Quality assurance in transnational higher education: a case study of the tropEd network

Prisca A. C. Zwanikken*, Bernadette Peterhans, Lorraine Dardis, Albert Scherpbier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Transnational or cross-border higher education has rapidly expanded since the 1980s. Together with that expansion issues on quality assurance came to the forefront. This article aims to identify key issues regarding quality assurance of transnational higher education and discusses the quality assurance of the tropEd Network for International Health in Higher Education in relation to these key issues. Methods: Literature review and review of documents. Results: From the literature the following key issues regarding transnational quality assurance were identified and explored: comparability of quality assurance frameworks, true collaboration versus erosion of national education sovereignty, accreditation agencies and transparency. The tropEd network developed a transnational quality assurance framework for the network. The network accredits modules through a rigorous process which has been accepted by major stakeholders. This process was a participatory learning process and at the same time the process worked positive for the relations between the institutions. Discussion: The development of the quality assurance framework and the process provides a potential example for others.
Original languageEnglish
Article number43
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2013


  • Quality assurance
  • Higher education
  • Cross-border
  • Transnational
  • Networks

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