IAU study on HE internationalization problems presented at RANEPA
On September 30, Giorgio Marinoni, Manager for HE and Internationalization policy and projects at the International University Association (IAU), made a public presentation of the IAU 5th Global Survey on Internationalization of Higher Education at the Presidential Academy.
The International University Association, created under the auspices of UNESCO in 1950, is an independent membership-based association of 650 universities from 120 countries. The organization’s activities are structured around four strategic priorities including leadership, internationalization, sustainable development and technology. The IAU had been conducting global research of trends in the internationalization of higher education since 2003. The fifth Global Survey was presented at RANEPA. The regular surveying helps track the changes and identify the main problems in the internationalization of higher education.
The speaker, Giorgio Marinoni who coordinated the study, visited the Academy at the personal invitation of RANEPA Director for Development of International Education and Cooperation Larisa Taradina. In his remarks, he discussed the surveying methodology as well as the introduction of internationalization of education, spoke about research activities, staff training, student mobility and integrating internationalization in the curriculum.
The 5th Global Survey canvassed 907 universities in 126 countries. Although the total number of respondents was smaller than in the 4th survey, the distribution of participants across the world was more even, which generated a more reliable sample. However, the study covered only 12 schools in Russia; this is not enough to draw any conclusions about the dynamics of internationalization of higher education in our country.
According to the results of the study, interest in internationalization is growing in a limited number of universities, which can lead to higher levels of inequality in higher education. Increasing student mobility remains a priority area of internationalization; according to the survey, mobility projects are funded by grants from international organizations, national grants and universities’ own funds. But, although schools are eager to attract foreign students through scholarship programs, over the past few years, the percentage of foreign students in undergraduate programs has not grown much. On the other hand, the study showed a clear increase in foreigners in Doctoral and PhD programs, indicating a more successful introduction of internationalization in advanced research.
“It is an interesting review for professionals involved in the internationalization process. It was primarily useful to learn about the markets that universities of different regions focus on for the short term: knowing regional trends should help them build a development strategy. Such roundtables are useful for universities’ international services to understand global trends in education, and problems and obstacles to internationalization,” said Irina Shkolyar, Head of International Department at RFTA.
The 5th Global Survey showed a growing stratification of universities by the level of internationalization, which, in turn, can lead to internationalization being inaccessible to lower-income groups as well as whole countries. Cooperation between universities and openness to dialogue can serve as a good tool for improving the situation, but it is still necessary to address a number of problems concerning sources of funding, fluency in foreign languages and recognition of foreign degrees.