The ‘Higher Education and Research Forum: The future of UK-Cyprus collaboration post-Brexit’ held by the British Council
Higher education experts from Cyprus and the UK discussed the collaboration of the higher education and research sectors post-Brexit at the first Higher Education and Research Forum organised by the British Council on February 2019 in Nicosia.
A delegation of nine Higher Education experts and representatives from the UK, including the Chief Executive of the British Council Sir Ciarán Devane, representatives from the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education as well as more than 25 higher education institutions and seven government departments from Cyprus attended the forum.
The forum, with more than 60 participants, was welcomed by Athena Michaelidou, Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Culture on behalf of the Minister, the British High Commissioner to Cyprus Stephen Lillie CMG who commented on the excellent timing the Forum, and the Chief Executive of the British Council mentioning how ‘International collaboration bilaterally and multilaterally is a key part of the future’.
The Forum objectives were to examine the potential implications of Brexit on existing and future Transnational Education (TNE) opportunities in Cyprus, reinforce the long-standing educational connections that exist between the two countries, and ways to further strengthen and facilitate institutional collaborations between Cyprus and UK institutions.
The Forum’s presentations and panel discussions aimed at giving a better understanding of the current situation and emphasised on the following core areas:
- Global and European dimensions of TNE including why and how TNE supports internationalisation of Higher Education with analysis on the landscape and TNE collaborations of Cyprus and UK Higher Education, now and after Brexit,
- The opportunities for research collaboration post-Brexit and ways of developing models of cooperation that meet Cyprus UK priorities and needs,
- How TNE is quality assured and the policy environment around its delivery in Cyprus.
The government of Cyprus clearly stated that establishing Cyprus as an educational destination is a strategic goal. It was noted that Cyprus is the fourth largest Transnational Education market in Europe and that transnational collaborations rank top in priorities of all Cypriot universities.
The President of the Cyprus Rectors Conference Mr. George Demosthenous explained that during the last Rectors Conference meeting, there was a discussion on the prospects of an organised and ambitious policy of educational diplomacy towards targeted countries.
Key findings on transnational education research produced by the British Council show that where TNE is delivered, most stakeholders, national governments and institutions delivering the programmes are optimistic about the future of Transnational Education.
The nine member delegation from the UK also had the opportunity to visit higher education institutions already involved in transnational education with the UK as well as attend a networking dinner with stakeholders, organized by Invest Cyprus (CIPA).
Considering all the initiatives, opportunities, challenges and concerns post Brexit, a number of recommendations and suggestions have been put forward which will be included in the Higher Education and Research Forum Report, a publication which will be produced by the British Council over the upcoming weeks.