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167 Seiten, Note: 10
THE INTERNATIONALISATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION: MOTIVATIONS AND REALITIES
1.1 The internationalisation of higher education and globalisation
1.2 Global challenges in the process of internationalisation of academic institutions
1.3 Determinants of international student mobility
1.3.1 Structural characteristics of destination countries
1.3.2 The impact of internationalisation policies on the destination choice
INTERNATIONALISATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA
2.1 The Australian context
2.2 The higher education market in Australia
2.2.1 Shift of governance and organisational assets in the Australia higher education system
2.2.2 From aid to trade to internationalisation
2.3 Facts and figures of the Australian internationalisation process
2.4 Australia’s good practices towards a successful internationalisation
2.4.1 Australian associations and government backing
2.4.2 The private sector contribution
2.4.3 The weight of offshore campuses
2.4.4 Commitment in the provision of scholarships
2.4.5 Openness towards Europe
2.4.6 Internationalisation of student curricula
2.4.7 The importance of alumni associations
2.5 Australia’s points of weakness in its internationalisation process
2.5.1 Research performance and global rankings
2.5.2 Geographic isolation
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SUPPORT: THE AUSTRALIAN PRACTICE
3.1 Quality assurance as a competitive advantage
3.2 The organisation of services for international students
3.2.1 The role of National bodies
3.2.2 Governmental regulations
3.2.3 From regulations to practices
3.3 Admission procedures
3.3.1 Autonomy and transparency in the application process
3.4 Credentials evaluation
3.4.1 Admission requirements
3.4.2 A brief comparison between US and UK admission procedures
3.5 Monitoring Australia’s offer and support: giving international students a voice
INTERNATIONALISATION VERSUS INTEGRATION
4.1 Intercultural competence in internationalisation
4.2 Social and cultural integration: a shared responsibility
4.3 Managing diversity on Australia’s campuses
4.4 Integration: a challenged not yet accomplished
CONCLUSION AND COMPARISONS
REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
In today’s globalized world, knowledge is increasingly a commodity that flows between countries. The growth of a knowledge-based economy has led to competition for the best brains not only among employers worldwide but also among the educational institutions that train these brains. Internationalisation in higher education is a relatively new phenomenon that describes a wide spectrum of cross-border activities and relationships which include development projects, institutional arrangements, cultural and educational exchanges set up by educational institutions and education agents involving the delivery of higher education in two or more countries (inter-national relations) (Kritz, 2006)
In higher education studies, the terms “internationalisation” and “globalisation”, are often found on opposite ends of the spectrum. Luijten-Lub and others (2005) argue that internationalisation refers to cross-border inter-connectedness that leaves the nation-state unquestioned and is policy controlled; while globalisation is a phenomenon external to nations and moving beyond policy control assumes a transformative nature.
More specifically within the field of higher education, Knight (2004, 11) points out a more normative and geo-spatial distinction, considering internationalisation as “the process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the teaching, research and service functions of the educational institution”. Whereas her “international” simply refers to relations between nations, “global”’ is a world level phenomenon. Knight does not see globalisation as being opposed to internationalisation, but as a part of the environment in which internationalisation takes place and an agent for the increasing importance of higher education on a global scale. Leask (2003) also argues that internationalisation is a wide phenomenon and means different things to different people inside the institution community: academics, student support services staff, marketing staff, domestic and international students are all likely to have different views of the concept.
The global dimension of internationalisation in higher education suggests a similar values framework. Nation-states have embraced the global dimension - not least in the struggle for competitive advantage in the global knowledge-based economy and are obliging public institutions to do the same (universities in particular given their significance in this economy).
Internationalisation and globalisation will not be considered in this study as contrasting definitions but rather as mutual influencing factors. As Marginson (2006) has suggested, internationalisation and globalisation refer to two different dimensions of cross-border human action, dimensions that have diverse geo-spatial dynamics, and singular implications for transformation. Within the internationalisation phenomenon, national institutions and practices are affected at the margins but essentially remain intact, whereas globalisation has rather transformative effects within nations, shaping the common environment in which they are situated and relate to each other.
Both internationalisation and globalisation cover the nation-state but in a contrasting manner. In the international context, national politics and culture might still be dominant. In the global sphere the national systems are influenced by a new public management that sees them as economic markets and fosters an increasing devolution of responsibility in the administration. This does not necessarily imply the negation of the nation-state, as nations are often primary instruments of global transformation in higher education as well as in other sectors (Marginson, 2006).
Therefore, in this context, a dialectical relationship between internationalisation and globalisation is preferred, considering globalisation as one of the main driving forces of the internationalisation process. It would be a mistake to consider the two phenomena interchangeable.
Universities make a decisive contribution in terms of providing relevant research findings and also devising new teaching programmes that reflect global concerns. In a practical sense, they generate the “intellectual capital” used by global movements. However, other forms of globalisation are more difficult to reconcile with the academic mission. Indeed universities may even be considered as a negative entity by those who believe in more fundamentalist values. But even here, the university has a powerful contribution to make, firstly by seeking to understand the basis of different beliefs and secondly, by recognizing the legitimacy of alternative “knowledge traditions” (Scott, 1998). Thanks to the impact of globalisation, contemporary universities have moved a long way from an uncompromising insistence on standard academic norms and the phenomenon has been a spur to intellectual and cultural pluralism. The inevitability of this influence has been emphasized in various ways: “Not all universities are international, but all are subject to the same processes of globalisation - partly as object as well as subjects, or key agents, of globalisation” (Scott, 1998, 122).
In a networked environment in which every institutional body is visible to every other, and the weight of the global dimension is increasing, it is no longer possible for individual higher education institutions to cut themselves off from global effects (Marginson, 2006).
One of the effects of globalisation on higher education is its role as driver to push institutions to be more effective in response to the globalisation of societies, economies and cultures, thereby generating competition for increased ‘market share’ in the international student market (Currie and Newson, 1998). This competition is being pursued at different levels of enthusiasm by individual institutions and higher education systems with Anglo-Saxon institutions being the more active in the field by aggressively prospecting international markets through the adoption of business oriented strategies.
Marginson (1993) expresses this phenomenon with the term “marketization ” of higher education, whereas Slaughter and Leslie (1997) have a preference for the term “academic capitalism”, as it captures the inherent clash in cultures.
