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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Catherine Montgomery

Hou, J., Montgomery, C. & McDowell, L (2014). Exploring the diverse motivations of transnational higher education in China: complexities and contradictions. Journal of Education for Teaching 40(3): 300-318.

Author(s) from Durham


This article analyses the current situation of transnational higher education (TNE) in China by conducting a comprehensive documentary analysis. It first situates the phenomenon in global transnational mobility in higher education and then explores the diverse motivations of importing and exporting countries taking China and the UK as linked examples. The documentary analysis carried out for this research suggests that China has stated aims to promote TNE as a public good, whereas UK motivations for transnational education are ostensibly more driven by financial reasons. The article also identifies three features of the current situation in China: first showing that the distribution of the TNE in China is imbalanced; second, partner institutions are based in 21 economically developed countries or regions; third, the prominent cooperative arrangements are strongly focused in particular disciplines. The article argues that these features have led to unfair competition in some areas. Therefore, it appears that there are some inconsistencies and tensions between the stated aims of Chinese TNE policy and the way in which TNE is spreading and developing in practice.