Keynote Speeches

Prof. Anthony Welch (University of Sydney, Australia) see detailed CV here

Internationalisation of Higher Education (in the Time of COVID-19) and International Polarisation

How and why are widely accepted definitions of internationalisation of higher education interpreted differently in various higher education systems?

     While there are many facets to both the theory and practice of internationalisation, a common contemporary definition of the term is "the process of integrating an international, intercultural, or global dimension into the purpose, functions or delivery of higher education.”

     But while many higher education systems might salute such a definition, the practice of internationalisation often differs. The desire to use internationalisation to boost rankings and create at least some ‘world class’ universities, while well outside the definition above, is a common priority, and may entail schemes to attract leading researchers working in other countries, to relocate and contribute to a second national higher education system, and national research ouitput. Within this overall goal, a particular priority may be to target high-skilled nationals working abroad, the so-called ‘knowledge diaspora.’

     A second common priority - supplementing institutional incomes - is again not included in the above definition; and is rarely stated openly. In a number of systems, most notably major English language systems such as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, international students incur significantly higher fees than domestic students, and the substantial income generated helps to sustain institutional programmes and priorities, often in research, and particularly at established, research-intensive universities, in major urban locations. Some systems, and selected universities have become highly dependent on such income and hence particularly vulnerable to any downturn in international student flows – as the current COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically demonstrating.

     A third rationale may be status, in part driven by the weight given to indicators of internationalisation within major higher education ranking schemes such as Shanghai Jiaotong, or Times. Once again, it does not appear in the definition given above. But, having significant numbers and proportions of international staff and students within a higher education system, and enrolled within at least a number of its universities, can be seen as a sign of a system’s maturity – of having joined the elite club of major systems of higher education that are capable of attracting international staff and students, in substantial numbers.

     What explains the discrepancy between the commonly accepted definition of internationalisation above, and the actual priorities and practices found in various systems, and  higher education institutions (HEIs)? And what is the mix of the above priorities in selected national higher education systems? A critical analysis of patterns and priorities of internationalisation in two different systems, Australia and China, is presented, and implications drawn for a more sophisticated understanding of internationalisation.

 

Prof. Rachel Brooks (University of Surrey, UK) see detailed CV here

International Student Mobilities: Socio-Economic Diversification and Implications for Higher Education Staff

Traditionally, international student mobility has been seen as the preserve of the privileged in society. Researchers have shown how studying abroad can be an effective means for affluent groups to: obtain educational credentials that will give them a labour market advantage when they return home (e.g. Kratz and Netz, 2018; Waters, 2009); gain access to elite universities, when such routes have been closed down domestically (e.g. Brooks and Waters, 2009); and take an important first step towards securing permanent residency or citizenship of another country (e.g. Ong, 1999; Waters, 2006).

     However, in this talk I will consider the growing evidence that such patterns may be changing and, in particular, that the socio-economic profile of mobile students is diversifying. I will first present evidence that suggests that both credit and degree mobility are being taken up by a wider group of students – from lower middle class backgrounds as well as, in a small number of cases, those from ‘working class’ families. I will then go on to explore some of the reasons for this shift, considering the impact of both education and migration policy, as well as broader societal factors such as the sharp growth in the size of the middle classes in particular nations, and the increasing use of social media across national borders.

     I subsequently argue, however, that this apparent ‘opening up’ of opportunities is being accompanied by the emergence of new forms of stratification and differentiation. Thus, while less privileged students may now be more likely to move abroad for higher education, they are not necessarily accessing the same quality of education. Building on this argument, I suggest that, as a consequence of these new forms of stratification, the often-assumed relationship between student mobility and subsequent social advantage needs to be rethought.

     Moreover, I will show that, even for elite groups, mobility does not always lead straightforwardly to positive social outcomes. I will then contend that although social class should remain a key focus of research, it is not the only social characteristic that has a bearing on students’ decisions to move and their experiences whilst abroad. Indeed, I will draw on recent research to show how social class is often mediated by other variables, such as gender and ethnicity, and how an intersectional approach (i.e. one that recognises the interconnectedness of social characteristics) enables some of the complexity inherent in international student mobility to emerge.

     In the final part of the talk, I will draw these various strands together to consider their implications for both academic and professional services staff who work in higher education today.


26 Ocak 2021, Salı 395 defa okundu