Counter-intuitively, the United States, with the largest number (although not the largest proportion) of international students may be least concerned to engage in aggressive marketing of American higher education abroad; indeed its post-9/11 obsession with homeland security and the consequent more restrictive visa policies since then, have set new barriers to the recruitment of international students.
Conversely, Australia, the core case study of this thesis, has been very active in this field, developing one of the most coordinated and efficient international recruitment leadership policies in the world. The challenge was not one of the easiest: years of careful market cultivation in order to produce the impressive results that it has achieved. Because of Australia’s mature recruitment infrastructure and government commitment, the country remains well-placed to maintain a steady growth, despite the stall of recent efforts after an initial exponential growth.
In Britain, in addition to the high-level Prime Minister’s Initiative for International Education (PM12) launched in April 2006, the institutions themselves are eager to recruit more high fee-paying international students. In Europe as a whole, one of the drivers of the Bologna process has been the aim to render the Higher Education Area more attractive to international students in a bid to compete more effectively with the United States (Scott, 2005).
The second effect of globalisation on higher education is the emergence of potential competitors versus traditional providers, represented by the so - called ‘borderless education’ - a term used to describe educational provision that transcends conventional boundaries of time, space and geography (Middlehurst, 2001, 4). However, this dimension is seen more on how globalisation has influenced the means through which tertiary education is delivered and will affect future pathways of international student mobility. From this perspective, the phenomenon is considered a product of globalisation as increasingly, institutions of higher education are building up partnerships with universities in other countries, delivering education using online technologies and setting up branches abroad. This phenomenon has been defined by the OECD using the term of Cross-Border Higher Education (CBHE) and entails the delivery of higher education services in two or more countries. Cross-border education may occur for a variety of reasons and under a diversity of arrangements: through academic connections and partnership programmes, through development/aid projects or commercial trade (OECD, 2004a).
More precisely, within the context of tertiary education, the concept of “borderless education" has been used to describe some emerging features of the changing educational landscape represented by virtual universities, corporate universities (public sector and private sector organizations)1, educational services and brokers2, media and publishing businesses3, e-universities and for-profit universities - the most famous example of which is the University of Phoenix in the United States, created as early as the late 1970’s and today counting some 100,000 registered students between online and off-shore campuses. Although programmes at the University of Phoenix are regionally accredited, most degree programmes do not meet the same level of professional accreditation as more traditional institutions of higher learning, thus leaving many doubts on its academic quality (The New York Times, 2007). While many employers respect a degree title from the University of Phoenix and similar institutions, others prefer to hire students with more traditional degrees. So far, traditional universities have not been superseded by these “alternative” institutions, not even at an international level. There is actually limited evidence that this is happening. Attempts to create virtual universities have generally failed as demonstrated by the collapse of the e-university in Britain in 20044 and by the fact that purely high-tech solutions cannot seize complex socio-cultural issues. In the case of the University of Phoenix in the United States, the failure can be explained by its small graduation rate (16%), which is among the nation’s lowest, according to Department of Education data suggesting that the heyday of corporate and online universities appears - for the moment - to have passed (Middlehurst, 2002).
The impact of globalisation on higher education is less likely to lead to the emergence of new kinds of universities completely different from traditional institutions as more market-oriented activities within traditional universities have started to be developed instead. Universities may rather become hybrid public-private institutions in which traditional forms of teaching and research co-exist with more entrepreneurial forms.
In fact, as Sheila Slaughter and Larry Leslie anticipated about a decade ago, academic capitalism is the result of intensive exploitation of human capital, made up by academics linked to universities with the potential to boost knowledge and the ability to attract interest from representatives from the productive sector. With academic management aimed at this goal, the university’s social responsibility is reduced to its ability to produce economically useful knowledge. Universities started to compete with the marketing of products and services derived from the production of knowledge, and increased the conditions that favour diversification of their sources of financial resources (Slaughter and Leslie, 1997).
It would also be inaccurate to conclude that international education would automatically fall into the purely, entrepreneurial category - because, as it has already been emphasized, there are many faces of internationalisation - some of which are actively opposed to the application of market principles in higher education. It is important to consider “how the internationalisation process of higher education is not only a reaction, but also an agent of globalisation'" (Kehm and De Wit, 2005, 58). A reaction, or better yet, a product, as - thanks to ever-expanding global connections - higher education has benefited from an increasing mobility of students, knowledge and academics.
On the other hand, internationalisation is seen as an agent of globalisation, especially in the world economy and as education becomes more and more active in the for-profit side through international student recruitment and commercial crossborder delivery of education (Knight, 1999). Furthermore, internationalisation is also perceived as an agent of cultural globalisation, seeing examples of both cultural hybridization and homogenization as a result of student mobility. This does not mean that there are no other responses to globalisation than to internationalize, and an analysis of the relations between the two phenomena is necessary to better explore the challenges faced by educational institutions.
The competition for an increased “market share” in higher education is being pursued by individual higher education institutions with different degrees of eagerness and can be linked to different reasons. One motive is claimed to be the objective set by post-imperial countries to preserve traditional areas of influence with an eye to economic rather than geopolitical benefits. Another reason, that mostly applies to Anglo-Saxon countries - where international students are charged higher fees - aims at increasing the funding available to universities, either as a supplement or as a substitute to public funding. A third motive is to staff national higher education and research systems and, therefore, national technology and innovation - by importing talented students from other, often poorer countries - the best example of this being the United States. A last minor objective is set by the more genuine willingness to provide aid and contribute to the development of Third World countries, thus offering all students a more international curricula and promoting better understanding between nations, cultures and religions (Scott, 2005).
