Role of Transnational Universities in Capacity Building in Hosting Countries: A Review


  • Khalid Al-Horr Community College of Qatar, Qatar



Transnational Education (TNE), Transnational University, Capacity Building, Skill Development, Host Country, Mobility


The current review was based on the significance of Transnational Education (TNE), the role of transnational universities in capacity building and hosting countries, and the innovative aspects in which transnational universities are addressing the needs of the international community. This review was executed using the recent review articles and research publications based on TNE in capacity building. The data was gathered from the last 8 years, from 2016 to 2023, from renowned publishers, including Emerald, Wiley Higher Education Quarterly, Open Journals in Education (OJED), Emerald, Taylor and Francis, Springer, Sage, and MDPI AG. This search was carried out using multiple keywords, including; “Role of Transnational Universities”, “Transnational Higher Education”, “Transnational Education”, “Capacity Building”, “Skills Development”, “Host Countries” and “Hosting Countries”. A standardised approach to data extraction and synthesis was adopted after finalising 16 studies in total. Findings revealed that When universities participate in international education collaborations, they should also evaluate potential partners based on endogenous notions of student happiness, loyalty, and extra-role behaviours. The study explored the impact of TNE on employment prospects and career development, focusing on marketable skills, hard and soft skills, and cross-cultural awareness. Notably, TNE experience positively impacts professional growth and future social mobility. The study highlighted the importance of capacity building, sustainability, infrastructure investment, and culturally appropriate pedagogy in TNE. Challenges include linguistic barriers and differences in teaching cultures during COVID-19.


Adriansen, H. K. (2020). Materialities and mobilities in transnational capacity building projects: Uneven geographies of knowledge production. Population, Space and Place, 26(3), e2294.

Azzali, S., Mazzetto, S., & Petruccioli, A. (2021). Urban Challenges in the Globalizing Middle-East: Social Value of Public Spaces. Springer.

Cai, Y., Ma, J., & Chen, Q. (2020). Higher education in innovation ecosystems. In (Vol. 12, pp. 4376): MDPI.

Cai, Y., Ramis Ferrer, B., & Luis Martinez Lastra, J. (2019). Building university-industry co-innovation networks in transnational innovation ecosystems: Towards a transdisciplinary approach of integrating social sciences and artificial intelligence. Sustainability, 11(17), 4633.

Caniglia, G., John, B., Bellina, L., Lang, D. J., Wiek, A., Cohmer, S., & Laubichler, M. D. (2018). The glocal curriculum: A model for transnational collaboration in higher education for sustainable development. Journal of Cleaner Production, 171, 368-376.

Carroll, P., Early, J. O., Murphy, N., O’Connor, J., Barry, M., Eagan-Torkko, M., O’Connor, R., Richardson, N., & Stone, A. (2022). Connecting classrooms and communities across continents to strengthen health promotion pedagogy: Development of the Transnational Education and Community Health Collaborative (TEaCH CoLab). Pedagogy in Health Promotion, 8(4), 287-296.

Che, A. a. M. a. (2023). Benefits and challenges of transnational education: Reflections from a Sino-British joint venture university. International Journal of Chinese Education, 12(1), 2212585X221144903.

Chen, C., & Vanclay, F. (2021). Transnational universities, host communities and local residents: social impacts, university social responsibility and campus sustainability. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 22(8), 88-107.

Ding, X. (2018). Capacity building or market demand? Transnational teaching in China. Higher Education Policy, 31(2), 267-287.

Fabricius, A. H., Mortensen, J., & Haberland, H. (2017). The lure of internationalisation: paradoxical discourses of transnational student mobility, linguistic diversity and cross-cultural exchange. Higher Education, 73(4), 577-595.

Fonkem, M. (2020). The Opportunities and Challenges of Online Instruction in Transnational Education and Learning. Journal of Comparative Studies and International Education (JCSIE), 2(1), 96-109.

Graham, K. M., Elsheikh, A., & Eslami, Z. R. (2020). Reflections on the Mobilities, Immobilities, Inequalities, and Traveling Ideas in Qatar. Journal of Asia TEFL, 17(2), 626.

Harima, A. (2022). Transnational migration entrepreneurship during a crisis: Immediate response to challenges and opportunities emerging through the COVID‐19 pandemic. Business and Society Review, 127, 223-251.

