HEA and British Council promote international mobility for students

  • Date: 13-11-2012

A new report launched today by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the British Council calls on UK universities to commit to securing 20% participation in mobility among all higher education students by 2020.

The report, Going Mobile: Internationalisation, mobility and the European Higher Education Area, highlights challenges to and opportunities for UK universities in achieving the 2009 Leuven 20/2020 commitment. Currently only around 2% of UK undergraduates engage in study or workplace mobility of at least three months.

The report’s author, Simon Sweeney, Lecturer in International Political Economy and Business in the York Management School and a member of the Bologna Expert Team (both at University of York), describes the report as uncompromising in its calling for, “a much greater effort from our universities to ensure that internationalisation strategies are driven by educational imperatives rather than dictated by economic ends.” Sweeney also offers proposals for how the situation can be improved.

The report Going Mobile gives a summary of the general approach to internationalisation and then focuses on analysis of student and staff opportunities for mobility, ending with useful guidance on what institutions can do to increase participation and extol the virtues of mobility, including changing perceptions and removing barriers.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Chief Executive at the HEA, who has first-hand experience of the life-changing nature of international education experience, explains: “Going Mobile gives useful guidance on what can be done to increase participation and extol the virtues of student mobility. I hope that the UK higher education system will take the opportunity to move from spectator status in relation to European initiatives like the Bologna process and Erasmus for All and become a leading national supporter of student-centred tertiary education experience which helps build graduate attributes creating attractive employees who are more worldly, more aware and more grounded.”

Dr Jo Beall, Director, Education and Society at the British Council, adds: “Students returning from work and study overseas report increased self-confidence, independence and an ability to communicate across cultures. The British Council aims to support the efforts of UK universities to develop outward mobility as an essential part of their internationalisation strategies.”

To help put the report into practice, Going Mobile will be supported with two workshops: 8 January 2013 (York) and 6 June 2013 (Bristol). Online booking for both workshops will be available from the HEA website.

Going Mobile: Internationalisation, mobility and the European Higher Education Area can be read here on the HEA website.