One assurance common to all is the exponential growth of student mobility worldwide over the last decade. The growth in the number of students enrolled abroad since 1975 stems from various factors. During the early years, public policies to promote and nurture academic, cultural, social and political ties between countries played a key role, especially in the context of the European construction: building mutual understanding among young Europeans was a major policy objective. North American policies of academic co-operation had similar rationales. Over time, however, economic factors played an increasing role. Decreasing transport costs, the spread of new technologies, and faster, cheaper communications made economies and societies increasingly interdependent during the 1980s and 1990s.The trend was particularly marked in the high-technology sector and in the labour market, as the internationalisation of labour markets for the highly skilled gave individuals an incentive to gain international experience as part of their studies. The spread of information and communication technologies (ICT) lowered transaction costs of study abroad and boosted demand for international education. (OECD, 2009)
Long-term growth in the number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship
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Source: OECD and UNESCO Institute for Statistics5
Developed nations have consolidated higher education systems, both in quantitative (number of institutions, programmes and enrolments) and qualitative terms (quality of the faculty, teaching and research). Therefore, in the case of countries with low birth rates, the number of enrolments is decreasing due to demographic changes in developed countries and many higher education institutions in Europe, North America and Oceania are experiencing a surplus capacity that will not be used unless enrolment rates of domestic students increase (Kritz, 2006). Opposite is the perspective of the major sending countries (China, India, Indonesia etc.): student mobility often helps address excessive demand for tertiary education in the context of constrained domestic offer. This is especially true for emerging economies that have faced massive growth in tertiary education participation over the past decade and are struggling to meet the increasing demand (Mazzarol and Soutar, 2002; UNESCO/OECD, 2005). A study carried out by McMahon (1992) found that the involvement by the developing country in the international economy was a significant factor, as was the home government’s emphasis on education.
Many countries increasingly perceive the internationalisation process in the field of higher education as an export activity that yields economic returns, hence considerable efforts have been taken to market their tertiary education programmes internationally. Although internationalisation is a growing phenomenon all over the world, it remains dominated by small numbers of key stakeholders who share asymmetrically the education market. Figures have pointed out a recurrent disadvantage not just for the developing nations where capacity is weaker but also for the non-English-speaking countries in terms of research excellence (Toakley, 2004).
Indeed, in 2008, more than 50% of over 3.3 million tertiary students6 enrolled outside their country of residence, were attracted to only five countries of destination: notably Australia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. The United States hosted the majority of international students (in absolute terms) with almost 19% of the total international students worldwide, followed by the United Kingdom (10%), Germany, France and Australia (7%).
Nevertheless, even though those five countries have always represented the top- five destinations in the higher education market, their percentage has decreased on average by 4% over the past five years (within the United States alone, the percentage went from 24% to 19%) with the exception of Australia, where rates increased by one- half percentage point. This trend mirrors a growing pole of attraction for other countries within the OECD area - new players on the international education market have emerged with a significant increase over the past few years - notably Canada (with 6% of international students), Japan (4%), Italy (2%) and the Russian Federation with 4,3% (OECD, 2009).
The above mentioned trends also underline the different emphasis of the countries’ internationalisation policies, which range from a proactive approach in the Asia- Pacific region to a more university-driven attitude in the traditionally dominant United States as well as in some major European destinations.
In order to assess the turnout of internationalisation activities geared towards marketing and student recruitment in a particular education system, it is necessary to examine the intake of international tertiary students in the interested country relative to its total tertiary enrolments. In this respect, Australia and Austria received, in relative terms, the largest proportion of international students compared to their total tertiary enrolment in 2008, with nearly one in five tertiary students enrolled being foreign (20.6% in Australia and 15.5% in Austria). International enrolments were also significant in relative terms in Switzerland (14.1%)7 and New Zealand (12.9%).
In the specific case of Australia, the proportion of international students related to domestic enrolments rocketed from 12.6 to 20.6% over a ten-year span. The position of Australia has been growing so rapidly that the country was able to join the significant players in the international education market.
It should be noted however (Chart n.2) that the only decreasing numbers in foreign students’ enrolments were in Europe. This negative trend - 5.9 % of international enrolments on average versus 6.7 % in 1998 - was counterbalanced by short term exchanges within the European Union framework which are not taken into account here. Furthermore, this negative figure masks wide differences among European countries: in 2008, France, Germany and the UK, enrolled between 9% and 14% of international students at the tertiary level of education.
A review of trends in market shares underlines a strong progression of education providers in the Asia Pacific Region and in some Europeans countries, whereas some traditionally dominant destinations have lost ground in relative terms. The changes mentioned above are also a consequence of the increasing impact of the global environment: global comparison, internationalisation policies and the exponential growth in international mobility are all boosted by the eagerness of governments and institutions whose goal is to be in a dominant position on the international scene (OECD, 1998; OECD, 2008).
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* Year of Reference : 2007
Source: OECD (Education at a Glance, Paris 1998; Education at a Glance, Paris 2010)
The table shows a comparison between the distributions of international students in tertiary education enrolled in a given country of destination. It is noteworthy to stress that the data shown above do not include students enrolled in countries which did not report numbers to the OECD or to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. All statements on students enrolled abroad may therefore underestimate the number of citizens studying in a foreign country especially for those not reporting (e.g. China and India).
However, the OECD Education Database and UNESCO Institute of Statistics seem to be the soundest statistics available for comparison, as the method of obtaining data on international students follows the same parameters on total domestic enrolments. Nevertheless, domestic and international students are usually counted on a specific day or a period of the year. This procedure makes it possible to gather general and standardized data for every country, although the actual number of individuals involved may be much higher as many students study abroad for less than a full academic year or participate in exchange programmes that do not require enrolment (e.g. inter-university exchanges or advanced research short-term mobility). It may be likely that the data reported to OECD may account for inconsistency with other statistics published by countries themselves or reported in other sources. European countries that have jus sanguinis citizenship laws consider children of non-citizens to be foreigners and, therefore, classify them as foreign students in their statistics. OECD does ask countries to report whether the foreign students are residents or non-residents but it is unclear how many comply.
Moreover, the international student body includes some distance-learning students who are not, strictly speaking, considered “mobile”. This pattern of distance courses is fairly common in tertiary Australian, UK and US institutions (OECD, 2004). Another remark on data collected is that countries of destination involved in the survey consider all the OECD with the exception of Chile, Mexico and Luxembourg. On the other hand, the study includes countries which are not OECD members but nonetheless reported similar data to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (OECD, 2010).
Universities, as they exist today, have developed to serve the professional societies and bureaucratic states that were created in the 19th and 20th centuries and have played a significant role in nation-state formation. Their governance, management, and internal organization are still largely determined by national and administrative bodies. Most universities are still largely funded by public sources and they are organized into national systems of higher education and research. To that extent, the rise of globalisation is slowly reshaping structures and roles playing out very differently according to the type of institution: many are facing a new public management asset that sees institutions more and more involved in the management of their faculty staff, developing new tools and taking decisions about investments, position creations, suppression or transformations. In a connected global environment, tertiary higher education institutions are being influenced and in turn influence each other.
