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Transformation of the Internationalization of Higher Education under the Conditions of Developing a Global Educational Environment

O. V. Martynyuk PhD, Associate Professor of the International Management Department of Kyiv National Economic University named by Vadym Hetman.

Summary

This article analyses the modern features of internationalizing higher education in the Ukraine, including an analysis of the current situation and the main directions in postgraduate training.


Globalization has set new requirements for the education system, which must now shift its focus on training competitive graduates, who are sought after in the labour market.

The educational system responds to these requirements by internationalization, the introduction of new quality standards, increased academic mobility, and the concept of lifelong learning. The process of globalization accelerates these trends, since the development of competitive advantages for a country is at the heart of knowledge input. Today, economic growth is just as much a process of knowledge accumulation as capital accumulation. The new concept termed the “globalization of education” is the onset of a new stage in international relations hallmarked by the intensification of traditional international relations (exchange of students and pupils), while new forms have also arisen on the basis of information technology: distance learning at online, virtual universities.

Relevance of the study

At the beginning of the new millennium, internationalization is one of the key drivers in the transformation, modernization and reformation of education. This process, which may manifest in different forms in the various countries, is enhancing the international economic, social and cultural integration, and its importance continues to grow. Demand for international higher education has increased four times over the past 30 years. More than three million students are currently studying abroad and many will accomplish at least part of their training in another country. Internationalization has significantly changed the environment of education and the process will continue. Therefore, a study of the contemporary forms of education internationalization and their implementation in the Ukraine is relevant.

Analysis of the recent research and publications

Different aspects of the internationalization of higher education in the European dimension of research by Ukrainian (S. Verbytska, M. Leschenko, O. Matviyenko, L. Puhovska, A. Sbruyeva), Russian (V. Baydenko, M. Larionova, H. Lukichov, L. Shpakovska, H. Yarovoy), western European (N. van Varhez, M. van der Wendy S. Vudfild, P. Zhaha, P. Maassen, C. de Wit, H. Niv, U. Tishler), US (F. Altbah, N. Davis, S. Nito, L. Hahenson, Dzh. Heyl), Canadian (D. Nayt) and other scientists.

Statement of the main content

In the past decade, the intensification of cross-border education has been observed as a direct consequence of the expansion, in many countries, of higher education by new information and communication technologies, parallel with the acceptance of the idea of an economy based on knowledge, the increased globalization of the labour market and the need for skilled labour. A growing number of private companies started to provide educational services and this is clearly manifest in the international education market. Accordingly, educational services are diversifying as a result of the increased mobility of students and teachers and the transferability of the educational programmes of educational institutions.

In global practice there are four strategies of internationalizing higher education: 1. Mutual understanding approach – a consistent approach. 2. Skilled migration approach – the strategy of attracting skilled labour. 3. Revenue-generating approach – a strategy to generate income. 4. Capacity building approach – empowering strategy.1

A study of education internationalization should include the following forms of international co-operation: individual mobility: the mobility of students, faculties and administrative staff for educational purposes; the mobility of educational programmes and institutional mobility, setting new international standards for educational programmes, their integration into the curriculum and the educational elements of international standards; institutional partnerships: creating strategic educational alliances.

The internationalization of higher education and, in particular, student mobility and cross-border activities of universities provide economic benefits associated with the market value of services in the international education market. The policy on the issue of tuition fees is a key element in the overall impact of internationalization on the trade balance. In fact, some countries have made international education an essential part of their strategies for social and economic development, and levying the full fee for foreign students is used as a source of income.

However, the internationalization of the market value goes beyond income generation from tuition fees, which, together with the presence of the associated costs related to the presence of foreign students in the country, makes an essential contribution to the national economy of the host country, and can be viewed as a short-term benefit: long-term benefits include job creation, infrastructure development and education capacity.

In 2004 UNESCO pubished a document on higher education in a globalized society, in which the future scenarios are predicted and it is argued that the key to understanding the new companies are as follows:

  • growing importance of knowledgebased society;
  • conducting business transactions that relate to education services;
  • rapid and continuous innovation when it comes to information and communication technologies;
  • importance of market economy in all sectors of society.

