How international are universities really?

Nieuws | de redactie
9 april 2013 | For most universities internationalisation equals ‘attracting students from abroad’. Moreover the role of MOOCs needs to be clarified, say institutions surveyed by te European University Association (EUA).

Over 400 university leaders and representatives from the higher education sector will come together from 11-12 April for the EUA’s annual conference, hosted by Ghent University in Belgium, discussing ‘global engagement’.

The survey revealed that:

  • 99% of institutions that replied either have an internationalisation strategy in place (56%), intend to develop one (13%), or have considered internationalisation in other strategies (30%). Such strategies have a significant impact on universities’ international activities: particularly on developing new partnerships with new regions and countries (73%), sending more students abroad (72%), growing the international student population (68%), offering international opportunities to staff (67%), offering more courses in English (67%) and developing double and joint degrees (61%).
  • ‘Attracting students from abroad’ was the most frequently chosen as the top priority (30%) followed by ‘internationalisation of learning and teaching’ (19%), ‘providing our students with more opportunities to have a learning experience abroad’ (12%) and ‘strategic research partnerships’ (10%).

EUA Internationalisation

  • Universities have positive expectations regarding the forthcoming EU internationalisation strategy for HE. 57% thought it could help to convince leadership and colleagues about the urgent need to put more emphasis on internationalisation while 56% thought it “might inform and guide our own strategic development”.
  • When asked for suggestions for EUA’s future work in the area of internationalisation, the promotion of funding opportunities figured top of the list, followed by good practice exchange at workshops, and contribution to strategy development.

More MOOC-information needed

The survey also revealed that up till now MOOCs are not often discussed in HE institutions. The survey highlighted that while 58% of the respondents had heard about MOOCs, only 33% could confirm that they had already been an issue of discussion in their institution. Earlier EUA produced a paper on the topic.

The question of whether MOOCs should be further developed in Europe was answered positively by almost half (44%) of the respondents, and while only a few answered negatively, a relatively large group (48%) had no clear opinion on the issue. This seems also to confirm the need for further information on this issue, which has been clearly stated by 88% of respondents.


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