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Internationalization of Education Essay


Introduction

The desire to acquire education has been increasing at a very high rate over the recent years across the globe. This is because the people are increasingly realizing the value attached to education. Times have long gone when education was perceived as luxury.

Currently it is viewed as an investment-human capital investment, which unlike other forms of investments is so valuable in the sense that it is not affected by certain economic factors such as depreciation, inflation etc (Weiler, 1984, p.45). As a result, everyone is struggling to invest in this precious venture.

In addition, the increasing demand for high quality knowledge in different fields due to changing economic world has brought about stiff competition in the field of education due to high standards expected of the personnel.

There is massive establishment of advanced institutions with integrated learning programs to offer the best to those who want to acquire education. Consequently, it has led to the emergence of internationalization of education to meet the global industry’s market demand (World Bank, 2007, p.10).

Globalization and Internalization of Higher Education

As pointed out by Thune & welle-Strand (2003, p. 11), national governments and other institutions of higher learning, higher educational internationalization is becoming a significant strategy in developing higher educational systems.

Internationalization and globalization are two concepts that are directly related, they almost encompasses similar aspects, policies, strategies, etc. Internationalization of higher education is a strategy that takes into consideration both international and national challenges (Spritzberg, 1980, p.32).

Higher educational institutions are seen as national institutions, funded controlled and managed by the national government as they play a key role in developing nation’s economies as well as global economic development. Internationalization of higher education is seen as a means to improve the educational quality in a highly competitive world and it cannot take place in the absence of globalization.

Approaches to internationalization

The purpose and meaning of internationalization varies from institution to institution. Four approaches have been distinguished with reference to this (Welch, 1996, p.79).

  • Process Approach: Under this approach, internationalization integrates global dimension or into the principal functions of the institution or organization. Integrating and incorporating are common terms used to characterize this approach. This process requires wide range of activities and procedures.
  • Activity Approach: This approach describes internationalization based on categories like student exchange, curriculum advancements etc.
  • Competency Approach: Under this approach, internationalization is viewed from different perspectives including skills, knowledge in students and staff. The focus is on human dimension, learning organization activities
  • Organizational Approach: The focus of this approach is developing a tradition in the institution that supports global perspectives. It has close link to Process Approach.

Major developments in Educational Internationalization

There should always be difference between the traditional forms of global cooperation in higher education and the more comprehensive and policy-based approaches to internationalization of her education which have been developed since 1980s. This period is associated with the Dutch situation and mostly to those countries that are European Union members (Weiler, 1984, p74).

However, during the same period, more emphasis has been given to the advancement of internationalization policies in nations such as Japan, United States, Canada and Australia. These policies are based on some factors including political, cultural, economical and educational (Bagnall, 2008, p. 120).

As stated earlier, education is undergoing a major evolution. There is massive progress in the developments in internalization in different educational arenas. This involve, teaching staff mobility, student flows from one country or continent to another and the advancement of technology and teaching curriculum that facilitates the learning process (Welch, 1996, p.79).

The following discussion will focus on one area where educational internationalization has been a key area-students’ mobility. Students’ mobility, at times referred to as “Brain Drain” can lead to a long-term loss of talents in a country where the students are originating. Several students have the desire to access education where they feel they can get the best to enrich themselves with sufficient knowledge.

The educational internationalization takes place in all educational levels ranging from primary to university. According to the case study, it was estimated that by 2007, we would have about 2.5 million international students and the figure could rise to 7 million by 2025 (Welch, 2008b, p.34).

However, this is subject to some limitations. For instance, unforeseen events might interfere with students’ mobility like the late 1990s Asian financial crisis, the recent Japan’s tsunami and political instability in Egypt. This might discourage the students from studying abroad where they suspect of an emergence of a crisis whether natural or artificial.

Many students desire to go and study abroad. This can be due the fact that their domestic institutions may not afford to offer quality education and this calls for the need to explore their talents elsewhere (Spritzberg, 1980, p.77).

This is so evident in many developing nations where students and especially those pursuing tertiary education are shifting to the developed nations where they believe education standards might be a little bit higher. As earlier mentioned, students’ mobility can lead to “Brain Drain”. This has led to long-term loss of talents in some countries (Welch, 2008b, p.42).