Heffernan, T., Wilkins, S., & Butt, M. M. (2018). Transnational higher education: The importance of institutional reputation, trust and student-university identification in international partnerships. International Journal of Educational Management, 32(2), 227-240.

Honadle, B. W. (2018). A capacity-building framework: A search for concept and purpose. Public Sector Performance, 20-35.

Horta, H., Jung, J., & Santos, J. M. (2020). Mobility and research performance of academics in city-based higher education systems. Higher Education Policy, 33, 437-458.

Hou, A. Y.-c. (2019). Comparisons of QA systems, Review standards and Procedures, and Transparency in Taiwan and Indonesia Regions: Capacity Building for Transnational Education Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN),

Knight, J. (2018). The changing landscape of higher education internationalisation–for better or worse? In Perspectives on the internationalisation of higher education (pp. 13-19). Routledge.

Kuzhabekova, A., & Lee, J. (2018). International faculty contribution to local research capacity building: A view from publication data. Higher Education Policy, 31, 423-446.

Leung, M. W., & Waters, J. L. (2017). Educators sans frontières? Borders and power geometries in transnational education. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43(8), 1276-1291.

Lo, W. Y. W., & Wan, C. D. (2021). Revisiting the Asian regulatory regimes in transnational education: How local politics (re) oriented higher education policy in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Policy Reviews in Higher Education, 5(2), 113-130.

Madsen, L. M., & Adriansen, H. K. (2021). Transnational research capacity building: Whose standards count? Critical African Studies, 13(1), 49-55.

Mok, K. H., Han, X., Jiang, J., & Zhang, X. (2018). International and transnational education for whose interests? A study on the career development of Chinese students. Higher Education Quarterly, 72(3), 208-223.

Ou, W. A., & Gu, M. M. (2021). Language socialisation and identity in intercultural communication: Experience of Chinese students in a transnational university in China. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 24(3), 419-434.

Schulze, M. P., & Kleibert, J. M. (2021). Transnational education for regional economic development? Understanding Malaysia’s and Singapore’s strategic coupling in global higher education. International Journal of Training and Development, 25(4), 363-382.

Shams, S. R. (2017). Transnational education and total quality management: a stakeholder-centred model. Journal of management development, 36(3), 376-389.

Shiel, C., Leal Filho, W., do Paço, A., & Brandli, L. (2016). Evaluating the engagement of universities in capacity building for sustainable development in local communities. Evaluation and program planning, 54, 123-134.

Sin, I. L., Leung, M. W., & Waters, J. L. (2019). Degrees of value: comparing the contextual complexities of UK transnational education in Malaysia and Hong Kong. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 49(1), 132-148.

Sun, Y., Li, N., Hao, J. L., Di Sarno, L., & Wang, L. (2022). Post-COVID-19 development of transnational education in china: challenges and opportunities. Education Sciences, 12(6), 416.

Tang, K. N. (2020). The importance of soft skills acquisition by teachers in higher education institutions. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences, 41(1), 22-27.

van den Berg, G., Joffe, M., & Porto, S. C. (2016). The role of partnerships in academic capacity building in open and online distance education. Distance Education, 37(2), 196-207.

van der Rijst, R. M., Lamers, A. M., & Admiraal, W. F. (2023). Addressing student challenges in transnational education in Oman: the importance of student interaction with teaching staff and Peers. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 53(7), 1189-1205.

Weaver, G., Hiltebrand, G., Ngai, G., & Chan, S. (2022). Faculty perceptions of building collaborative teaching capacities within a transnational virtual exchange: A collaborative autoethnography. Journal of International Students, 12(S3), 135-148.

Wilkins, S. (2017). Ethical issues in transnational higher education: The case of international branch campuses. Studies in Higher Education, 42(8), 1385-1400.

Yafei, K. A., Ayoubi, R. M., & Crawford, M. (2023). The student experiences of teaching and learning in transnational higher education: A phenomenographic study from a British-Qatari partnership. Journal of Studies in International Education, 27(3), 408-426.

Ye, R. (2022). Testing elite transnational education and contesting orders of worth in the face of a pandemic. Educational Review, 74(3), 704-719.




How to Cite

Al-Horr, K. (2024). Role of Transnational Universities in Capacity Building in Hosting Countries: A Review. Journal of Tertiary Education and Learning, 2(1), 1–11.