Washington, May 29, 2019 — NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the British Council have released a new “Shape of Global Higher Education” report, focusing on the Americas. This report, the latest in a series by the British Council analyzing the international higher education policy landscape, focused on Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the United States of America by examining education policies in each country and considering the level of support provided for international engagement in higher education. Final results of the survey were released at the NAFSA 2019 Annual Conference & Expo.
The in-depth research on the state of higher education around the world finds global education to be in a “hugely competitive environment.” Building on earlier British Council research focused primarily on European countries, this latest report shows six countries in the Americas ranked slightly lower on measures of internationalization compared to countries in Europe and East Asia, though Canada stands out for higher levels of international research collaboration. In Canada and the United States, the lower internationalization scores are at least partially due to the decentralization of the higher education systems. Unlike countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, the United States does not currently have stated targets for internationalization as part of a national recruitment strategy. While there is a strong drive to attract more international students, the lack of a cohesive national policy suggests the internationalization score is unlikely to rise without federal policy changes as each institution approaches global education differently.
While inbound mobility is more predominant in the United States and Canada, the four Latin American countries in this study have developed national policies primarily for outbound mobility. The Latin American countries studied experience difficulty recruiting international students due to their limited number of highly-ranked institutions, as well as the lack of courses available in English. Looking ahead, these countries could develop into regional hubs for international higher education in Spanish, particularly as universities in these Latin American countries will need to serve as economic drivers. There is incentive to further attract international students, as the overall “Shape of Global Higher Education” series has found a strong positive relationship between inbound international student mobility flows and internationally produced research output from that country.
“NAFSA: Association of International Educators is pleased to collaborate with the British Council to present this latest report in the “Shape of Global Higher Education” research series, which focuses on the Americas,” said NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Esther D. Brimmer. “Considering such important elements of international higher education as student mobility, transnational education, and international research collaboration provides useful insights into current conditions. We believe that this research will be valuable in informing higher education institutions and national policymakers as well as further supporting engagement in international higher education across the globe.”
“The British Council in the USA is delighted to partner with NAFSA on the launch of this additional, Americas-focused, report from the “Shape of Global Higher Education” series,” commented Alison Corbett, Head of Education Programmes for British Council USA. “The conclusions provide evidence to support what many of us already believe: That there is a positive relationship between both inbound student mobility rate and the wealth of a country and also inbound international student flows and the output of high quality internationally produced research. Results vary, of course, between all six countries studied for a myriad of reasons but the overall findings point to strong and mutually-beneficial reasons for countries to support student mobility and researcher collaboration.”
About NAFSA: With more than 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Visit us at www.nafsa.org/press. To learn more about our advocacy efforts on behalf of international education, visit www.ConnectingOurWorld.org and @ConnectOurWorld on Twitter.