chapter  9
Global convergence in quality assurance
Pages 16

As the importance of high-quality mass higher education has become apparent to governments across the globe, the barriers and discriminatory policies that faced transnational institutions and programs in the past have been slowly dissolving over the past decade. Instead, as we argued in a previous chapter, various forms of non-discriminatory regulation have been put in place to recognize and regulate foreign higher education. The most common form of regulation is quality assurance. Countries seeking to expand the capacity of their education system by attracting foreign programs and providers normally have rudimentary and unimposing quality assurance systems, whereas those with established capacity that are attracting foreign providers in order to enrich their system generally have quite rigorous and burdensome quality assurance measures. Over time, as capacity is built up, oversupply can be avoided by raising the bar and eliminating the bottom end of the market. Thus, we argue here that quality assurance is being used to regulate the number, size and prestige of foreign providers entering a market. Further, despite the minutiae of national differences, we suggest that shared interests will drive an increasing regional and global trend towards convergence of the criteria and mechanisms for assuring quality.