Post four: The region and the international context
In our final post of the CHEPS blog series we will talk about internationalisation, which received little attention in the Strategic Agenda. The minister encourages the institutions to continue to invest in some “familiar” internationalisation issues to promote incoming and outgoing mobility like:
- The promotion of the international orientation of students in the curriculum and contacts between international and Dutch students
- Fitting a mobility window in the curriculum
- Provision of information on mobility
- Continuing and expanding (new) financial resources such as the Holland Scholarship (Strategic Agenda 2015, p. 31)
In itself it is not surprising that internationalisation is discussed less: the minister has indeed expressed her vision of internationalisation in a Letter on Internationalisation to the Dutch Parliament, but how that vision is related to the other policy issues that are central to the Strategic Agenda has not been elaborated.
The Strategic Agenda relates on a number of issues that are on the agenda in other countries as well. In many countries, higher education is struggling with the question of how the quality of education and its graduates can be kept up to the standard of the rapidly growing higher education systems, with the (relatively) shrinking budgets. Although study success is not as such on the agenda, there is the notion that international targets set for the leading knowledge-based economy can only be achieved if attention is paid to increasing study success. A nearly completed study of CHEPS for the European Commission (the HEDOCE study) illustrates the policy on study success and its impact in 35 European countries and states that educational quality and student success is also high up on the agenda elsewhere.
The commonly held view that the focus on regional and international aspects of higher education often exclude each other seems to be a misconception. Especially in this Strategic Agenda, were enriching the learning-environment is a key factor for study success. In all aspects of the enrichment of this learning environment (through the contents of the programme, the contact with the environment through internships, guest lecturers etc., and the facilitation of contacts and networks through the institution) can be implemented by the region itself and abroad. However, the regional aspects of higher education seems to be overrepresented in the Strategic Agenda (see Chapter 4 of the Strategic Agenda).