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Transnational Education (TNE) Quality Benchmark


Transnational education

All types of higher education study programmes, or sets of courses of study, or educational services (including those of distance education) in which the learners are located in a country different from the one where the awarding institution is based. (UNESCO/Council of Europe 2001)

TNE Quality Benchmark (TNE QB) is the review process through which UK NARIC provides external and independent reassurance that an awarding institution has the capacity to deliver TNE qualifications that:

  • are of comparable standards to those of similar provision it offers in its home country (or across its delivery model for online learning);
  • provide a learning experience that ensures the achievement of the expected learning outcomes;
  • take into account the education, training and skills needs of the location of delivery. [1]

The benchmarks underpinning TNE QB, the TNE International Standards , have been developed in close alignment with the UNESCO / OECD Guidelines for Quality Provision in Cross-Border Higher Education , the UNESCO / CEO Code of Good Practice in the Provision of Transnational Education , and the INQAAHE Guidelines of Good Practice in Quality Assurance . Specific consideration has also been given to the UNESCO Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications.

TNE QB serves the primary purpose of improving international understanding and confidence in TNE qualifications, with a view to facilitating the international recognition of TNE qualifications. It ultimately aims to support the global mobility of TNE students for employment or further study, and the growth of quality and relevant TNE provision.

TNE QB is an important tool to reassure and inform international stakeholders about the standards and quality of benchmarked provision. TNE QB will inform, and be informed by, UK NARIC’s broader strategic engagement with national authorities, regulators, qualifications recognition bodies, networks, and other TNE stakeholders internationally, aimed at improving the recognition climate for TNE of demonstrated quality and standards.

Who can apply to the TNE QB scheme?

The TNE QB scheme is a comprehensive service available to:

  • all legitimate awarding institutions offering TNE provision, regardless of their location of origin or of delivery; [2]
  • all types of TNE delivery arrangements, including branch campuses, collaborative partnerships, and online learning, in their different forms;
  • all levels of training and higher education at or above level 7 of the UK NARIC Band Framework © .

What are the benefits of the TNE QB scheme?

A successful TNE QB review will entitle benchmarked TNE operations to:

  • use the TNE QB Quality Mark for their benchmarked TNE provision;
  • be listed on the TNE QB section of the UK NARIC International Comparisons database, consulted worldwide to inform recognition decisions;
  • have their successful TNE QB disseminated through UK NARIC global networks, including international credential evaluators, regulators, ministries, and education providers.

A successful TNE QB review will also entitle graduates of benchmarked TNE provision to:

  • a TNE QB Certificate of Comparability stating that the awarded qualification has been successfully benchmarked by UK NARIC;
  • a UK NARIC’s Visas and Nationality Statement or English Language Assessment for those needing to prove their English language proficiency for UK visa, employment, or further study purposes.

More broadly, the TNE QB scheme can benefit all key TNE stakeholders:

Education providers:

  • Facilitating international recognition of their TNE qualifications.
  • Enhancing their international reputation and market positioning in an increasing competitive context.


  • Enhancing TNE students’ employability prospects, through facilitated recognition of their TNE qualifications.
  • Helping prospective students to make an informed choice through an independent assessment of standards, quality and relevance.

Host locations:

  • Helping in reassuring host locations’ authorities about the standards, quality and relevance of TNE provision offered in their jurisdiction.
  • Supporting their monitoring, evaluation and recognition activity.

Sending locations:

  • Informing the oversight of regulators or quality assurance bodies in sending locations of TNE.

How to Apply

If you are thinking to applying or for further enquiry please contact the TNE QB team at

Further information is available in our guide to the TNE QB process