Schools Training

Can international education be truly equal and global?

26 FEB 2014

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The “Global Dialogue on the Future of International Education” organised by the International Education Association of South Africa in January 2014, was the most recent manifestation of an apparent need to redefine the internationalisation of higher education at the global, regional and national levels, and to set an agenda for the future.

Over the past three years an intensive and broad debate has emerged about the future of international education. We mention a few key contributions to that debate:

  • An essay by Uwe Brandenburg and Hans de Wit on the “End of Internationalisation”, in International Higher Education, number 62: Winter 2011.
  • The rethinking of the internationalisation debate initiated by the International Association of Universities, or IAU, resulting in the document “Affirming Academic Values in Internationalisation of Higher Education: A call for action” of April 2012.
  • The call for action on ‘comprehensive internationalisation’ of the Association of International Educators – NAFSA – in the United States, described by its past president John Hudzik.
  • Publication of the book Possible Futures: The next 25 years of the internationalisation of higher education in 2013 by the European Association for International Education, or EAIE, on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

The rationale for the call for this repositioning and reconceptualisation of the international dimensions in higher education have been described before, among others by Brandenburg and De Wit in their 2011 essay, and by Elspeth Jones and de Wit (2012) in an essay on globalised internationalisation.

In particular: the impact of globalisation on higher education; the more prominent position of higher education in emerging and developing countries; the development of new modes of delivery and ownership; and the call for a more qualitative, outcomes-based approach to internationalisation.

Although the debate started in and has so far has been dominated by developed countries, it addresses the importance of a strong voice from the emerging and developing worlds.

The Global Dialogue, held from 15-17 January in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, brought together a broad range of 23 associations and organisations in the field of international education from different parts of the world. In the call for dialogue, the questions to address were:

  • “Is the current global debate, which originates in the developed world, about rethinking internationalisation of higher education relevant given the uneven levels of development of higher education systems globally?”
  • “What, if anything, should the developing world be doing differently in the practice of higher education internationalisation to be relevant globally?”

The call for the Dialogue was launched in September 2012 at the conference of the African Network for Internationalization of Education, ANIE, in Pretoria and can be seen as a revival of a previous dialogue in 2010 at the annual conference of the Association of International Education Administrators, or AIEA, in Washington, where it became clear that such a dialogue had to be more inclusive of the emerging and developing worlds.


Read full article: University World News