The impact of globalisation on international higher education at institutional and national level

Essay, 2017

21 Pages, Grade: 2,3


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. Defining Globalisation

3. Impacts of Globalisation on international Higher Education
3.2 The beginning of Globalisation and its historical impact on Higher Education
3.1 GATS and Higher Education
3.3 The negative side of the impacts of Globalisation
3.4 International student mobility and program mobility

4. The European perspective: Europeanisation of Higher Education
4.1 The policy convergence and the Bologna process and after
4.2 Student mobility: the example of ERASMUS
4.3 Staff mobility for teaching
4.4 Connections between Europeanisation and Globalisation

5. The institutional level: Example of the Georg August University Goettingen
5.1 Strategy of Internationalisation at Georg August University Goettingen
5.2 Internationalisation of the Curriculum
5.3 Current international students at the University of Goettingen

6. Conclusion


1. Introduction

Globalisation is all around in today´s society. Everyday someone in the world is using a reference to global markets, threats, environment etc. in conversations between academic persons, advertisers, politicians and so on (Scholte, 2005). The process of Globalisation influenced a lot of people and areas around the world. One area is Higher Education and especially the institutions of Higher Education. Researching the impacts of globalisation on education is an ongoing process in the field of international Higher Education. Globalisation is a challenge for Universities and other institutions around the world that is growing and growing. It does not only bring positive aspects and opportunities to the field of Higher Education, it also carries a lot of concerns within Higher Education institutions (Duderstadt, Taggart and Weber, 2008).

Firstly, this essay will give some definitions of the term Globalisation and review different interpretations of what Globalisation is about. Secondly this essay will explore the different impacts and effects of Globalisation on Higher Education and especially Higher Education institutions nationally and internationally. Next our focus will turn to Europeanisation. Finally, we will explore the institutional level with the example of the Georg-August-University Goettingen.

2. Defining Globalisation

For this essay, it is necessary to provide a working definition of the term Globalisation. There are multiple definitions of the term Globalisation and I will give a general overview of this term. Globalisation is defined as “an ongoing process of the flow of capital, information, labour, technology, and goods across national boundaries to form an interconnected global economy. One important feature of recent economic globalisation is financialisation, in which financial instruments are used to facilitate the exchange of goods and services beyond geographic constraints. There are three aspects of globalisation: economic globalisation, political globalisation, and cultural globalisation.” (Wu, 2012). In the last more or less 50 years’ Globalisation had an influence on the world. It includes the increase of homogenous consumer tastes, the extension of corporate power and the expansion of the gap between wealth and poverty (Guttal, 2007).

There is a wide range of opinions on the powers, origins and nature of Globalisation. Some claim that it is a natural result of economic, technological and scientific development and that it cannot be reversed (Guttal, 2007). Others argue that Globalisation is controlled by the desire for material wealth. Capitalism is providing an ideology and a useable framework for it. For them Globalisation is originated in at least the industrial revolution in Europe and it is seen as a capitalist process (Guttal, 2007). Willem H. Buiter (2001), argues that “it affects virtually every nation or region in the world. The phenomenon is driven, first, by technological advances reducing the cost of transportation, mobility and communication, and second, by deliberate political decisions to reduce or even to eliminate man-made barriers to international mobility.”

In this essay the working definition of Globalisation is a combination of the previously mentioned definitions: Globalisation is an ongoing process which includes the innovations and developments in technology, economic, politics, information etc. It opened the possibility for mobility and cheap transportation and enabled to cross the national borders.

3. Impacts of Globalisation on international Higher Education

In the past centuries, Globalisation effected the Higher Education system in various ways. In the next chapter I will explore some of the main impacts Globalisation had on Higher Education.

3.2 The beginning of Globalisation and its historical impact on Higher Education

The concept of Globalisation can be traced back to 500 years ago, when the capitalist world economy started and since that time there was a cycle of beginning, a cycle of development and today there is a cycle of crisis (Wallerstein, 2000). But on-going from the year 1945 there is “a typical Kondratieff cycle of the capitalist economy, which has had as always two parts: an A-phase or upward swing or economic expansion that went from 1945 to 1967–73, and a B-phase or downward swing or economic contraction that has been going from 1967–73 to today and probably will continue on for several more years.” (Wallerstein, 2000).

