The first Global Conference on the Internationalisation of Higher Education was held in Kruger National Park from 22-24 August, hosted by the International Education Association of South Africa. University World News was the media partner.
There were 250 delegates from 28 countries at the first Global Conference on the Internationalisation of Higher Education, more than a third of them from outside host country South Africa. The idea was to create an inclusive platform where voices from the global South and North would carry equal weight in an internationalisation debate – within a safari environment that provokes thoughts about life itself.
Disruptions to higher education systems and deliveries are fundamentally changing the perceptions of access to information and university attendance, while giving developing countries an advantage over the developed world, says Rob Brown of global education group Navitas.
“Education is more than access to information. Education is also a way to see that information in itself is not education,” says Dutch higher education expert Hanneke Teekens. Therefore, universities will remain very important institutions that produce leaders, “especially in an intercultural context and in an interconnecting world”.
Developments over three decades have placed one issue centrally on the agenda for higher education internationalisation – the huge and growing challenge of global inequality – says Professor Derrick Swartz, vice-chancellor of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa.
With nearly five million study abroad students worldwide and millions of refugees escaping conflict or in search of a better life, international credential evaluation has never been more important, says evaluation expert Margaret Wenger. Today digital data is transforming the field, speeding up evaluation and supporting student mobility – but there are challenges.
Two of the biggest and fastest-growing economic sectors in Africa are churches and higher education. This has captured political attention and today the university sector is experiencing a positive turnaround and is seen as key to Africa’s economic development, says Teboho Moja, professor of higher education at New York University.
Internationalisation strategies and resources are being strengthened at universities across South Africa by a European Commission-supported initiative, IMPALA – Internationalisation and Modernisation Programme for Academics, Leaders and Administrators – which is named after the ubiquitous antelope that graces the country’s game reserves.