With this framework in mind, higher education institutions in the United States are said to exercise today a global influence and are often seen as a model example for structural efficiency as well as academic and research excellence. Internationalisation in higher education is also associated with an Anglo-American model because of its neo-liberalist policies adopted by many countries in fostering the sales of educational programmes in foreign nations (Marginson and Considine, 2000).
With the strengthening of global competence, the importance of science and technology has grown as has the training of qualified staff. Understandably, investments in research and education have become recognized as strategic. On both state and regional levels, individually as well as organizationally, the economic interests linked to higher education have become strategic for wealthy states and for companies in the context of knowledge-based economies and skills (Slaughter and Leslie, 1997).
The overall numbers that reflect the increase in higher education enrolments are impressive. In 1970, students accounted for 28.6 million, while in 2007 the student population reached 152.5 million, with an average annual growth of 4.6% (UNESCO, 2010).
As a consequence of this, a new attitude was adopted in some countries where governments have proven unable to provide the amount of investment required by teaching programmes and research development. Faced with the need for universities to preserve their prestige, policies with fewer regulations were promoted in Australia in favour of commercial exploitation. Public and private universities intensively expanded their portfolio of education services, and won new markets and diversified sources for self-funding, both for teaching and research.
With the adoption of neoliberal-inspired policies, the social role of the government was revised, the deregulation of essential services (investment in public health programmes, transportation, housing, education, research, culture, etc.) was formally claimed, and privatization programmes were expanded. Thus, neoliberal policies have been implicated in the “'promotion of market mechanisms within the structural space of the government, liberalizing and promoting competitive pressures among services, turning users into clients, privatizing, adopting management tools and principles based on instrumental rationality thus subjecting social rights to the logic of effectiveness and efficiency” (Santos, 2005, 37).
Governments are radically redefining their roles within a post-welfare state society and are pushing public institutions, including universities, towards more independency. In several countries, states have embraced a global dimension seeking competitive advantage in the global knowledge-based economy and are pushing public institutions to do the same. Thanks to their significance within this economy, universities have been given much more administrative freedom and in return they are expected to operate in a more business-like way (Scott, 1998). In fact, in some key respects, universities are considered to be at the forefront of moves towards privatization, not necessarily directly in terms of their funding or governance; but indirectly in terms of their central role in a knowledge-based economy. This is the case at all levels - from the most prestigious research universities with their ambitions to produce more Nobel Prize winners, to local universities which are seen as key places where local communities access global knowledge. (Marginson and Considine, 2000)
The emergence of a dual structure in higher education has resulted in an increase in the academic and financial power of research universities and a questioning of the legitimacy of teaching universities. Thus, whereas research universities and research centres have the potential to identify and respond to the needs of the productive sector, working together to raise efficiency and competitiveness standards within global markets, and diversifying funding sources, institutions dedicated to teaching must depend solely on the fees paid by students. In this way, both teaching and research activities tend to subject themselves to the interests of the economy and the market. Academic decisions are increasingly dependent on economic motivations and less committed to social needs. Consequently, as societal institutions, universities give rise to the format of market organizations (Santos, 2005).
Those new organizational assets remain nationally controlled and the country keep using its tools selectively, filtering through its own history and traditions: the great majority of institutions continue to be nationally embedded and dependent on governmental legitimacy and resource support with the exception of the Anglo-Saxon countries. The nation-state remains the site of policy making in higher education and the governments are still the principal financers, though the role of the private sector is growing to a different extent in each country. In the majority of the European nations, the cross-border relations of institutions continue to be largely administrated by the national authorities, though this approach may tend to inhibit global responsiveness (Teichler, 2004). The challenge of policy makers is to make higher education more competent for the global area, to pull out its benefits for national development, to increase cost-efficient operations and foster behavioural incentives, with balances between competition and cooperation.
In conclusion, the capacity of institutions to turn into global entities relies on their absolute potential to optimize resources and activities. The institutional ‘potential’ in higher education is framed by elements such as the size and wealth of the national economy, resources and techniques of governance, culture, language and the inherited educational system itself with its research capacity. National and institutional investments play a significant role in the global engagement around internationalisation: the communications infrastructures sustaining global connectivity, the size and the shape of research programmes, the qualities of instruments, the weight of incentives, the investments for cross-border programmes and exchanges such as academic visits, research training and collaborations. Global competition cannot be faced without any national funding - this particularly applies to basic research institutions which cannot rely on market forces and depend solely on private funding.
Of course, the entrepreneurial spirit of an institution is also deemed important - surely in this regard, institutional autonomy and freedom must be fostered as a necessary condition for maximizing global opportunities (Marginson and Van der Wende, 2007).
Overcoming diversity represents another important challenge in the process of internationalisation by institutions. As numbers of international students and staff increase, institutions are being forced to realize that internationalisation alone does not add value to teaching and research. The increased numbers will, in the long run, affect institutions on an ordinary basis and reveal that the existing modes of governance, teaching and administration may not adequately satisfy the different needs and concerns of diverse students. If not taken care of appropriately, increased competition for resources and dissatisfied participants, both domestic and international, will represent a problem. While diversity is, in many ways, enriching for higher education institutions, there are costs associated with it, largely in the area of daily interactions between people and institutions. It would be naive to assume that simply increasing the educational population brings about the positive effects of internationalisation. Difficulties in adequately responding to diversity can arise due to the differences in communication styles, language, culture and world view. Managing diversity thus becomes a core challenge for any organization wishing to maintain an international focus.
As internationalisation expands and diversity increases, higher education institutions will have to change from mono-cultural institutions to multicultural entities if they want to keep an internal cohesion and balance. As it has been reported by Hermans (2005), mono-cultural institution is “exclusively geared to the needs and concerns of the home community” (Hermans, 2005, 100).
Internal integration or cohesion in an organization helps its participants to understand what the organization is about and where it is heading. This shared understanding provides directions for how participants relate to each other in the organization and what kind of activities are pursued.
