Internationalisation is something higher education institutions have been engaging in since the 1970s. Initially it took the form of development schemes, but as Hans de Wit has recently pointed out, in the 1980s “the direction shifted from aid to trade”, with universities in the UK and Australia in particular beginning to charge full-cost fees to foreign students. Since the 1990s internationalisation has undergone yet another revolution, with universities increasingly offering education offshore.
The merits of this process have been much debated, but last week I was at the Humboldt Centre for British Studies in Berlin to attend a workshop on the changing role of the university, and among the papers presented was one by Johanna Waters (Birmingham) and Maggi Leung (Utrecht) that cast new light on the issue. In a qualitative study, they interviewed both the providers of British degrees in Hong Kong and also the students who undertake them. Their findings suggest that British universities would be wise to pay more attention to the geographically specific and long-term consequences of their educational offerings…. read the rest of this post at guardian.co.uk
What role should universities play in the after-careers of their students?
This is a question that receives a great deal of attention today, when the nature of work is changing and when students are uncertain about how to begin their careers. But, faced with a very similar set of circumstances, it was also a question that occupied British universities at the start of the twentieth century.
Traditionally the ancient English universities had been the home of the country’s wealthy male elite, offering a liberal humanist education that was designed to shape gentlemanly character. By the nineteenth century this was also seen as the appropriate training for those who were to be members of the clergy, lawyers and doctors, or schoolmasters and civil servants.
But with the dramatic technological changes of the period, trade and industry had become much more powerful sectors of the economy and an increasing number of university graduates began to aspire to careers in business … read the rest of this post at guardian.co.uk
I spent yesterday afternoon in the Sheldonian Theatre where academics from the University of Oxford expressed their lack of confidence in the coalition’s higher education policies.
I had known about the meeting for some time, but I first sensed that something out of the ordinary was happening when my students started lobbying me to attend. Not only did they give me leaflets, they sent me Facebook messages. Then the Oxford University Student Union President circulated an email of support and college student councils passed resolutions endorsing the motion. And as we sat inside yesterday, listening to the vice chancellor outline the OHS regulations and warn speakers of the antilocutor device, chants could be heard echoing outside. The students, it seemed, were making common cause with their teachers.
In support of the motion were speeches that defended higher education as a public good and highlighted the incoherence and inconsistency of government policy. There were talks that endorsed universities as places of diverse and divided opinion in which individuals learn to think for themselves, and talks that upheld universities’ non-utilitarian agenda.
But as I sat listening to these robust articulations in a room full of people who seemed to be charged with a renewed sense of their mission, I realised there was something else the speakers were talking about as well… read the rest of this post at guardian.co.uk