Together, these elements act as a catalyst for changes in higher education. We believe the most important of them are:

  • emergence of new providers in higher education;
  • need to make higher education accessible to those segments of the population which traditionally have not had access to this level of training;
  • new teaching methods, such as virtual education and the creation of virtual campuses;
  • greater diversification of qualifications and diplomas in higher education;
  • increase the mobility of students, teachers and programmes;
  • proposals for transnational education systems;
  • planning of higher education in the paradigm of lifelong learning;
  • inclusion of the higher education system in the dynamics of the market economy.

The process of internationalization of higher education is closely linked to the phenomenon of globalization and the whole society. The process involves the creation of links and transnational areas, thanks to the speed and access to synchronous and asynchronous communication among people. It can be said that at present there is practically no physical barrier, and therefore, anyone can take advantage of the situation and processes in other countries, irrespective of distances.

International student mobility has increased significantly over the past three decades, from 0.6 million in 1975 to 3 million in 2012 in the world. This trend indicates that in the coming years growth will continue to be fuelled by the globalization of the economy and society. Market research forecasts show an increase in student mobility to 5.8 million by 2020, and to 8 million by 2025. Currently, most of the flow is limited to 6 countries: the USA, the UK, Germany, France, Australia, and Japan. More than half (54%) of all foreign students study in the top four English-speaking countries: the USA, the UK, Australia and Canada. Europe remains the region receiving the largest number of foreign students. North America welcomes a lower number of students in absolute terms, but it ranks first in the number of supplier regions, Asian students contributing almost two-thirds (60%). Asia tops the list of regions that guide students abroad for higher education, as nearly half (43%) of all foreign students in OECD countries come from Asia. Europe is second (35%), followed by Africa (12%), North America (7%), South America (3%) and Asia Pacific (1%).2 Increase in mobility is due to increasing competition for good jobs, and this is compounded by the economic problems affecting many countries. Current graduates face tighter labour markets than the previous generations, as in many countries the private sector finds it difficult to keep up with the growing number of people released from higher education. This means that in many areas university qualification alone is none of a guarantee for employment, and practice and experience are just as important as having a degree. There has also been growth in the number of mid-level managers who continue their education to reach new heights in their careers. Distance and online education provides the opportunity to combine work and study, which was much more difficult in the past. The popularity of part-time and online MBA is on the increase, and in the future it will affect all areas of education, since these forms of learning are increasingly getting accreditation.

In the past 15 years, new forms of internationalization include the cross-border movement of institutions and programmes. In these forms of international supply, called “transnational education”, learners are located in a different country than the higher educational institution issuing the certificate.

Mobile education programmes include distance education courses offered by the university, located offshore; joint courses or programmes offered by the university and its domestic partner university; and franchised courses and programmes.

Mobile institutions involve direct investment by foreign partners. The most complete forms of mobile institutions are: the opening of foreign campuses of universities and / or commercial vendors or the creation of a new higher education institution in which foreign capital is involved, either alone or in partnership with a national university.

In recent years the development of modern information technology has opened up new opportunities for international cooperation between the different actors of the global educational space online. This contributes to the emergence of the new generation of software products that enable geographically distributed teams to make real-time talks, brainstorming sessions, presentations, and more through the Internet. All these features significantly increase efficiency in international education.

Each country should develop a strategy for the internationalization of higher education based on their economic and political opportunities, taking into account the size and geographic location, history and culture of the country, the quality and features of its higher educational system, the role of the language of the country in the world, as well as its experience in the development of international cooperation. A global comparison of the universities contributes to the strengthening of the status of high-standard universities and increases competition. In the ranking of the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2011, the one hundred best universities included 44 American, 10 British, 4 Australian, 3 Canadian, 5 Japanese, 4 French and 4 German institutions. The best one hundred universities included only two in China and one in Brazil, and none of Russia, India or South Africa.3

In 2011 the Ukraine also joined the list of the 10 leading countries in the field of international education. Students come to learn in the Ukraine even from the EU. However, in March 2013 The Times and the information group Thomson Reuters published a ranking that differs from the Times Higher Education in 2013, which lists the top 100 universities in the world. There are no Ukrainian universities among the one hundred best, which is alarming concerning the appreciation potential of universities in the Ukraine.4

