Internationalisation & Globalisation

In this final week of readings, we will examine how the forces of globalization and internationalization are shaping Australian higher education. Marginson’s article examines the growing global competition among universities, and its impact on Australian higher education. Currie & Vidovich critique the global trend of increased privatization in higher education, and its impact on Australian institutions. Finally, Welch examines the forces behind Australian universities’ attempts to internationalize.

S. Marginson, Dynamics of National and Global Competition in Higher Education, Higher Education, Vol 52, 2006, p1-39
Learning objectives: Marginson
1. What is the difference between an elite and mass university?
2. In the global higher education market, where are the elite universities? Why? Where are the mass universities? Why?
3. What is the impact of fee-paying students (international and domestic) on institutional stratification and competition?
4. What role does the English language play in the dynamics of global competition?
5. What is the impact of global competition on Australian higher education?

A. Welch, Going Global? Internationalizing Australian Universities in a Time of Global Crisis, Comparative Education Review, v.46, no.4, November 2002, p.433-471
Learning objective: Welch
1. What is internationalization in higher education? What is globalization in higher education? How do they interact with each other?
2. What countries benefit the most from international student flow? Why?
3. Why has Australia become an increasingly important player in the international student market?
4. How is the need for revenue changing Australian and other higher education?

Mei Li , Sriram Shankar & Kam Ki Tang Why does the USA dominate university league tables?, Studies in Higher Education, Volume 36:8, pp923-937, 2011
Learning objective: Li, Shankar & Tang
1. Why does the USA dominate university league tables?
2. What factors explain university performance?

M. Shah, C. Sid Nair, International High Education in Australia Unplanned Future, Perspectives, Vol 15:4, p129-131, 2011
Learning objective: Shah & Nair
1. What is the role and status of international education in Australia?
2. What can other countries learn from the Australian experience?
3. What are the effects of external quality audits?

Alusine's LMS

Topic ten focuses on the internationalization and globalization of higher education. Key questions arising from the readings are:

1) What has caused the internalization and globalization of higher education?;
2) What countries/nations are leading the globalization and internationalization of higher education and why?; and
3) What is Australia’s position in terms of the globalisation and internationalization of higher education and what affect has it had on Australia?

Marginson defines the concept of globalisation as “the widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide interconnectedness.” Welch
 2002, cites Jane Knight’s definition of globalisation as “ a process of integrating an international, intercultural dimension into the teaching, research, and service functions of the institution.” In summary globalisation and internationalization of education is the trans-national movement of knowledge, whereby knowledge has become a commodity to be imported and exported. Along with importation and exportation, knowledge has become a status symbol among nations and institutions and nations are critiqued on their capacity to attract international learners. Relevant to this notion is the funding of education and its place within social structures.

Marginson extensively investigates the growing competition within higher education as well as markets in higher education. He does so in line with a global perspective. Marginson identifies that the desire for hierarchical prominence among global academic institutions has become a fundamental driving force for profitable markets in higher education. He comprehensively evaluates the existence of competition and social hierarchy within higher education and focuses on the hegemonic structure of global universities. Marginson proposes that the United States is the higher education hegemonic power internationally because of it’s overwhelming presence in technology and information systems, film, television and popular entertainment and the military arsenal.

Marginson highlights four stratums of educational competitiveness to explain the global nature of intellectual, social and economic contentions amongst higher educational institutions. Higher educational institutions are perceived as platforms that promote “teaching and learning and of intellectual and cultural production; it is a site where social status is produced and regulated; it is a site of economic exchange; and it is a site where economic profits are made and capital accumulated.”

Marginson proposes that competition for prestige is highly prevalent in modern nations where universities are considered as instrument of nation building. For instance Marginson states that status competition is clearly evident in “system organisation, much of the pastoral, intellectual and cultural potentials of universities, especially the distribution of those benefits within institutions and between social groups.” In addition, status competition increasingly influences unrestricted higher education and market-based structures where student fees are charged.

Marginson states that the concepts of globalisation and markets are transforming the contention for hierarchical prominence within higher education. Globalisation is shaping the development of transnational education in various contexts. This is evident in the acceleration of individual movement as well as the expansion and movement of the international labour force in areas such as: business; finance; technologies and scientific research; and the arts. These sectors are directly linked into higher education because of the facilitation, interchange and collaboration between universities across national boundaries.

Globalisation and commerce accelerate the growing need for international qualifications and foster the prestige associated with attaining international qualifications. In addition, access to open information platforms and swift communication has allowed for greater international travel by reducing the inherent complications of people’s movement across national and international borders. Such globalisation trends have created a transparent global network of universities wherein the prominent universities establish a transnational marketplace in elite higher education and profitable business education.

International competitiveness in higher education involves establishing a network of relationships between national and international educational institutions. Marginson contends that within the international position of knowledge economy some nations are primary exporters of knowledge and skills while others are mainly importers of knowledge and skills. Further, the global networks in higher education and markets are disproportionate and dominated by powerful nations and institutions that control the networks.

According to Marginson, the leading export nations and universities are developed western states. Nearly one hundred precent of all international students are registered in OECD nations. A principle component of global hegemony and hierarchy exercised in education is language (namely English).

The United States dominates the English-language group of export nations. The United Kingdom and other English- speaking nations follow closely behind the United States. The Australian trans- national market has expanded rapidly and is a growing presence in the international education market.

The United States global dominance of the national market in higher education is because of it’s global power, cultural coherence and structured inequality.

Doctoral programs receive the largest amount of public and private resources within United States higher education. This contributes to the concentration of competition for social status within the doctoral university sector and elite liberal arts colleges and strengthens their social hierarchy.

