By Alma Dzib Goodin & Dolores Luna Hogan
Some months ago we interviewed to an English professor and he said the only thing that he would change about higher education in his country was current education should teach more life skills. His reply caused me a bit of confusion, but when asked the same question to a Spanish professor, he said that higher education in Spain would have to be more adaptable to the needs of graduates.
Higher education with not academic plans, or centered on research and scientific application seemed to have no sense in traditional thinking, but the point that did change this trend is the competitiveness. This aspect is widely exposed by Newman, Couturier and Scurry (2004) who argue that the future of higher education must be oriented to the market system, whose goal is to create competitive skills that allow students to have better job opportunities in the future and that graduates continue learning to adapt to the needs of environment.
However, these requirements, should not be in the immediate context, but in a broader perspective as evidenced by the European model which seeks the intensification of worldwide competition, focused on the knowledge societies which takes as its basis the ambitious goals of the Bologna and Copenhagen processes for vocational training (Powell, Bernhard and Graf 2012).
This global competitiveness opens a new business perspective, directly related to higher education in the context of economic trends. Graduates have job opportunities in other parts of the world, attracted by the international markets, with the involvement of the need for a multicultural vision.
In this respect educational internalization, includes policies and practices that quickly become a premise in the academic and institutional systems and of course becomes a need for the graduates and the companies that strive to have the best talent with them. At this sense the primary motivation for developing skills and programs aimed at the internationalization includes commercial advantages, knowledge of first level and of course, a good dose of foreign language (Altbach and Knight, 2007).
One of the lines that more have been used to support the competitive processes is extracurricular courses that help graduates adapt to the working environments, these courses are offered at a personal or business level to complement, rectify or implement skills or knowledge that were not acquired during the studies. In this sense, the courses focus on self-directed learning, transformational and self-development (Merriam, Caffarella and Baumgartner, 2007).
China is one of the best examples, Chinese Higher Education has expanded its educational networks, being third place in scientific production, research and development (Scientific American Editors, 2012) and the country with better and clearer plans and goals on the issue of globalization and internationalization (Altbach & Wang, 2012).
However the Chinese example has not been followed up by many countries, except perhaps India and Brazil, you have followed such a course. The United Kingdom begins to create exchanges with China but not follow uniform patterns, in part because the labor market has not been understood, as Li & Roberts (2012) studies suggest, the access to networks of high level in China determines the development of better level of commitments that begins to open the doors to the graduates of China in other countries.
The goal, from this perspective, is creating plans and programs of higher education beyond the walls of institutions, if they want to promote the development of the population, higher education has to understand the labor market and gaze in other territories driving consistent with reality market policies that allow the increase in migration flows with high level expert fields that begin to be created or which are consolidated with international work. Finally, we live in a globalized world.
Altbach, P. & Wang, Q. (2012) Can China keep rising?. Scientific American. 307 (4) 46-47.
Altbach, P., and Knight, J. (2007) The internalization of Higher Education: motivations and realities. Journal of Studies in International Education. 11 (3) 290-305.
Li, X., & Roberts, J. (2012) A stages approach to the internationalization of higher education? The entry of UK universities into China. The Service Industries Journal. 32 (7) 1011-1038.
Merriam, SB., Caffarella, RS., Baumgartner, LM. (2007) Learning in adulthood. A comprehensive guide. John Wiley & Sons. Inc. USA.
Newman, F., Couturier, L., Scurry, J. (2004) The Future of Higher Education: Rhetoric, reality, and the risk of the market. John Wiley & Sons, USA.
Powell, J., Bernhard, N., and Graf, N. (2012) The emergent European model in skill formation. Comparing Higher Education and vocational training in the Bologna and Copenhagen processes. Sociology of Education. 85 (3) 240-258.
Scientific American Editor (2012) The world’s best countries in science. Scientific American. 307 (4) 44-45.