It should be noted that in the present development stage of education systems the quality of higher education, expressed in this ranking system in comparison to the world’s leading universities, is increasingly important. However, these ratings also have their shortcomings, and due to the importance of reliable information, the mechanisms and methodologies of comparative research need to be improved jointly by the national educational institutions. Effective and transparent quality assessment, accreditation and licensing are important in terms of protecting consumers from the risks of incorrect information supplied by lowquality educational products, or obtaining qualifications of dubious authenticity. Building the capacity to operate in a global environment is a serious challenge

for any university. Some universities have “horizontal” competitive advantages, such as the popularity of their language and culture, the size and wealth of the national economy they operate in, the resources allocated by their respective governments to education and science, and the extent of the education system, internationally recognized research and innovation capacity. Universities in the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia can rely on a good combination of these factors, which provide the best conditions for them in the global competition for talent and resources, this is why they can contribute as a “soft power” of these nations to their economies. Universities that do not have the “horizontal” competitive advantages need to be supported by the government. Several countries have implemented national strategies for the development of their higher education system as “new spheres of influence”.

Universities in the Ukraine seek to increase the supply of programmes and actively promote them in foreign markets. They open branches and overseas campuses in other countries, conclude cooperation agreements with local schools, using distance learning technologies and so on.

States are increasingly investing in building the capacity of their higher education systems and institutions to compete in the international arena, increase the resources of funding for research and education, create incentives to improve the management and quality improvement programmes, support partnerships and mobility through a system of grants, and improve the infrastructure. This approach is implemented in Japan, Mexico, Korea, China and Russia.5

The first initiatives were taken by the Japanese government in the early eighties, when the target was set to increase the number of foreign students tenfold. This policy continued during the economic recession in the nineties. At the beginning of the new millennium, the government of Junichiro Koizumi approved a plan to support 30 world-standard universities in Japan. In 2008, the plan was further developed under the name “Global 30”, aimed at supporting internationalization in 30 universities and attracting 300 thousand foreign students to study in Japan by 2020. This long-term effort made by the Japanese government yielded its results. The 2011 Times ranking includes 16 Japanese universities among the 400 best, and the number of publications by Japanese researchers are second to U.S. researchers. However, the process of internationalizing Japanese universities “relies entirely on public support”, and its unfolding requires initiative and entrepreneurial approach by the universities themselves.

The Chinese government began internationalization as part of its economic reforms. Since 1981, several decisions have been made on the selection of scientists, teachers and students for studying at foreign universities. Since the mid-nineties major initiatives included the creation of incentives for the return of Chinese students and teachers to the country, the import of foreign educational services, the development and implementation of joint programmes on the basis of Chinese universities to attract foreign students, and curricula internationalization, including a gradual increase in programmes taught in English.

Most European countries saw a steady stream of students from their former colonies for many years. A significant ratio of young people from Latin America get their diplomas in the United States or Canada. During the Cold War, the universities of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe attracted the attention of students from countries with a similar ideology. National differences in access to education and quantitative restrictions on recruiting students to certain specialties compelled students from these countries to look for opportunities to study abroad. Language and cultural considerations attracted the attention of students to the educational programmes of Britain, France and the USA. The predominance of English as the primary or second language of modern science led to the U.S. and Britain leading the list of countries receiving the largest number of foreign students, closely followed by Canada and Australia.6

An increasing number of universities located in well-known academic centres are unhappy with the number of students who come to them for training. Scholars and practitioners emphasize the economic benefits of receiving foreign students and the resulting opportunities to earn additional income. However, some universities have already experienced difficulties when the flow of students from one country or region is so great that it must be limited so as to prevent the international programme from upsetting the national one. Such problems are faced, for example, by the universities in the UK due to the constant increase in the flow of Chinese students. Another example is the trend of significant increase in the number of students from the Ukraine to Poland.7

Higher education institutions are trying to combine a set of international students with the expansion of their offering educational services to prospective markets, organizing overseas branches and subsidiaries, wholly subordinated to the main educational institutions. This trend shows a shift in the process of internationalization of demand to supply. If the country in which the branch is located legally recognizes a foreign diploma, students can study at a foreign university programme from the very beginning. In some cases, these branches are considered by the local schools as interference in the national higher education system and the national policies, as they offer programmes designed for foreign language materials in other markets and are designed mostly for wealthy students. This form of curriculum internationalization is particularly characteristic of developing countries. For example, the Dutch Institute of Hotel Management created a network of programmes called “Global Campus”, offering virtually unchanged programmes in Qatar, Indonesia, Aruba and other countries.

