Top Stories in International Higher Education

The year 2011 was a tumultuous year for the world of international higher education which is increasingly getting influenced by the phenomenon of globalization. As Jane Knight notes “…internationalization is changing the world of education and globalization is changing the world of internationalization.” This year also reaffirmed deep interconnection of higher education with sociopolitical and economic environment. Following three stories further emphasize these trends:

– Increasing reliance on China: 
Chinese students constitute 15% of  3.3 million globally mobile students (~510,000 students) according to UNESCO. The second largest source of globally mobile students is India which constitutes nearly 6 per cent (~195,000 students). Some campuses like University of Iowa are already heavily reliant on Chinese students which constituted half of all international students in fall 2011 (1648/3271). Already, there are concerns about the campus diversity, language issues and role of agents in misrepresentation and recruitment of Chinese students.

– Restructuring of UK higher education:
The UK announced major policy reforms which are influencing the stakeholders at a number of levels. The system is moving towards increasing role of private higher education by allowing students to borrow more money to study at private institutions. The policy directions also aim at re-balancing the research and learning  emphasis at universities which is already receiving a lot of resistance.

– New wave of branch campuses:
Branch campuses described as “…a modern version of the quest for ‘gold, God and glory’” were in news again in 2011 with some optimistic and others with pessimistic tone. This time destination for branch campuses are beyond Gulf and included some of the major brand names venturing abroad. This included plans of Duke for China, Yale for Singapore, Carnegie Mellon for  Rwanda and York University’s Schulich for India. Winter 2012 issue of IHE has more articles on this theme.


Dr. Rahul Choudaha

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