Mei Li a, Sriram Shankar a & Kam Ki Tang’s article articulates the factors that contribute to United States universities being the dominant global university. They investigate two issues in relation to global education. Firstly, the socio-economic elements of the increasing gap between countries. Secondly, whether the United State’s monopolisation of the world’s leading universities is due to its economic superiority.

They argue that four socioeconomic considerations are causing the increasing gap between international university performance and hierarchical status. These are “income, population size, research and development spending, and the national language.” They state that the world’s paramount 500 universities are situated exclusively within 38 nations and 157 of these leading universities are located in the United States.

Two fundamental elements considered in the ranking of global universities were the quantity of journal and articles publications produced and the amount of Nobel laureates. The United States is ahead of other countries because its universities have published numerous academic journals and it has been argued have greater academic talent than other countries.

In addition, the authors state that the performance of United States universities is strengthened by systems of governance and funding structures.

Mei Li a, Sriram Shankar a & Kam Ki emphasise that numerous academic institutions are utilising their prestigious positions to generate markets and capital marketing gains. Other academic institutions have formulated reputable internal apparatuses to recuperate their international status.

Universities are fundamental platforms to conduct research and superior education. Therefore, low status in league tables theoretically demonstrates a nation’s limitations in knowledge creation and human capital growth.

Anthony Welch
 2002, extensively examines the phenomenon of internationalizing Australian Universities. Welch highlights the complex and competitive nature of higher education and the persistent knowledge and culture competition amongst global institutions. In his assessment of the general nature and structure of university reforms over the past decade Welch focuses on the process of internationalization and globalization.

Welch argues that although national and institutional competition for international students has dramatically increased, the role of academic staff and structured curriculums and course content are significant aspects of a global trade in higher education. In addition, economic agreements which facilitate global trade and the desire to extend market forces internationally has led to the internationalization of Australian higher education.

The export of higher education has become a growing phenomenon in modern times. Australia is regarded as one of the leading nations in the export of international education. Mahsood Shah a & Chenicheri Sid Nair state that international education is the third largest export industry in Australia. The approximate value of international education was $20 billion during the 2008 fiscal year. Further, during the last ten years there has been a significant expansion in onshore and offshore enrolments of international students in Australian universities.

For instance, during 2009 28.3% (329,970) of aggregate enrolments in higher education contained international onshore and offshore students. Numbers of onshore international students have increased on average by 10% per year between 2006 and 2009.

Despite the economic growth in international education, during 2010 Australia experienced a substantial reduction in international onshore education. This change was due in part to: the modifications in government policy in relation to skilled migration; swing regulations of international student visas application prerequisites; concerns over the safety and security of international students following the 2010 attacks on international students; and the persistent scrutiny of trans-national educational institutions by the external quality agency.

Other nations investment in education (i.e. India and China) poses a challenge to Australian international education exportation and Australia’s role in the global economy of education. Specifically Australia’s role is affected by the efforts of other nations governments to expand higher education by encouraging international universities to establish campuses in their countries.

Belinda's comments

It was made clear from these readings that the United States seems to dominate this aspect of education, although Australia is reasonably high in the rankings. It seems to be agreed that the measures of internationalisation would include students, staff and programs (Welch 2002 p438), with survey results confirming that (Welch 2002 p448) "Australia is one of the more internationalized higher education systems: in particular, academic staff have degrees from many parts of the globe".

According to Shah & Nair (2011 p130), public funding of Australian Universities has been on the decline for the last two decades, and as a result, alternative sources of income have been sought through international student fees. In 2010, public universities with a large proportion of international students had reduced staff numbers to save money. A shift in government policies and external quality audits are also said to have had an impact on offshore and onshore international operations. It seems that quality assurance arrangements within some universities are raising some concerns, as is (Shah & Nair 2011 p131) "the extent to which universities and academia are fulfilling the moral responsibility of higher education to provide high quality and value for money in education". Poor practices could damage many relationships in this scenario, with Shah & Nair's (2011) final comment on the subject stating that "The end of the rainbow may not necessarily mean a pot of gold, but possibly 'fool's gold'!".

My comments
Firstly, and somewhat off-topic, one can find an article dating back to the late 1970s which Simon wrote about Murdoch University entitled "The Limits to Liberal Education" when he was with AUS (Australian Union of Students). He then went on to head the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne and became joint editor-in-chief of Higher Education, the world's principal higher education studies. Just two months ago he decided to leave Australia for the University of London. Prior articles suggest that he was less than happy with the higher education policy of the incoming federal government, which may have been a factor in his move.

What was particularly notable about Marginson's article was the way it correlated competitive changes within nations and between nations as part of the globalisation of higher education along with stratification. Using the positional market approach (e.g., Frank, 1985, 2001) explored in prior readings, the "perverse consequences" of such a market results in an increasingly unequal distribution of opportunity but also "the isolcation of many of thefruits of intellectual life in a handful of hard-to-enter institutions" (p6).

This localised stratification and isolation is elaborated into an international arena with pushed by both funding decisions of governments (transfer from reliance on government revenues to student fees) and the popularisation of international "league tables", which advantages for the English-speaking, "ivy-league" colleges (an issue also explored by Li et al in the readings). Interestingly however the globalised education does not mean that the elite universities are in the global market as such: "high value global education is provided not in institutions offering 'global degrees' but instututions whose business is national positional competition" (p20) - hence increased selectivity in international student choice by such institutions. Thus Marginson's conclusion that if global stratification is to be avoided multi-lateral agreements between countries will be required.