In a multicultural institution the traditional pattern of basic assumptions has changed in order to include different perspectives and handle diversity. However, the concept of a multicultural institution refers to a development in which the construction of reality in the institution is increasingly capable of accommodating cultural difference, creating an organizational environment of shared perceptions of practices and enhancing cultural learning. The development towards a multicultural institution is context-specific and certainly not a development towards higher education institutions all becoming uniform and similar. “A multicultural institution is a unique identity, rooted in a specific culture, responding to diversity ” (Hermans, 2005, 100).
Educators have so far focused on the integration of international students in the host institutions, by pushing their understanding of the host culture and by training them to function in a new community and environment. It is not only the newcomers who need to adapt and learn. When diversity stops being something exotic in the context of an international programme and becomes part of the daily life, it can no longer be ignored in the management of the institution. As international activities may be positioned at the core of the university activities, the latter has to adapt at the level of the student community, while at the same time, to create the flexibility needed to negotiate successfully with foreign partners.
The growing internationalisation of education systems and economies encourages students to be more mobile in order to develop the linguistic, cultural and social skills essential to be competitive in an increasingly global labour market. Interestingly, the key players on the international market for education differ quite significantly in terms of the characteristics of the student body which they attract, suggesting that the international market for education, although global, remains segmented. Indeed, the major destinations of international students - either by virtue of the absolute numbers attracted or the importance of foreigners in domestic enrolments - receive quite different profiles of international students when it comes to geographic provenance, levels of education and fields of specialization. Mazzarol and Soutar (2002) outlined a combination of 'push and pull’ factors that encourage students to study overseas. The model classifies 'push factors, those operating within the source country and initiating a student’s decision to undertake international studies; and 'pull factors, those functioning within a host country to make the destination more attractive to international students compared to that of its competitors. Among the latter - the institution’s reputation for quality, market profile, range of courses, partnerships, staff expertise, degree of innovation, and above all promotion and marketing efforts play an important role (Mazzarol, 1998).
Overall, the directions of international students can be explained by exogenous structural factors such as geographic proximity, trade partnerships, historical and cultural ties but also by a number of policy variables (Tremblay, 2005). As per structural factors, the dominance of English-speaking countries among the key stakeholders on the international education scene may be largely due to the fact that the language spoken and used in the instruction does play a key influence on students’ choice. In this respect, the rapid increase in the market shares of Australia and New Zealand between 1998 and 2008 can be, to some extent, attributed to such linguistic considerations. Given this automatic advantage of English-speaking education systems, an increasing number of institutions in non-English speaking countries have now begun to offer courses taught in English to domestic and international students with the aim of overcoming their linguistic disadvantage. This trend is especially noticeable in Nordic countries - but also to a lesser extent in other countries such as Japan, Germany, Italy and Switzerland (just to name a few) thus explaining part of their increase in the market share since 1998.
Besides the language of instruction, geographical proximity and/or cultural affinity, the existence of historical ties or intensive trade relations between countries are also strong determinants of international students’ choices. In this respect, the large proportion of international students from neighbouring Central America in the United States is an example of geographical proximity influence, whereas the high number of Indian students in the UK or the attraction to France by francophone North Africa illustrate the role played by historical ties.
As far as the geographic origins of the international student influx are concerned, considering a five year span, more than half of the international students in Europe come from other European countries (thanks to the growth within European mobility programmes) with the exception of the United Kingdom, where the proportion of European international students is lower than Asians. The proportion of Asian international students has increased everywhere, while the percentage of African students has decreased in all the countries taken into account over the last five years (OECD, 2005; OECD, 2010). The proportion of North American students dropped within popular destinations such as Australia or Europe, whereas South American student numbers have increased everywhere with a particular rise in North American institutions.
International students in tertiary education, by origin (2003-2005)
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*Others: Oceania and not specified value
Source: OECD (Education at a Glance, Paris 2004; Education at a Glance, Paris 2009)
To a larger extent, these patterns mirror the overall geographic composition of the general international student intake, which is skewed towards European countries of origin (most of which, OECD members) in the 19 European countries, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, and towards Asian origins in Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the United States. In particular, the comparatively low intakes from the OECD countries in the latter mentioned countries resulted from large intakes of students from China and India - two major non- OECD economies.
As far as fields of education are concerned, according to the OECD statistics, it is possible to identify magnet centres. Sciences together with social sciences, business and law have always attracted the vast majority of international students to the United States. In 2008 alone, 29.4% of the total international student population chose a course in social sciences, business or law, whereas 19.7% went for a scientific path.
In 2008, Australia received the largest proportion of student intake in social sciences, business and law, as those fields rocketed over the last few years and reached a height of 55.8% of international enrolments in a tertiary education course. The proportion of students enrolled in engineering, manufacturing and construction is also relatively high (10.3%). Australia mirrors the United Kingdom’s figures as far as fields of education are concerned. In fact, foreign enrolments are strong within the social sciences, business and law sector in the UK (41.1%) and the second preferred domain is engineering, manufacturing and construction with 14.7% out of the total enrolments.
It is noteworthy that the majority of the countries enrolling large proportions of foreign students in the sciences and engineering field deliver programmes in English due to the almost universal use of English in scientific literature. In the case of Germany and Finland, their large proportions of foreign students in scientific disciplines (around 20%) may also reflect the strong tradition of the two countries in the field.
By contrast, non-Anglophone countries tend to enrol a higher proportion of their foreign students in the humanities and arts field, not surprisingly given the nature of those programmes’ contents (OECD, 2010).
Overall, the concentration of international students in various disciplines is due to many factors relying on both the supply and the demand sides. On the supply side, some countries offer a tradition of centres of excellence and expertise that attract students from other countries in large numbers.
Traditionally, demand for higher education has been driven by expectations of its ability to raise the economic and social status of the graduate especially in less developed countries where limited access to education has pushed students to move (Mazzarol and Soutar, 2002). On the demand side, the peculiarities of international students can help to explain their concentration in certain fields of tertiary education. The demand of many Asian students for business training may explain the strong concentration of international students in social sciences, business and law in neighbouring Australia and New Zealand. Moreover, European regulations for the recognition of medical degrees clearly led to the concentration of international students in health and welfare programmes within the European countries (OECD, 2010).
The different patterns of internationalisation and the characteristics of international students enrolled in different countries of destination cannot be interpreted in isolation from the structural features of each destination (geographic location, language) and the internationalisation policies that host countries have adopted to attract international tertiary students towards their educational systems. Both features have an impact on the decisions of prospective international students when selecting a foreign country in which to study. Although it has been highlighted that several economic and social factors also influence international student mobility the factors understood to affect international students’ choices are more amenable to policy intervention: such measures justify the full-size proportion features of international student intakes (Tremblay, 2005b).