Ever since universities were established they were seen as global institutions regarding the common language which was Latin by the time they were founded. Additionally, they were meant to teach an international variety of students as well as the professors who came from different countries (Altbach, 2004).

In today’s world, almost every global university has the structure of the historical model of the medieval European university. Even the rest of the world, which doesn’t belong to the western part, has adapted the European University model. Especially the way of teaching and the elementary structure of the institution has been adjusted by the non-western countries (Altbach, 2004).

For example, the American University exists out of different international influences. The colonial model, originally from England, related to the German model of a research University. Combined with the idea of the service to society, which has its historical roots in America, forms today’s model of the American University. Globalisation also had an impact on the main language that is spoken in the Higher Education system. In the beginning, it was Latin that dominated the universities worldwide and at some point, it was German that ruled. In today’s field of Higher Education, English is the language that dominates the most (Altbach, 2004).

There are huge developments of society and science in Higher Education. Today`s Universities are different to the Universities from a century ago. Ever since, the amount of students became twice or triple as much as it was 100 years ago. Additionally, students are not defined by social groups anymore and they do not have to follow predetermined careers. There are also new institutions, which do not have the typical characteristics of a traditional Higher Education institution. Furthermore, there have been innovations in subjects, the curriculum, teaching and learning technologies (Scott, 2000).

Globalisation has an impact on education and through that education undergoes constant changes. There have been huge developments in technology and communications which effects the learning systems worldwide. The innovation in knowledge, ideas and values are changing the roles of students and teachers as well as constructing a transformation from industrialisation to a society which is information-based (Chinnammai, 2005).

3.1 GATS and Higher Education

The GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) was introduced in 1995 by the WTO (World Trade Organisation) and is a set of rules for international trade in services (Knight, 2002).

Knight (2002), argues that “the demand for higher and adult education, especially professionally related courses and non-traditional delivery modes, is increasing in most countries. This is due to: the growth of the knowledge economy, movement to lifelong learning and changing demographics. While demand is growing, the capacity of the public sector to satisfy the demand is being challenged. This is due to budget limitations, the changing role of government, and increased emphasis on market economy and privatization.”

The GATS has impacts on Higher Education, for example, the mobility of professionals is regulated through the Agreement. This is effecting the service sectors because Higher Education is organising training programs to fulfil the needs of the economy. The lack of teachers in some countries has started the effort to win foreign professionals. But the problem is, that most teachers and researchers likely go to countries with better work circumstances and higher earnings. This will cause that developed countries will be more profited than others (Knight, 2002).

There are four modes in which trade happens in education:

- “1. Cross-border Supply – The provision of a service where the service crosses the border (excludes the physical movement of the consumer). Examples in Higher Education: distance education, e-learning, virtual universities
- 2. Consumption Abroad - The provision of a service where the consumer moves to the country of the supplier. Examples in Higher Education: students who go to another country to study
- 3. Commercial Presence - The provision of a service where the provider establishes, or has presence in, commercial facilities in another country in order to render service. Examples in Higher Education: local branch or satellite campuses, twinning partnerships, franchising arrangements with local institutions.
- 4. Presence of Natural Persons - The provision of a service where people travel to another country on a temporary basis to provide the service. Examples in Higher Education: professors, teachers, researchers working abroad.” (Knight, 2006)

3.3 The negative side of the impacts of Globalisation

Globalisation has not only brought positive effects to international Higher Education but also negative side effects. For example, Universities that completely ignored Globalisation and excluded themselves from economic and societal innovations had a lot of difficulties and challenges to overcome and that raised the inequalities in education which exist in today’s Higher Education system. Especially focussing on developing countries and on smaller academic systems, is widening the area of inequality. This is because of the Universities which are seen as powerful, they rule the making of knowledge and the distribution of it. Meanwhile the less powerful Universities which have for example fewer resources and lower academic standards than other Universities just follow the more powerful institutions. An additional advantage for the powerful Universities is that they use one of the top languages: English (Altbach, 2004).

