Issues and Snags in the Provision of Cross-Border Higher Education: Reflecting on Experiences from East Africa




collaboration, cross-border higher education, East African higher education, educational mobility


There is a global paradigm shift in higher education such that many nations consider cross-border higher education (CBHE) as an effective strategy for providing higher education opportunities to all, irrespective of national boundaries, at a relatively low cost and without irrationally compromising quality. Despite the nations being aware of the benefits of CBHE, there is still little evidence of significant collaborations among East African countries in this aspect. Consequently, this paper analyses various issues and challenges in CBHE in East Africa and their implications for sustainable regional higher education. Besides the differences existing among East African countries, the paper suggests that governments and higher education institutions, in particular, should, among other things, promote regional synergistic approaches for the provision and regulation of CBHE to gain a prerequisite momentum for global competition.


Download data is not yet available.


Carvalho, N., Rosa, M. J., & Amaral, A. (2023). Cross-border higher education and quality assurance results from a systematic literature review. Journal of Studies in International Education, 27(5), 695-718.

Chetro-Szivos, J. (2010). Cross-border tertiary education: Challenges and opportunities for intercultural understanding. Journal of Intercultural Management, 2(1), 5–22.

Commission for Higher Education (CHE). (2008). Handbook on the process for quality assurance in higher education in Kenya. Commission for Higher Education.

De Wit, H. (2017, May 12). New sources of cross-border HE are emerging. University World News. Retrieved December 30, 2023, from

East African Community. (2007). The treaty for the establishment of the East African Community. East African Community.

Findler, F., Schönherr, N., Lozano, R., Reider, D. R., & Martinuzzi, A. (2019). The impacts of higher education institutions on sustainable development: A review and conceptualization. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 20(1), 23–38.

Jackson, R. S., Davis, J. H., & Jackson, F. R. (2010). Redesigning regional accreditation: The impact on institutional planning. Planning for Higher Education, 38(4), 9–19.

Kim, Y., Kim, J., & Ahn, S. (2010). A paper on quality enhancement of online learning by analyzing the operational evaluation of distance training institutes for teachers. Korea Journal of Educational Policy, 7(2), 297–317.

Knight, J. (2004). Cross-border education as a trade: Issues for consultation, policy review and research. JHEA/RESA, 2(3), 55–81.

Knight, J. (2007). Cross border tertiary education: An introduction. In cross-border tertiary education: A way towards capacity development. OECD Publishing.

Knight, J., & Liu, Q. (2016). Cross border and transnational higher education. Oxford Biographies.

Knight, J. (2017, October 27). The new faces of transnational higher education. World News Magazine. Retrieved November 28, 2023, from

Lambert, A., & Morrison, J. (1996). Recent developments in application of ‘bursts and background estimates’ concepts for leakage management. Water and Environment Journal, 10(2), 100-104.

Maviiri, J. C. (2006). Trading or sharing-emerging opportunities and challenges for cross-border higher education in East Africa. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from

Njuguna, F. W., & Itegi, F. M. (2013). Cross-border higher education in Africa: The Kenyan experience. Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies, 4(5), 752–759.

Odebero, S., Engel, U., & Middell, M. (2015). Factors influencing unequal cross border higher education students’ mobility in East African Community. Research Journal of Education. Academic Research Publishing, 1(4), 35–49.

Okoli, N. (2013). Issues and challenges in cross-border in higher education: The sub-Saharan (SSA) experience. American Journal of Educational Research, 1(1), 11–15.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2004). Quality and recognition in higher education: The cross border challenge. OECD iLibrary.

Sanga, P. L. (2017). Challenges and opportunities for quality assurance of cross-border higher education in East Africa. In J. Ssempebwa, P. Neema-Abooki, & J. C. S. Musaazi (Eds.), Innovating university education: Issues in contemporary African higher education -A book in honour of Makerere University’s 90 years of excellence 1922–2012 (pp. 18–33). Fountain Publishers.

Sanga, P. L., & Mi-Lee, A. (2014). Challenges and opportunities for cross-border higher education quality assurance: The case of East Africa. Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies, 5(1), 126–132.

Sifuna, D. (2012). Leadership in Kenyan public universities and the challenges of autonomy and academic freedom: An overview of trends since independence. Journal of Higher Education in Africa, 10(1), 121–137.

The Inter-university Council for East Africa (IUCEA). (2008). A road map to quality: A handbook for quality assurance in higher education, 2. IUCEA.

The Inter-university Council for East Africa. (2011). Rolling strategic plan 2011/12–2015/16. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2005). Guidelines for quality provision in cross-border higher education (ed. 2005/WS/76). Author. Retrieved November 22, 2023, from

Uvalic-Trumbic, S. (2008). The UNESCO/OECD guidelines for quality provision in cross-border higher education [Paper presention]. Quality Assurance in Transnational Education: From Words to Action, London, UK.

Zapp, M., & Ramirez, F. O. (2019). Beyond internationalisation and isomorphism – The construction of a global higher education regime. Comparative Education, 55(4), 473–493.



How to Cite

SANGA, P. (2024). Issues and Snags in the Provision of Cross-Border Higher Education: Reflecting on Experiences from East Africa. Innovare Journal of Education, 12(3), 15–20.



Research Article(s)