The push: academic mobility
As discussed in earlier chapters, higher education has been marked in recent years by a growth in international connectedness (Skyrme & McGee, 2016). Opportunities to study' abroad started in the 1980s, as rich universities began to offer large scholarships as part of their aid programmes (77?r Economist, 2016). Today higher education is one of the most rapidly globalising systems with five million students studying or doing research in a foreign country (Van Damme, 2016). Universities and governments are increasingly introducing policies to attract talented internationally' mobile students (Wint & Downing, 2017). Most tertiary' international students are concentrated in the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Russia, Japan and Canada (Bilecen & Van Mol, 2017; British Council, 2012). Proportionally, countries like the UAE, UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Australia report the highest percentage of international students according to the recent QS WUR indicator ranking (Griflfin et al., 2018). China is likely to remain the top sender of students to other countries in 2025 but it should also receive a greater share than it ever has by that point (ICEF, 2016). Education agencies rank the United States as the most attractive destination (7Z/c Economist, 2016) and Asian countries have become vital to the revenue streams of top institutions in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia (ICEF, 2013). However, the latest projections show a decreased share of internationally mobile students for these nations in the years to come (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2015).
Given the increased investments in higher education and excess capacity' in countries with less favourable demographics, countries like China, Singapore, Malaysia and some Gulf States will eventually become the fastest growing study destinations (British Council, 2012). The improved quality' of domestic education in emerging destinations leads to a larger proportion of domestic students choosing to study within their own country’s own borders or in cultures they are largely' familiar with. The British Council reports that 26% of Arab students studying
Rankings, politics and geography 105 abroad in 2012 did so within the Middle-East, compared to 12% in 2007 (ICEF, 2016). Similarly, more than 40% of outbound Asian students now study at an Asian institution (up from 36% in 1999) (ICEF, 2016). This shift implies that Asian students now have more opportunities than ever to stay close to home when considering a higher education institution (ICEF, 2016; Sharma, 2015b; ICEF, 2013). Other countries play an important and increasingly large destination role at regional level: South Africa (Sub-Saharan Africa); Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia (South East Asia); and South Korea (North East Asia) (British Council, 2012). To compensate for a declining youth population, countries like Russia, South Korea, Germany, Italy and Japan are likely to expand international recruiting efforts (ICEF, 2016).
The diversification of the global research landscape
The global research landscape is increasingly diversifying (Van Damme, 2016). International masters and doctoral students are just as important for nations to attract as undergraduates. In addition to increased fees, these postgraduate students contribute to the research and development of a country (OECD, 2016). Universities want to attract talent because of the growing importance of research output in determining funding and positioning in international university rankings (British Council, 2014). Most postgraduate students are currently from Asia with the US hosting almost 40% of them. The British Council projects that countries like Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan will become key international markets next to India and China by 2024 (Macgregor, 2014). Australia and Canada are forecast to have the highest annual average growth in inbound postgraduate mobility, at 4.1% each (British Council, 2014).
International PhD students may stay in their host countries after graduating, expanding the labour force as professionals, technicians and researchers (OECD, 2016). International doctoral students are attracted by countries that invest substantial resources into research and development (OECD, 2016). This investment, from countries like Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden have enabled them to lure the highest proportion of doctoral students (OECD, 2016). The strong country-level correlation between both sets of data suggests that doctoral students have a positive impact on the quantity and quality of scientific research in the host country'. In turn, this could prompt governments to increase their Research and Development spending on universities. Indirectly, international students then contribute to the innovation process and the development of a research-intensive knowledge economy in the host country'.
The QS WUR (2019) shows a year-on-year proportional increase of 6.3% in international students for the top 500 ranked universities. Similarly, the proportion of international staff for the top 500 grew by 6.6%, from 242 984 (in the 2018 edition) to 259 021 (in the 2019 edition). Internationally, academic mobility has significantly' increased over the past decade (Bilecen & Van Mol, 2017). The Middle East and Southeast Asia are hiring a significant number of international staff, with Switzerland and Australia also displaying high average rates in the
International Staff Indicator. More than 90% of the UAE’s academic staff are international, followed closely by Macau (84%), Qatar (81.3%) and Singapore (64%) (Griffin et al., 2018). Top level academia is perhaps the world’s most international community (The Economist, 2016).
Universities generally remain internally-focused but mindful of the need to foster international conversations, networks, partnerships and publications (Thomson, 2014). Qatar, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and China have all promoted internationalisation in national policy, including inviting prestigious foreign universities to establish local campuses (Gibney, 2013). Countries like Australia and Canada have adjusted visa and immigration requirements to attract international students (Altbach, Reisberg, & Rumbley, 2009). According to Alt-bach et aL, (2009) most of the major research producing nations like the US, the UK, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, Japan and Switzerland have doubled the number of research collaborations during the last ten years. However, most notably in China, that figure is five times greater. China has the fastest growing research output in the world, and it will play a fundamental role in reshaping the research landscape in the future (Altbach et al., 2009).
Internationalisation has also reached prominence at regional and international levels. The Bologna and Lisbon strategy' in Europe are the clearest examples of international engagement at the policy level. The Bologna process includes 40 countries in a European higher education area. Similar examples of regional collaboration are the Latin American and the Caribbean area for higher education, the African Network for Internationalisation of Education (ANIE) and in the development of the African Union Harmonisation Strategy (Altbach et al., 2009). International collaboration efforts like these inherently lead to a need for transparency and accountability (de Wit, 2010).