Higher Education Policy

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 255–273 | Cite as

Reconsidering Privatization in Cross-Border Engagements: The Sometimes Public Nature of Private Activity

  • Jason E Lane
  • Kevin Kinser


Privatization trends in higher education have typically been analyzed from the perspective of the institution and its relationship with the sponsoring state. The recent phenomenon of international cross-border higher education, however, represents a more complicated picture of privatization. Geographic separation from the sponsoring state is an extraordinary from of privatization in the public sector. At the same time, host countries may look to the international branch campus to achieve public ends. This paper examines the concept of privatization through cross-border educational initiatives, and argues that the public and private nature of cross-border higher education can only be fully understood when considering the relationship with the home and host countries. The analysis is based on comparisons of how governments in Qatar and the Malaysian state of Sarawak use foreign education providers to support government goals, and how those seemingly public purposes problematize traditional concepts of privatization.


privatization cross-border education Qatar Malaysia foreign education providers 



The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Christine Farrugia in the preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason E Lane
    • 1
  • Kevin Kinser
    • 1
  1. 1.University at Albany, State University of New York, Institute for Global Education Policy StudiesALBANYUSA

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