, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 415-441

Quality issues in the internationalisation of higher education

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Abstract

Although the quality issue has become a central preoccupation inother domains of higher education, current internationalisation policiesand practices in higher education have developed without much concernfor quality assurance. The central thesis of this paper is that we havecome to a point in the development of higher education whereinternationalisation policies and practices face the limits of theirdevelopment unless the quality challenge is addressed in all itsconsequences. The paper first provides an overview of contemporary formsof and recent developments in internationalisation in higher education.From more or less `traditional' forms such as student and teaching staffmobility, internationalisation policies and practices nowadays move intoactivities such as exporting higher education via branch campuses andinstitutional co-operation, developing transnational university networksand virtual delivery of higher education, and the harmonisation ofhigher education systems. In these recent developments several issuesand challenges arise, which in one kind or another have direct links tothe quality challenge. The quality of internationalisation policies andpractices itself is an important problem, but of more importance are theissues of the recognition of foreign diplomas and degrees and therecognition of credits and credit-transfer. This paper takes a criticalstance towards for example the ECTS, which tries to solve these issueswithout much concern for quality. The way out lies in an integration ofinternationalisation policies and general quality assurance practices atinstitutional and policy levels.