HO rendeert meer dan Hollywood of sport

Nieuws | de redactie
18 mei 2011 | Hoger onderwijs kan een land erg rijk maken. In de USA leverde de export van HO –dus de opbrengst van kennisoverdracht aan buitenlandse studenten- in 2008 een hoger surplus op de handelsbalans dan ‘Hollywood’, sport of de reclamesector. Een verdubbeling is bovendien haalbaar en ook wenselijk.

Onderzoek van de University of California in Berkeley geefthierover nieuwe, relevante cijfers en analyses. Het CSHE researchpaper ‘US Higher Education as an Export’ door John Aubrey Douglass,Richard Edelstein, en Cecile Hoaraeu is dan ook de moeite waard,ook voor de kennissector in ons land.

Wat kan een land exporteren?

“The authors argue that, “The US could, and should strategize,to double its enrollment of international students by 2020.”Currently, the US enrolls some 691,000 international students;these students pay tuition and fees estimated to a total of $13billion dollars during the 2009-10 academic year. Discountingfinancial aid, and adding the cost of living expenses for studentsand their families, they estimate that the direct total economicimpact of international students is nearly $19 billion a year.”

In his first year of office, and facing the challenge of aneconomy in severe decline, President Obama identified a key elementfor future economic growth for the US: we need to “export more ofour goods.” The US trade deficit remains a source for othereconomic maladies, including huge personal and government borrowingto help buy goods and services from abroad that, in turn, hashelped to sustain the quality of living for many Americans – or atleast until the onset of the Great Recession. The Obamaadministration set a goal to double the exports of goods andservices by 2015 – less than five years.

Higher education is the best export

Is this an achievable goal? The fact is that the nation’sability to significantly grow the export of non-high techmanufactured goods, or even natural resources, is fairly limited,even if the dollar declines in its value as many predict if USborrowing continues unabated. America’s most significant growthpotential is probably in the service sector. This includesfinancial services, patent royalties and licensing fees, managementand consulting, entertainment, telecommunications, andeducation.

Among the top service sectors in which the US had a tradesurplus in 2008, education ranks sixth — more important thanentertainment (Film, TV, Sports and the Arts), advertising and evencommunications. Most of the “import” costs relate to US studentsgoing abroad for education programs.

“Higher education is the best export, not only because it isprofitable and meets labor market and growth needs,” they state.”Higher education also fulfills a diplomatic and cultural missionlike no other form of trade. It diffuses the best of the US’svalues across the world, strengthens the US’s image andinternational position and creates personal relationships which areever so important in stabilizing the world’s global order.”

For access to the Brief, see: http://cshe.berkeley.edu/research/rugg/index.htm

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