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Beyond the number of foreign scholars/students and English taught courses

March 1, 2007 Leave a comment

Globalization has become one critical issue for higher education industries around the world.  However, language is always the critical issue for those non English spoken countries to attract foreign students.

While they maintain their native language taught programs,  more and more English taught programs are provided in many non-English spoken countries.

However, language and the number of foreign scholars/students are criteria to decline one educational institution is real internationalizing one, but only just the surface index.  I think to really internationalize one educational institution, it is more than issues of languages  but also transform the code of conduct and mindsets of its faculty and staff.

Unfortunately, most universities remain claim they are internationalising enough, in terms of the numbers of foreign students and English taught courses it have.  Does it use  international standard to evaluate all its faculty and staff?

If  one education institution does not use international standards in its own organization, that just simply to use those foreign scholars/students and English taught course to “decorate” its external face, rather than establishing one education institution that capable to compete with those schools it may refer as the role model for it development.

In that sense, it need to use international standard, at least similar as those in the so called role model it expect to pursue, in its internal operations, such as tenure track system, recruitment procedures,  the code for the relationship between  supervisors and students,  regulations between faculty, guideline for preparing degree thesis and dissertation,  and written requirement or guideline for conferring the degree, for example,  the number of publications or publishable works for graduating rather than only having vague statements like contributions to the subject field, etc.

Apparently, some one may claim these institutions and policies  may kill  one higher educational organization to develop its own personality within the local context. However, I think such a personality can be developed in the daily operations rather than through those regulations and guidelines. In fact, these guidelines and regulations are also critical platforms for the higher educational organization to be a really compatible and compete able with its rivals in the globalizing  higher education market.

Of course, some higher education institutions already adopted those international standard in various aspects, while some of them are just trying to emphasize the number of foreign scholars/students, English taught course, etc.  I know it may not be easy to adopt those international standards, especially those non-Western context countries, especially while one considers  organizational inertia and resistance it may confront. Of course one can insist they remain to use local practices to maintain its personality. But if what your process is not that internationalized from the input and operations, how can you assure your output, such as those graduated students, research done by faculties,  is also capable to compete in terms of international standards?

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Categories: Education