China for example has used part of its budget in the past twenty years to sponsor tens of thousands of students some of whom never returned upon their completion of degree programs. Overall, the country had more than a million students studying in Australia, UK and US but only less than a quarter managed to go back after their education.

Of the remaining, some may decide to return or not to and continue maintaining relations with China either in terms of research or learning-related relations. Student mobility is a feature that has been occurring in both West and East.

Up to 1960s, the student mobility could only take place between designated areas in Europe and America and in USSR and other socialist states including China. This was enhanced by scholarship schemes after which students returned to their home countries to practice their studied professions (Weiler, 1984, p.94).

Gaining of independence of many developing countries in 1950s and 1960s triggered the flow of students between different countries of the world. Currently, Australia has an international enrolment of students of about 25 per cent of its total enrolment (Ridder-Symoens, 1992, p.67).

China has more than 100,000 international enrolment (mostly from Korea and Japan-cultural programs and linguistic students) while other countries like Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore have registered significant and reasonable number of international students.

Global enrolment in Malaysia in 2006 was estimated to be 40,000 and it had plans to increase this number to about 100,000 by the year 2010 (Welch, 1996, p.84). Introduction of programs in the 1980s played a significant role in increasing the number of students studying abroad in Europe and the trend has been continuing where the target of those students studying abroad is 10 per cent in every individual country.

Among the countries that have met this target is Holland. Other countries, due to financial reasons have achieved relatively smaller percentage of this target. For instance, Australia has 4% and Canada 0.8%. The United States universities are striving hard towards ensuring that a significant proportion of their students take at least a semester abroad (EDPB, n.d., p. 3).

Internationalization Benefits to Students

There are reasons why you will find many parents advocating their children to pursue studies from abroad. Firstly, the academic research carried out in these international institutions is globally recognized. Thus, a student can easily build an identity while in these institutions once he undertakes a major research (Weiler, 1984, p. 116).

Moreover, students do get a chance of participating in international conferences that are very educative. With regard to this internationalization, it is viewed as a quality development measure. This is quite a good opportunity for the students studying in world’s top performing universities like Oxford, University of Minnesota, etc.

Business community globalization is another benefit that accrues to students’ internationalization. Students are adequately prepared to work in global work places. This is very common in developing nations whereby students from abroad are given priorities when it comes to job opportunities since they is notion that they can deliver well than those who have studied in domestic institutions.

Internationalization of education helps transfer knowledge and skills among different countries of the world (Open Doors, 1993-94, p.37). People learn through exchange of ideas and bringing up large group of students together from different nationalities can be of very much benefit as far as this aspect is concerned.

People have been able to learn diverse cultural values and their interactions strengthened through different educational forums (Devesh, 2005, p. 111). On a broader perspective, students’ mobility has so much contributed to the development of third world countries.

List of References

Bagnall, N. (2008) International Schools as Agents for Change. Publisher Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Devesh, K. (2005) Gone but not Forgotten? The Role of the Diaspora. In “Give us your best and brightest: the global hunt for talent and its impact on the developing world by Devesh, K. and John, M. Washington, D.C.: Center for Global Development.

EDPB, (n.d.) Internationalization and Education. University of Sydney. New York: Routledge

Open Doors, (1993-94) Institute of International Education: New York, N.Y

Ridder-Symoens, H. (Ed.) (1992) Mobility, A History of the University in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Spritzberg, J. (1980) Universities and the International Distribution of Knowledge.

Thune, T. & welle-Strand, A. (2003) Worldwide Virtual Ed? Studies in Education Management Research (Vol. 1).

Weiler, H. (1984) The Political Dilemmas of Foreign Study. Comparative Education Review, Vol. 28(2). pp. 168-79

Welch, A. (1996) Australian Education. Reform or Crisis? Sydney: Allen and Unwin

Welch, A. (2008b) Myths and Modes of Mobility, Byram, M., and Dervin, F., (Eds.) Academic Mobility. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press.

World Bank, (2007) Trends in International Trade in Higher Education: Implications and Options for Developing Countries. Washington: World Bank

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