Today students have much more information about the available educational options than previously, and this applies to both universities and various programmes, scholarships and grants around the world. Internet provides access to a wealth of information that makes it possible to set priorities in view of their chosen profession, and to get relevant experience before the students graduate. Also, students are now much more actively use social media to establish connections and create online profiles. Also, it is much more important than it was ten years ago.

The process of internationalizing higher education is also changing. The underlying motives shift from cultural and educational to economic and development-related, with an increasing focus on strengthening a competitive international education market, as higher education affects economic globalization. The role of the government in regulating higher education and the age profiles of students are also undergoing profound changes.

These trends and characteristics of education globalization have a significant impact on the internationalization of higher education, its forms and manifestations. The number of joint projects, increase in student and teaching method mobility, the harmonization of training programmes and the transnationalization of higher education is an abnormal development in higher education in a globalized world educational space.

Higher education institutions are now realizing that student mobility is an opportunity for the students to complete part of their studies (the period of time, the course or subject are expressed in the form of loans) in another domestic centre of higher education or abroad. Previously, mobility was exclusively considered as physical movement. However, with the introduction and development of information communication technologies (ICT) in education for the equality of all citizens, virtual mobility also appeared.

The new structural models are built around virtual campuses around the world, because for family-related, professional or personal reasons not everyone can join programmes requiring physical mobility. Nevertheless, virtual mobility and physical mobility are two different forms of the same mobility pattern, although both were conceived as different educational concept and they both have their own future. However, none of them is less important than the other. Each of them has its own characteristics and legitimacy. Furthermore, they are both different and mutually complement one another. However, virtual mobility is often the easiest and sometimes the only way to achieve international mobility and it can be used as a tool to promote national higher education in third countries.

Recently, access to new information technologies has opened the possibility for the rapid development of virtual education internationalization. They offer the prospect for universities to strengthen their presence in the international education market and increase success in fulfilling their international objectives through the use of electronic means of communication.

If Ukrainian universities capitalise on these trends, they can improve their ranking on the list of the world’s universities. Virtual internationalization shifts the focus from the problems of financing to the e-literacy and professional qualifications of and the languages spoken by students and university employees.

The internationalization of higher education is an uneven, contradictory and complex phenomenon. However, considering the possible strategy of the Ukraine in the context of globalization, it can be argued that, along with their risks, these processes offer a real chance for this country to obtain a better place in the new era of civilization based on science, education and innovative technology.

Main conclusions

Globalization, the increasing amount of information, institutional flows into the global educational space and increased competition in the education market contribute to the educational “inequality” between developed and developing countries. The educational sector as one of the predominant areas of globalization faces new and imperative challenges in the course of global development.

The processes of globalization and internationalization, however, include both opportunities and negative effects. A clear advantage of education internationalization is the extension of international cooperation (participation of students and teachers in international networks of exchange programmes). Significant disadvantages of the internationalization of the national higher education system include limited funding for international cooperation programmes and the risk of brain drain. The negative consequences of globalization are the increasing threat of Western cultural dominance and the consequent loss of accomplishments by the national education system, culture, identity with the appearance of foreign providers of educational services in the Ukraine (training and telecommunications companies, corporate universities etc.).

Modern information technologies and the rapid development of e-learning have made national borders completely transparent in education, shaped only by the global educational market, where a variety of universities offer their products and services to all students at once. It can be said that, despite the positive trends in international cooperation in the field of higher education, there are issues that need discussion. One of the ways to develop such cooperation should be partnership between Ukrainian and foreign universities, especially in the promotion of education of foreign nationals in the Ukraine through compatible curricula that involve the issuance of double degrees.

The joint efforts made by business, community and government agencies generate new sources of funding for the needs of the educational institutions and contribute to the strengthening of a competitive position in the international arena.

The suppliers and consumers of educational services should take into account their potential in the development of strategies and the state of education in general.

References

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