March 23, 2017
International Association of Universities (IAU) embarks on a dedicated "Internationalization of Higher Education" Campaign
Photo: A section of UNESCO headquarters building, Paris, France. Image Credit: Anna Armstrong.
The UNESCO-based worldwide association of higher education institutions, International Association of Universities (IAU), is strengthening its Higher Education Internationalization program.
What is Internationalization of Higher Education?
Professor Hans De Wit, a well-known specialist in this field, and founding editor of the ‘Journal of Studies in International Education’, describes it as “the intentional process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the purpose, functions and delivery of post-secondary education, in order to enhance the quality of education and research for all students and staff, and to make a meaningful contribution to society.”
While, OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), defines it as “the complex of processes whose combined effect, whether planned or not, is to enhance the international dimension of the experience of higher education in universities and similar educational institutions.”
IAU has categorized the internationalization process into five areas:
- Academic mobility
- Internationalization at home, of the curriculum, and learning outcomes
- Internationalization of research
- Borderless, offshore, transnational and cross-border education
- Development cooperation and capacity building
What are the academic benefits of Internationalization of Higher Education?
According to IAU, academic benefits of internationalization include:
- Improved quality of teaching and learning as well as research.
- Deeper engagement with national, regional, and global issues and stakeholders.
- Better preparation of students as national and global citizens and as productive members of the workforce.
- Access for students to programs that are unavailable or scarce in their home countries.
- Enhanced opportunities for faculty improvement and, through mobility, decreased risk of academic ‘inbreeding’.
- Possibility to participate in international networks to conduct research on pressing issues at home and abroad and benefit from the expertise and perspectives of researchers from many parts of the world.
- Opportunity to situate institutional performance within the context of international good practice.
- Improved institutional policy-making, governance, student services, outreach, and quality assurance through sharing of experiences across national borders.
Giorgio Marinoni, Manager of Internationalization Policy at IAU, told the editor that “globalization has completely changed the environment in which Higher Education institutions around the world operate and it is a phenomenon they cannot ignore.”
IAU’s program of advisory services for advancing internationalization, called ISAS (2.0), consists of several different but complementary services offered to IAU Members, other Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), individuals at HEIs, national governments and other organizations.
IAU has, meanwhile, called upon higher education institutions pursuing internationalization to adhere to the following values:
- Commitment to promote academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and social responsibility.
- Pursuit of socially responsible practices locally and internationally, such as equity in access and success, and non-discrimination.
- Adherence to accepted standards of scientific integrity and research ethics.
- Placement of academic goals such as student learning, the advancement of research, engagement with the community, and addressing global problems at the centre of their internationalization efforts.
- Pursuit of the internationalization of the curriculum as well as extra curricula activities so that non-mobile students, still the overwhelming majority, can also benefit from internationalization and gain the global competences they will need.
- Engagement in the unprecedented opportunity to create international communities of research, learning, and practice to solve pressing global problems.
- Affirmation of reciprocal benefit, respect, and fairness as the basis for partnership.
- Treatment of international students and scholars ethically and respectfully in all aspects of their relationship with the institution.
- Pursuit of innovative forms of collaboration that address resource differences and enhance human and institutional capacity across nations.
- Safeguarding and promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity and respecting local concerns and practices when working outside one’s own nation.
- Continuous assessment of the impacts - intended and unintended, positive and negative - of internationalization activities on other institutions.
- Responding to new internationalization challenges through international dialogue that combines consideration of fundamental values with the search for practical solutions to facilitate interaction between higher education institutions across borders and cultures while respecting and promoting diversity.
Founded in 1950, under the auspices of UNESCO, the International Association of Universities (IAU), with headquarters at UNESCO, Paris, France, is the leading global association of higher education institutions and organisations.
Its members from India, for example, include the following among others:
- University of Delhi
- University of Mysore
- University of Jammu
- Amrita University
- Banaras Hindu University
- Birla Institute of Technology & Science
- Chandigarh University
- Indian Institute of Information Technology
- National Law University, Delhi
- PEC University of Technology Chandigarh
- Punjab Technical University
- Panjab University, Chandigarh
- Lovely Professional University
- South Asian University
International Association of Universities (IAU) chairs the editorial team of the “Internationalisation of Higher Education” handbook. This handbook, published by DUZ Academic Publishers, Berlin, Germany, is a valuable tool and source of reference for any higher education institution.
The editor, Surender Hastir MAUA, is an independent consultant and an expert in internationalization of higher education. He is currently collaborating with IAU in advancing this field.