Firstly, it has been proven that prospective students give priority to quality assurance and international transferability of academic qualifications and credentials. The growing international mobility of students and the internationalisation of the labour market have challenged national frameworks for quality assurance and recognition of academic and professional qualifications. The need for an international framework has emerged as a necessity to enhance quality provision in cross-border higher education in order to protect students’ interests and increase the international portability of their qualifications (Mazzarol and Soutar, 2002).
To this aim, the OECD and UNESCO have produced a document called “Guidelines for Quality Provisions in Cross-border Higher Education” that set the principles for international quality assurance and recognition (UNESCO/OECD, 2005). Those guidelines have been approved by the UNESCO General Conference and were endorsed by the OECD Council on 2nd December, 2005. Although they do not intend to supersede individual countries’ authorities in the field of quality assurance and accreditation, an implementation process of this strategy has been suggested among all the OECD countries.
In the meantime, students have to rely on existing frameworks and bilateral or multilateral (regional) agreements for international quality assurance and recognition. Steps forward have been taken thanks to the implementation of an integrated framework through the Bologna process and the Lisbon strategy aiming at enhancing the convergence and transparency of European qualification structures (Tremblay, 2005a). As part of this process, the introduction in recent years of the European Credit Transfer System and the Diploma Supplement8 - describing the curriculum content, level and workload of degrees - have facilitated the recognition and transferability of academic credentials gained in other EU countries.
In terms of professional recognition, EU regulations and provisions for the free mobility of workers have introduced legally binding directives on professional recognition for an increasing number of professions (OECD, 2004b). These EU- specific recognition arrangements have stimulated student mobility, especially in some fields of study or professional programmes. An example of this trend is represented by the European Medical Directive, which requires the automatic recognition of medical degrees obtained within the EU in other member states. This instruction has led to student mobility flows to bypass the existence of quotas restricting access to medical studies in many Europeans countries.
Australia, as it will be analysed further in the paper, has shown a dynamic attitude towards developing a recognition system, probably related to the country’s reliance upon skilled immigration on one hand and pro-active marketing of its higher education abroad on the other. The country has created a National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (AEI-NOOSR) - part of the Australian Education International - and whose main task includes the assistance to people wanting their overseas qualifications recognized. The organization also undertakes research and analysis on overseas education systems and develops guidelines for the evaluation of foreign academic qualifications in order to assess their comparability with Australian qualifications. In addition, Australia has established mutual recognition agreements with a number of countries in Europe and within the Asia Pacific Region by ratifying the Lisbon Recognition Convention and the UNESCO Regional Convention on recognition of studies, diplomas and degrees in higher education in Asia and the Pacific.9
With regards to the recognition of professional qualifications, the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement with New Zealand10 allows licensed professionals in New Zealand to practice in Australia and vice versa. Multilateral professional recognition frameworks have also been fostered to facilitate the mobility of engineers and architects within the APEC area11 (OECD, 2004b).
These extensive recognition arrangements may explain the success of Australia in attracting international students in recent years by facilitating the transferability of their degrees across borders upon return.
By contrast, recognition arrangements to evaluate foreign degrees appear less common and much more decentralized in North America, making the process more complicated so far as it may differ according to territorial jurisdictions and professions (OECD, 2004b). In Canada, the recognition of foreign academic qualifications is essentially an institutional or provincial responsibility with the exception of specific occupations where provisions exist at a national level. In the United States, the framework is more complicated as the recognition mainly relies on host institutions or employers. Both countries, like Australia, have, however, signed the Lisbon Recognition Convention. Canada also ratified the NAFTA Mutual Recognition Agreement12 with Mexico in the field of engineering qualifications, while only the state of Texas is part of this agreement in the United States.
With regards to professional qualifications, both Canada and the United States are signatories of the Washington Accords permitting the recognition of engineering credentials obtained in other signatory countries. Similar mutual recognition agreements exist between some Canadian provinces and some US states as regards architects, chartered accountants and nurses (Tremblay, 2005b).
Whenever the recognition of foreign qualifications is difficult, a study abroad experience may become part of a deliberate immigration strategy for individuals that intend to work and settle in their country of studies. As stated before, the world’s increasing globalisation leads to a wider inter-connectedness of educational courses and labour markets. As a result, countries encourage their students to study abroad - benefiting from their cost-free education upon their return. On the other hand, host countries are interested in educating foreign students, in part, as a way to attract human capital, thus benefiting their domestic economy (Tremblay, 2005b). Foreign students significantly increase the amount of permanent human capital in the host countries and represent a potential flow of qualified workers, resulting in brain drain from the countries of origin and leaving them with very limited gain (Massey and Malone, 2002).
That some of the foreign students stay in their country of study is, in fact, well known. According to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (2000), out of a sample of 4200 migrants holding temporary permission to work in the United States (H1B visa), 23% previously held a student visa. Clearly, there are good reasons to expect that the experience of having studied in a country considerably eases subsequent migration (Tremblay, 2005b).
Australia represents a good example of a country that believed in the implementation of a sound immigration strategy that would aim at supplying its national job market with highly educated workforce. In this respect, a survey of Chinese students who entered Australia between 1986 and 1992 indicates that 11.7% of them reported having come with a primary aim to migrate, despite the fact that no provisions granting preferred treatment to former students existed at that time (Gao and Liu, 1998).
Since the mid-90s, immigration policies have been increasingly encouraged by Australia due to the country’s acknowledgement of the importance of a foreign skilled workforce for sustaining economic growth in its modern knowledge-based society (UNESCO, 2003).
Over this new situation, the rising power of technology in the economic sphere and the imperative need for countries to keep pace with the latest technological developments have played a key role in the consideration of international students as a potential source of highly skilled workers by some OECD countries. Australia was one of the pioneers of immigration provisions that could encourage international students to apply for permanent residence. As early as 1998, Australia decided to grant extra points to former international students applying for immigration visas. The country governance of that time rightly pointed out the fact that international students - upon completion of their studies - would become familiar with the country’s language, culture, employment practices and social codes as well as holding a national certificate known to local companies, thereby being directly employable on the Australian labour market. Therefore, Australia was taken as an example by several OECD countries that have subsequently softened their immigration regulations to encourage the temporary or permanent immigration of international students to sectors affected by labour shortages as part of a skilled immigration recruitment strategy (Tremblay, 2005b).
