Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-22, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 20 January, 2022 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2022.


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Off-shore provision

core definition

Off-shore provision is the export of higher education from one country to another.

explanatory context

The United States, United Kingdom and Australia are the leaders, world-wide, in providing programmes abroad.

analytical review

The New Zealand Ministry of Education, in response to the question, ‘What is ‘offshore education’?’ states:

`Offshore education' is a component of `export education'. There are a variety of ways in which export education can be defined. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), APEC and other international bodies use the following four classifications:

a. Consumption abroad, in which the student moves to the country of the supplier to receive education (e.g., an international student studying in New Zealand);

b. Cross-border supply (or distance education), in which an educational service is provided across borders but without the movement internationally of either student or teacher (e.g., an international student enrolled in a ‘correspondence' or distance course through a New Zealand provider, but studying from their home country);

c. Commercial presence, in which the provider establishes a presence in the country in which the student resides, for example through a twinning programme or establishment of an offshore campus; and

d. Presence of natural persons, in which the educator moves to the country of residence of the student to provide the service.

In practical application, these types of services are often combined. For example, twinning programmes normally involve elements of both ‘commercial presence’ offshore and some ‘consumption abroad’. There may also be an element of provision via distance education (e.g., over the Internet or by traditional ‘correspondence’ learning), and staff from the provider country may travel to the student’s country to deliver or assure quality in some of the course. In this sense, the term ‘offshore education’ is used … as a short-hand term to encompass all modes of delivery other than ‘consumption abroad’.

associated issues

There is an issue with off-shore provision as to who is responsible for assuring the quality.


The situation in Japan, for example, which has relatively little off-shore education, is that:

Japanese institutions’ offshore programs in other countries are not recognized as part of Japanese higher education, and the ministry’s view has been that it is up to a host country’s authorities whether or not to recognize the programs…. The proposed policy on offshore provision is that the Japanese government will recognize offshore programs and degrees and integrate them into the national quality assurance framework. (Ohmori, 2004)

related areas

See also

franchise programmes


Ministry of Education [New Zealand], 2004, New Zealand’s Offshore Public Tertiary Education Programmes Last update: 20 August 2008, accessed 22 January 2012, not available 5 September 2012.

Ohmori, F., 2004, ‘Japan and transnational higher education’, International Higher Education, Fall.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2022

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