The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 89–109 | Cite as

The impact of the GATS on transnational tertiary education: Comparing experiences of New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia

  • Christopher Ziguras


This paper examines the impact of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) on transnational higher education in four countries: New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. The GATS is a multilateral agreement through which WTO members commit to voluntary liberalisation of trade in services, including education. Transnational (or offshore) education refers to education that is delivered by an institution based in one country to students located in a different country. Two of the countries considered, New Zealand and Australia, have made commitments under GATS to allow relatively unrestricted cross-border provision of education in their countries, while the other two countries, Singapore and Malaysia, have made no such commitment. There is currently considerable activity in renegotiating countries’ commitments to GATS as part of the Doha round of WTO negotiations, and simultaneously bilateral free trade agreements are being proposed between countries in the region. In this context, this paper examines the practical impact that GATS has had on these two countries that have made commitments regarding education, and the likely impact that similar commitments by Malaysia and Singapore would have on the tertiary education systems in those major importing countries.


World Trade Organization Tertiary Education National Treatment Private High Education World Trade Organization Member 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Australian Association for Research in Education 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Ziguras
    • 1
  1. 1.RMIT Globalism InstituteAustralia

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