From the late 1990s, immigration authorities of many OECD countries have started amending their legislation to facilitate the entry of skilled workers and to offer international students easier access to work and/or residence permits upon graduation. In most countries, this was done by more flexibility in existing immigration policies, whereas some others introduced special schemes for highly skilled workers and/or formers international students (OECD, 2004a).
With a special focus on Australia, its most remarkable policy change occurred in July 2001, when a new visa category - the Skilled-Independent Overseas Student Category - was set up in order to allow international students in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) or in other job sectors from the Skilled Occupations List to apply for permanence visa without requirement of previous professional experience, and above all, without necessarily being sponsored by an Australian employer. Under this scheme, applicants holding a degree, diploma or trade qualification obtained from an Australian institution with at least two years of fulltime study in the country may apply for permanent residence within six months of completing their qualification. Other eligibility criteria are based on passing the skilled immigration points test, and on age, English language ability and the type of postsecondary qualifications and skills held. International students gain additional test points by virtue of their Australian degree and, since 2003, the number of extra points granted increases with the level of education completed in Australia, suggesting undoubtedly a policy move to foster student intakes at higher levels of education.
The programme has been successful since its very implementation as 15.2% of international graduates permanently settled in Australia in 2001 alone - and the following year an increase of 3.5% was registered (Australian Government - Department of Immigration and Citizenship, 2003).
A high proportion of onshore primary applicants are students in Australia. From 1997 to 2008, 96,641 people or 45% of onshore skilled settlers held a skilled student visa (with subclass types of student visa 880, 881 or 882), in contrast to less than 2% of offshore skilled settlers (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations).
Similarly to Australia, Canada and New Zealand screen their skilled worker permanent immigrants on the basis of a point system and grant extra points to former students. To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate at least two years of full-time study at a post-secondary level in recognized programmes. For example, New Zealand shows softer conditions of permanence for international students with a postgraduate degree and for those who studied in specific areas of absolute skill shortage. This may partly explain the strong increase of international enrolments in the country over recent years especially taking into consideration the Trans-Tasman provisions that allow individuals to freely move and work in neighbouring Australia and vice versa.
Canada has also developed temporary work opportunities for international students upon completion of their studies. Former students may apply onshore to remain in the country and work for up to a year after graduation. Candidates must demonstrate a job offer that is related to their field of studies in a bid by the government policy to respond to labour market shortages. Foreign students not holding a Canadian degree have to demonstrate to the government’s department of Human Resources Development Canada that the job offer received will not impact adversely on the Canadian labour market.
By contrast, the United States do not hold specifically targeted measures to encourage the settlement of its international students as might have been assumed, despite receiving the most attention for draining and retaining former students after the completion of their studies. Yet, the United States remains a global magnet for skilled workers and individual migration strategies may explain part of the student mobility towards the United States. In this respect, the H-1B visa (Persons in Specialty Occupation) is a common pathway for tertiary graduates contemplating immigration to the United States, and often represents a step towards permanent residence, although not designed to this purpose. In fact, this type of visa applies to people in a specific occupation and requires completion of a specific course of higher education and it is subjected to a fiscal annual cap ceiling and a maximum duration of six years (Tremblay, 2005b).
Despite the lack of immigration provisions that establish a preferred recruitment path for international students to settle down in the United States, the phenomenon of education-related migration is far from negligible and former students have been representing for many years a noteworthy contribution to the intake of foreign talents within the United States (Tremblay, 2005b). According to the statistics published by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, in 2007, more than 20% of H-1B temporary visa holders previously held a student visa (USCIS, 2005). The rate has always been steady in the United States suggesting that the country is an attractive destination for prospective students contemplating subsequent immigration despite the lack of a targeted policy to retain them and the country’s tight control of the annual quota (U.S-INS, 2000).
Europe is worth mentioning in this section, as immigration policy patterns have been challenged. Despite the long-term trend in discouraging the massive entry of immigrants since the mid-1970s, changes of governments’ mindsets have brought about a more open attitude towards foreign students and permanent residence especially in countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany, faced with ageing societies and an increasing market demand in certain specialized occupations notably those of information technology, biotechnology, medicine, healthcare and education. It is important to mention that these recent policy changes have already had a great impact on the numbers and characteristics of the international student intakes in European countries (Knight, 2004).
As the internationalisation of tertiary education increases, countries that take part in mutual recognition arrangements are clearly at an advantage to attract students from other signatory countries. At the same time, the existence of imperfect transferability of academic or professional qualifications may also generate some immigration- related student mobility to the extent that students may see study abroad as first step towards their subsequent immigration in their country of study. A good solution is the one adopted by some countries of favoured destination which have actually started to benefit from this new channel of skilled immigration by favouring the recruitment of skilled workers from their pool of international students, which may, in turn stimulate international enrolments by individuals contemplating subsequent immigration (Mazzarol and Soutar, 2002).
Secondarily, the international students’ choice on the destination depends on a number of other minor factors related to quality provisions: academic reputation of particular institutions, the flexibility of programmes related to counting time spent abroad towards degree requirements, as well as the existence of targeted programmes to assist international students in their country of destination, thereby enhancing their study abroad experience. These features are still part of the quality provision spectrum, but may be influenced by the marketing and advertising strategies related to destination branding. Social links related to whether a student has family or friends living in the destination country or whether family and friends had studied there previously are also underlined to be another important influence on destination choice (Mazzarol and Soutar, 2002).
Besides issues of recognition and immigration opportunities, few minor factors influencing prospective international students’ choices are the entity of tuition fees, the cost of living in the potential countries of destination as well as social costs - such as crime, safety and racial discrimination (Mazzarol and Soutar, 2002). In this respect - despite several governments having made international education recruitment an explicit part of their socio-economic development strategies and having initiated policies to attract international students on a revenue-generating basis - intake figures do not seem to have been affected by this strategy.
Australia was one of the pioneers of this for-profit strategy and adopted differentiated tuition fees for foreigners in a bid to maximize the trade benefits of international education. As a result, most of the large receivers of international students, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom nowadays charge the full cost of education to their international students. By contrast, other European countries have kept the same tuition fees for international and domestic students and some others even provide tertiary education for free (notably Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Poland) (OECD, 2010).
