This week’s reading continues to touch upon the importance of having a shared strategic plan between the national government and the institutions and also includes an analysis on various governance models that exist in higher education governance around the world. As mentioned in the OECD report, ensuring the quality of the outcomes of internationalization efforts for all parties involved (students, faculties/staff, institutions, governments, local communities, etc.) should be a priority of the decision-makers. The report focuses on what institutions should consider in various issues and aspects of internationalization of higher education, and for the most part, ensuring that any decision made towards internationalization efforts should be analyzed to see what the benefits and risks are. Even though that seems obvious, I think there is definitely a possibility that in efforts to catch up to institutions that are in the lead, some institutions may fall prey to all the various trends that may or may not be a good fit for that particular institution.
In particular, when it comes to recruiting more international students (which, in the US, definitely seems to be one of the go-to methods of internationalization, but probably more for financial reasons), the OECD pushes for a global effort to ensure quality education and the need for institutions and governments to evaluate the education offered to international students (which would subsequently lead to benefitting their local students I hope). With the continual chase to turn students into global citizens ready to tackle global issues in collaboration with other around the world through internationalization of higher education, it makes sense why the OECD report (class reading) highlights in multiple cases that working with the government and also finding the best fit institutions in other countries to form networks and collaboration relationships to generate new knowledge is ever more important for institutions looking to provide more in terms of helping their students and the institution become more globally competent and viable.
Specifically in regards to international students, the UK compiled a study on international student satisfaction to better inform the UK institutions on areas to improve and what strengths to continue to hone. In a majority of the measures of the study, UK institutions ranks number one and has seen an increase in satisfaction when compared to previous years. But despite the high level of satisfaction, there’s a stagnation in international student enrollment at UK institutions as compared to the US and Canada, which have seen a increase in international student enrollment. But it’s not entirely surprising because the study also found that the UK does not seem to utilize education agents as much to recruit students. And as mentioned in class discussions, the US, in particular, has increasingly utilized education agents (even providing commission fees) to continually increase its international student population, which might allude to why there’s been an increase in international student enrollment at US institutions. While the article goes on to suggest that maybe the UK should make more use of education agents to recruit more international students, I think the UK’s focus on ensuring its students get a quality education and experience is a better focus.