Tools for Internationalizing Higher Education in Developing Countries
The global nature of modern economy is reflecting heavily on higher education. Graduates are frequently finding employment in areas outside their home countries, and universities are targeting students away from their main campuses and integrating away-from-campus experiences into their programs. Producing graduates able to compete on the global scale is essential to modern tertiary education in all countries. Exposing students to modern trends in technology and diverse approaches to pedagogy figures high on the priority list of prominent schools. Higher educational institutions with limited resources are at a disadvantage here. In poorer countries, sending students out in large numbers may not be practical for economic, political, and cultural reasons. In this paper, we talk about a suite of initiatives tailored to help bring international education to local students at affordable cost in a developing country context. The measures include internationalizing curriculum and quality assurance practices; offering programs for international students to visit, learn, and volunteer in interaction with local students and communities; and recruiting prominent scholars from international universities and major corporations to teach courses to local students. Another tool is that of joint programs, graduate and undergraduate, with regional and international schools. The measures can be viewed not only as internationalization tools but also as ways to close the gaps in areas of weaknesses at the national level. Indicators of success for these initiatives include follow-up action such as local student/faculty stays abroad, joint work on capstone projects and graduate degrees, subsequent joint research programs, international accreditation, and the level of future interest in similar initiatives.
We report in some detail on a suite of initiatives aimed at exposing our students to international education in a cost-effective manner: on the academic restructuring introduced to make student and faculty participation in international activities fit well into regular academic commitments, the challenges faced and solutions devised, the degree to which the goals were achieved, and the sustainability of the effort in a resource-limited environment of a third world country.
KeywordsHigher education Internationalization of higher education Quality in higher education Developing countries
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