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Request for Proposals: UK tertiary education in the Caribbean

An overview of opportunities to enhance the provision of UK tertiary education across the Caribbean: a scoping study

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


This is a joint project between the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the British Council.

The objective is to gain a detailed insight into where there are significant opportunities for UK tertiary education providers (universities, technical colleges, professional qualification and skills bodies) to expand their offer in the Caribbean to students who wish to remain the Caribbean to study. This will enable British Embassies and High Commissions in the Caribbean, supported by EducationUK, to provide more targeted support to UK higher education providers in expanding the availability of UK education in the region.

Aims and objectives: 1. To provide a broad overview of higher education provision (public and private) in the Caribbean, ideally covering the region with distinct focus on Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, Barbados, St Lucia, Jamaica and Belize. • Size of the current tertiary education market and future trends (e.g. size of student pool. This would focus on current numbers and projected numbers in the age 18-25 cohort with qualifications equivalent to A level qualifications. • Structure of tertiary education sector (public, private, degree colleges, international universities, providers of training for professional qualifications) and institutional developments. This section should include existing Caribbean country government policy towards and investment in tertiary education (e.g. university budget freezes or cuts) and policy developments (e.g. moves away from free tertiary education) • Fee levels and funding of education from a learner perspective e.g. availability of loans and scholarships etc • Current trans-national education (TNE) landscape including existing UK presence relative to other TNE providers (distance learning, online, e-learning, international branch campuses, twinning, joint degrees, bilateral programmes, other). Include research collaborations and exchange programmes. This to include an indication of numbers studying on these courses and trends in demand.

  1. Within this context, identify opportunities for UK education providers to respond. This should include analysis of: • Caribbean Government plans to adjust higher education strategies or funding streams and the potential implications of this (including need for consultancy services) • Plans for new private universities and new private colleges in each country. • Demand for TNE in its various forms and identification of institutions that wish to establish or increase TNE offer. • Comment on perception of UK education and qualifications vs. other potential international providers (e.g. local, US, Canada) and in relation to particular subject areas. Views of potential students, employers and professional bodies. • Demand for specific courses and qualifications, e.g. law, accountancy, oil and gas, marketing, IT, medical, higher-level skills in the context of national economic development strategies, labour market/ employment trends and the needs of professional bodies. • This section should bring out the relative scale of the opportunity (e.g. much more potential for X in country A given size of student pool/ government framework/labour market demands). It should also identify if the need is for Undergraduate and Masters degrees for those at conventional university age, and also mid-career updating via short courses or full postgraduate qualifications. • In the case of Belize and Guyana, the potential for UK providers to position themselves as a hub of English language education in Central/South America, when compared to other potential English language education providers.

  2. To set out potential barriers and challenges to UK market entry in each market, including: • Legislative, regulatory considerations • Fee levels and accreditation frameworks • Quality assurance • Other potential challenges and barriers to UK market entry and growth

Project methodology: Potential implementers will be invited to set out how they would intend to conduct the research. We suggest this include: • Analysis of secondary data on labour market and demographic trends, government policies in relation to higher education; HESA data on TNE and international students to determine which UK universities are engaged with the Caribbean for which courses • Semi-structured in-depth qualitative interviews with individuals in Government ministries, universities and colleges in the Caribbean; professional bodies; major employers in the region • Interviews with individuals from institutions that are already involved in TNE and also institutions that aspire to develop TNE, identifying drivers and expectations • If possible: focus groups with potential students – both 18 year olds considering undergraduate education; potential postgraduates and those 20-30 looking at mid-career updating • The project implementer should aim to provide a broad overview of each market above in a first phase of the research and then, in consultation with the British High Commission Port of Spain, focus on main markets in terms of potential student numbers.

Outputs: • A written report that will be disseminated by HMG to UK education providers • Also a more detailed, internal report for HMG containing information on key contacts e.g. in higher education Ministries and other practical information on supporting UK market access. It should include annexes containing of data tables, and the qualitative research brief. • A power-point presentation of findings for a seminar for UK tertiary education providers in the UK. This event would be hosted by British Council/ the FCO. • The report should be completed by the end of December 2013. The presentation should take place in January.

Your response should include: - Your proposed methodology - Examples of relevant previous research assignments into higher education or labour market issues - Examples of previous work in the Caribbean - CVs of the main members of the project team - Summary project plan, project management methodology and indicative timescale - Day rates for staff on the project and proposed number of days for each member of the project team. The indicative budget for this work is £20,000 – £35,000. Value for money will be an important selection criterion. - Proposals should indicate how many markets could be covered and what additional information could be provided on the broader region within the budget available. - What added value your organisation can bring to this project - Information on how you will ensure comparability of results between countries.

Responses should be sent to by 28 October. Requests for clarifications should also be directed to this address.

Shortlisted implementers will be invited to take part in a pitch/interview either face-to-face or by VTC/ teleconference.

Published 15 October 2013