As we are almost at the end of this class, discussing the future of International Higher Education seems pertinent. We have discussed through our blog posts and class discussions the many areas of International Higher Education and specifically the internationalization of Higher Education- student and faculty mobility, Internationalization at home, branch campuses, strategic planning and partnerships, and SIOs. By reading and discussing the theories and framework of International Higher Education we have been able to gain an overview of global education.
This week’s readings helped bring to a close our analysis of the internationalization of Higher Education. The IHE journal featured several articles covering current trends in international education and possible solutions to outstanding issues that could hinder the prosperity of this field. The second reading, Bridges to the Future, gives an overview of the issues and trends in IHE as well as the regional trends of the internationalization of higher education in countries that are not often discussed in that context.
Hans De Wit’s piece in the IHE journal was of interest to me because it examined the trend of International Universities. He mentions that he fears universities “…will refer, in their mission statements and policies, to the fact that they are international university, without clearly explaining what they mean by it.” His fear is warranted, as more and more universities and colleges see the appeal of being branded an international institution, they may put together haphazard strategic plans to incorporate international themes. This will be a disservice to the students. If a university or college categorizes itself as an International University they have to first understand what that means for the intuitions and its population. I think the definition will vary based on the goals of the institution; if the institution is a small community college and the administration wants to internationalization the college, they have to see what areas they can truly achieve international in, whether it be through student and faculty mobility programs or to incorporate internationals themes in the curriculum.
The “Bridges to the Future” includes textboxes that analyze the analyze the internationalization of higher education in regions that are often left out of the conversation or not given enough attention- Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. I have wondered throughout this class; how African institutions have embraced the internationalization of higher education. Of the challenges listed by James Jowi quality and brain drain stand out. The quality of the education that students receive in African intuitions is important because many of the students who may want to stay at home to further their education, don’t stay because they can get a better education abroad- leading to “brain drain”. It will take institutions a while to increase the quality of the education they offer to attract the brightest of students to stay home; however, if they implement a plan similar to the Russian government- where the government will pay for students to study abroad once they commit to returning home and working for the government. African countries could change it to be that an individual has to commit to working at a college or university either as a faculty member or administrator. This will allow those who study abroad to return home to jobs that will contribute to the next generation of students.
Internationalization defined by Jane Knight is “Internationalization at the national, sector, and institutional levels is defined as the process of integrating an international, intercultural, or global dimension into the purpose, functions or delivery of postsecondary education.” As this class concludes, I think it safe to see that we can agree that this a board definition of internationalization but it does encompass the frameworks of what we call the internationalization of higher education.