past two years. This increase has been most noticeable in the number of students studying in the two large branch campuses of Heriot-Watt University and Middlesex University, which account for 78 per cent of the students working towards a UK award in the Dubai free zones.”
These numbers are quite small in terms of the overall scope of the activities. To put in perspective, The University of Manchester and University College London alone enrolled nearly 23,000 non-UK students in 2012-13 on their home campuses. Likewise, University of Southern California and University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign enrolled nearly 19,500 international students between two of them.
I have previously noted that international branch campuses get disproportionate amount of attention as compared to alternative models of transnational education engaged in by higher education institutions.
Here are three additional charts from the report:
1. While overseas branch campus activity (Type 1) has grown, it still forms only 7,000 students in  branch campuses of UK universities in whole of UAE.
2. Two campuses-Heriot-Watt and MiddleSex-form 3/4th of IBC activity of UK universities in Dubai.
3. Student enrollment in Dubai is stagnating, showing a sign of saturation

Dr. Rahul Choudaha