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It is a process of exchange and mutual influence, where the actors involved are presumably "nations". On the other hand, internationalisation is commonly conceptualised as an ideology or policy of some sort. When we speak of the contents of internationalisation in higher education the term "intercultural education" seems more fruitful. Intercultural education implies a learning situation characterised by intercultural interaction , which is used actively as a pedagogic resource.

Since "cultures" or "ethnicities" rather than "nations" are the centre of attention in this text, the term internationalisation, therefore, will be substituted for intercultural education when it seems more adequate. Internationalisation is habitually seen as something unique for the last two centuries.

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But ever since time immemorial, people have interacted with other cultures, out of curiosity, necessity or by sheer coincidence. Explorers such as James Cook, Vasco da Gama, Christopher Columbus, travelled the world in their thirst for knowledge and impulses. Thus, interest in the world, other people, cultures, languages and ideas or simply the quest for knowledge and competence have always been motives for academic training abroad.

A major difference is, however, that nowadays we live in a globalised world. People, capital, ideologies, media images and cultural impulses travel around the world more rapidly and efficiently than ever before Appudurai ; Giddens ; Bauman ; Beck International experiences are constantly available for many of us in our own neighbourhoods. The Internet connects people of different backgrounds across large distances. But the unique thing is that the Internet is totally indifferent to international boundaries Graham It links together people who otherwise would be strangers to one another, by a common interest that has nothing to do with nationality.

Against this background, "territorial" identities have presumably been substituted for "mobile" identities. Overall, in the late modern world identities are more fragile, dispersed or dislocated and have urged the construction of new identities Friedman ; Castells A clear tendency toward an ideologisation of internationalisation policies is also visible. Policy-makers and educators, frequently and energetically, stress internationalisation as a principal goal for higher education.

Internationalisation-ideologies can be seen as integral elements of an "identity-project" to replace territorial, communal and national identities with mobile, cosmopolitan and "international" identities. For single individuals, it may be simultaneously an answer to their personal quest for an identity. Furthermore, internationalisation is no longer, however, a concern exclusively for universities, colleges or research institutes.

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For a variety of reasons, multinational organisations, companies or political bodies also define their internationalisation-policies. Consequently, there is a viable discourse on internationalisation. Policy-makers tend to focus on ideological goals e.


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In addition to this, universities struggle to overcome organisational obstacles, traditions and collective attitudes that prevent administrators and teaching staff from co-operating sufficiently and adequately. Limited access to higher education sustains social inequality in the world. Therefore, the internationalisation of higher education can contribute to a more democratic, fair and equal world. It increases the awareness of the varying life-conditions, social injustices and racial segregation that people live under.

Over time this may initiate a redistribution of resources and welfare.

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Without adequate higher education and research institutions providing a critical mass of skilled and educated people, no country can ensure genuine endogenous and sustainable development and, in particular, developing countries and least developed countries cannot reduce the gap separating them from the industrially developed ones. The rationale of international cooperation in academia seems grounded in a common-sense assumption that "internationalisation is good per se.

International co-operation grants presumably students and staff from the "poor world" access to new knowledge and competence. But it should also, to the students, communicate and create understanding for the relativity of cultural beliefs, values, living patterns, ideologies and ideas.

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It should, among them, inoculate tolerance, respect and contribute to a sense of global as well as national community and solidarity and work against ethnocentrism, racism and academic self-righteousness 1. The aim should be to evoke students' curiosity and stimulate their appreciation of intercultural differences and ethnic diversity. At the same time, higher education has become a global commodity and countries market themselves as research and education nations.

Critics claim that the wealthy nations, through international exchange programmes try to attract researchers, teaching staff and fee-paying students from the "poor world" in order to keep their competence in the country, thus risking to "brain drain" their home countries. Critics claim also that internationalisation is guided by the "rich world's" economic and political interests, standards, value systems, ethnocentrism and belief in self-superiority.

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Hence, internationalisation is predominantly seen as a one-way flow - "they" can learn from us, but "we" have little to learn from them. In its most extreme guise, they mean that internationalisation is an instrument to "educate uncivilised people" or simply a strategy to maximise profit and ensure economic growth.

For the European Union the implementation of international co-operation is part of a large-scale identity project Stier Internationalisation-policies are considered potent means to strengthen a sense of community and association among the Union's members. Similarly, many countries initiate international programmes for their citizens. Sweden and the European Union have allocated vast resources to increase the level of student exchanges and international research co-operation.

As an example, about In higher education in Western Europe, study-programmes with broad foci have been prioritised, whereas other programmes have been prolonged.

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Real competencies and qualifications with broad areas of application are emphasised Beck The value of life-long learning, inclusive education, social competencies, critical thinking, the ability to cope with conflicts and, last, but not least, intercultural understanding are stressed. To be prepared for the 21 st century, the private sector will need skilled and well-educated labour [ my translation ]. Intercultural education is assumed to match demands of the global and multicultural world. Many employers stress and vaule the need for professionals with competencies in several languages and knowledge of diverse cultural codes.

Motives may be to maximise profit, expand into new markets or increase efficiency. For this reason, international experiences constitute a comparative advantage for students as they later seek employment. Check system status. Toggle navigation Menu. Name of resource. Problem URL. Describe the connection issue. SearchWorks Catalog Stanford Libraries.

The future university : ideas and possibilities. Responsibility edited by Ronald Barnett. Imprint New York : Routledge, Physical description x, p. Series International studies in higher education. Online Available online. Full view.


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