Cross-border education is increasingly self-financed: on the demand side is readily understood as a global market where students and their families choose between provider nations and institutions. On the supply side, arrangements vary, from free tuition for cross-border students in certain European universities to the commercial market in much of the English-speaking world (OECD, 2004a).
However, in choosing between similar educational opportunities, costs and social considerations play a minor role. It has been demonstrated that tuition fees are likely to be taken into account only after having checked the quality of education services provided (Mazzarol and Soutar, 2002).
Evidence from international enrolments in Australia between 1998 and 2003 suggests that full tuition costs had not necessarily discouraged prospective international students as long as the quality of education provided remained high. The expected returns for individuals in terms of recognized qualifications and immigration opportunities make the investment worthwhile. This underlines the importance of an appropriate marketing of education services at a global scale.
Given that, the cost of an international education should be measured in relation to the possibility for international students to benefit from the option to work part-time during their period of stay. Many host countries offer students the right to hold parttime jobs under their student visa schemes and this is an essential “'push-pullfactor example: it was the case during the late 1980’s, when the rapid increase of Chinese students into Australian English Language courses was attributed to Australia’s student part-time work opportunities (Simington, 1989).
From this initial internationalisation of higher education overview, it has emerged that the traditional altruistic approach to student mobility as a means to develop internationally-minded citizens and to foster mutual understanding, has progressively been complemented — and in some cases such as in Australia — superseded by economic grounds. In this respect, over the last decade, Australia has been pioneering internationalisation as a way of generating export revenues and financing the expansion of its tertiary education system abroad. Indeed, the integration of a foreign population has increased the sources of financing the national education system, through direct contributions (tuition fees) or, indirectly, through living expenditures (Tremblay, 2005b).
English colonization was rooted in Australia for 113 years (1788-1901) and understandably left important traces on the country’s social, cultural, political and economic organization (Baraldi, 2002).
Australia is the sixth largest country in terms of surface area, while its population, made up of 21.75 million inhabitants (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 2011), represents just 0.3% of the world’s population. The country’s economy represents 2% of the GPD of all OECD countries and is responsible for approximately 1% of world trade (OECD - Country Profile, 2010). Australia boasts a large surface area and a small population density; it has a small gross domestic product and a small share in world trade.
Until the 1980s, the Australian economy achieved very positive results by virtue of the export capacity of primary sector products. At the time, the country depended largely on mining and agriculture. With the adoption of trade policies geared towards exportation, the government was able to protect the industrial sector, maintaining a policy of high wages, and preserving favourable national employment rates. Considering that its success depended on the prices placed on primary sector products by the international market, and that those prices suffered from sharp fluctuations, the Australian economy proved to be quite vulnerable (Coaldrake, 1999).
It was in this context, starting in the late eighties, that the national government decided that universities should play a major role in national economic development, whereby the began investing in higher education as a main export product, in order to rely on a sector which was not easily subject to fluctuations.
Australia’s achievement, as will be further analysed in this chapter, is mostly due to the new public management adopted by the country, which has undoubtedly facilitated the entrepreneurial, revenue-directed approach in the whole education sector. Similar policies have been implemented by New Zealand and the United Kingdom with the same positive results.
In a country whose population revolves around twenty-two million inhabitants, the economic outlook for the higher education industry depends on the existence of a deregulated international education market, because internally there is not a sufficient scale to support the costs involved. It should be pointed out that during a six-year period (1995 - 2001), while the number of students overall increased by 8.6%, the number of foreign students increased by 146% (DEETYA, 1999; DEEWR, 2005).
1 Corporate Training programmes are created by corporations in order to train human capital to become skilled. (Kritz, 2006, 14)
2 Examples of educational brokers are the Western Governors’ University (WGU) in the US or Learndirect in the UK. WGU brings together a range of partners to deliver new kinds of programmes (based on a competency model) to new groups of students. Courses are developed and delivered by more than 30 participating organizations including universities, colleges and commercial companies.
3 In some countries, such as China, the US or UK, national media organizations have long been involved in the delivery of education.
4 UK e-Universities Worldwide Ltd (UKeU) and e-Learning Holding Company Ltd were established in 2001. In September 2003,UKeU launched its first programmes, attracting just 900 students against a target of 5,600. Despite £62 million of Government Funding, the four year project ended in 2004 (House of Commons, 2004).
5 Data retrieved from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the OECD. UIS provided the data on all countries from 1975 to 1990 and most of the partner countries for the years 2000 and 2008. The OECD provided the data on OECD countries and other partner economies in 2000 and 2008. Both sources use similar parameters, thus making their comparison possible.
6 Tertiary students are those enrolled in programmes at level 5 and 6 according to the 1997 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED 1997). The taxonomy was created by the United Nation Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the aim of facilitating the international compilation and comparison of educational statistics. ISCED - Level 5 corresponds to programmes at the first stage of tertiary education and are subdivided in theoretically based, preparatory to research or practical/technical/ occupation programmes. ISCED - Level 6 corresponds to programmes at the second stage of tertiary education which lead to an advanced research qualification equivalent to a doctorate (ISCED, 1997).
7 Percentage in total tertiary underestimated due to the exclusion of certain programmes in Switzerland.
8 The Diploma Supplement was developed by the European Commission, Council of Europe and by UNESCO/CEPES. The purpose of the supplement is to provide sufficient independent data to improve the international transparency and fair academic and professional recognition of qualifications (diplomas, degrees, certificates, etc.). It is designed to provide a description of the nature, level, context and content of the studies that were completed by the individual named on the original qualification to which this supplement is appended. The certificate is free from any value-judgements, equivalence statements or suggestions about recognition. All European institutions are to release the Diploma Supplement to their graduates automatically and free of charge.
9 The Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific was adopted in Bangkok on 16 December 1983 (UN Treaty Series No. 32021)
11 The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum of 21 Pacific Rim countries that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional economic blocs such as the European Union and the North America Free Trade Area.
12 The NAFTA is a Mutual Recognition Agreement of Registered/Licensed Engineers by the Jurisdictions of Canada, the United States and Mexico to Facilitate Mobility in Accordance with the North American Free Trade Agreement.
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