MSHILLA MAGHANGA, TABO GEOFREY OLOK
Globalisation, technological advancements, global university ranking pressure and cross-border education service trade have gradually been causing a paradigm shift in the cross-border university education sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating consequences for university education characterised by massive infections, closure of learning institutions, and deaths of students, academics and scholars. While it gravely affected the cross-border mobility of students, academics and scholars, it ironically proved to be a catalyst for the paradigm shift from physical to virtual cross-border university education. This study assessed this catalytic role. A descriptive study design which incorporated both quantitative and qualitative research approaches was adopted. A study population of 39 public and 12 private universities in Uganda was targeted. A desk review was conducted focusing on electronic databases, websites, online libraries and some grey literature. Descriptive analysis was conducted for quantitative data and content analysis for qualitative data. It was established that crossborder university education in Uganda was still low-key, with only a few of the universities practising it. The inbound cross-border mobility outweighs the outbound; and the pandemic is catalysing the current paradigm shift towards a highly virtual paradigm characterised by virtuality, flexibility, technological savviness and learner-centred learning. Virtuality was found to be expressed in terms of virtual cross-border mobility, virtual/online student enrolment and virtual learning; while flexibility was in terms of teaching and learning, and of curriculum coverage. Cross-border mobility having dwindled, universities need to embrace the new paradigm and expeditiously review their cross-border policies accordingly.
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