Furthermore, in today´s world it is harder to get the status of a big player in international Higher Education because now it requires a lot of resources for Research Universities and for example in the scientific research field, Universities should invest a lot of money in laboratory endowments. Additionally, there are costs like internet, technology, library (Altbach, 2004). For universities in countries that do not have the financial capital to afford these, it is barely possible to get on the list of powerful Universities. The Universities and other institutions in western countries are open for new technologies whilst the developing countries cannot cope with it. They are not strong enough to embrace the new technologies in their educational program due to a shortage of infrastructure and financial resources. This is a paradox since the developing countries try to engage their citizens into aspiring more education while the provision of basic services is limited (Altbach, 2004).

Robertson (2010) argues that there are “five key challenges which have followed: (i) widening access whilst managing aspirations and the loss of value of credentials given the positional good nature of higher education credentials; (ii) the pedagogical challenges inherent in massification, a focus on competencies, entrepreneurship, and relevance to industry, whilst ensuring the development of ‘critical’ future citizens; (iii) the pressure to engage in regionalising and globalising higher education projects as solutions to problems (internal governance issues; sustainability issues; global challenges) whilst ensuring local relevance, managing charges of imperialism and the valorisation of the regional and the global over the national interest; (iv) the rapidly growing role of the (transnational) for-profit sector in delivering components of higher education provision and issues of quality and accountability; (v) the changing role of the public intellectual and production of public knowledge in universities, in the face of increased private sector activity, the role universities in commercial activity (consultancy, IP, consumer led provision).”

3.4 International student mobility and program mobility

The leading embodiment of cross-border Higher Education is the international student mobility. Three million students went abroad in 2007, which is three times higher than three decades ago. Around 85 percent of the students are going abroad to the OECD countries but around 2.5 million students are from non OECD states. In 1998, when the Bologna process started, students from Asia were the only students who were disaffected to study in Europe. Around 49 percent of Asian students went to North America whereas just 28 percent went to Europe. A lot of countries had a significant increase in the mobility of students, for example Australia which became number five in the top countries hosting students from abroad (Vincent-Lakrin, 2009).

The second main form of cross-border Higher Education is the program mobility. Students participate in a Higher Education course from a foreign Higher Education institution while staying in their home country. These innovations signalized the start of the transformation of Higher Education in the long-run. Program mobility includes a distance education, which can be accessed in the form of e-learning or internet training. It can be accomplished by face to face sessions in partner institutions. Partnerships between Higher Education institutions, with the basis of a not for profit cooperation, are the usual and most popular shapes of the program mobility from Higher Education institutions. (Vincent-Lakrin, 2009)

In Conclusion, Higher Education has gone through a lot of changes in the past centuries and a main rationale for that was Globalisation. For example, the modern University exists out of characteristics from different countries of the world and developed a lot since the last 100 years regarding to science and society. Furthermore, there have been innovations through Globalisation in the curricula, subjects, learning and teaching technologies. A massive outcome of Globalisation was the opening of the borders, which cleared the way for student mobility and program mobility. The number of students who went abroad to study is three times higher than it was 30 years ago. Additionally, it is now possible to take courses in a foreign Higher Education institution without leaving the home country. But there are also some challenges Globalisation brought to the Higher Education system. For example, the inequalities grow steadily with the powerful Universities gaining more power and the Universities with fewer resources fell behind. Through the massification, the Universities are challenged with pedagogical issues and quality insurance.


Excerpt out of 21 pages


The impact of globalisation on international higher education at institutional and national level
University College London  (Institute of Education)
Innovation and Change in Higher and Professional Education
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
Globalisation, Higher Education, Education, Impact, Institutional, National, Student Mobility, Erasmus
Quote paper
Laura Kirchhoff (Author), 2017, The impact of globalisation on international higher education at institutional and national level, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: The impact of globalisation on international higher education at institutional and national level

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free