ERG SES H 02, Mobility and Education
International higher education mobility is a rapidly growing phenomenon with 4.1 million students seeking education outside their home country in 2010. This number represents a double increase since 2000. The reasons that can explain this rapid growth seem to include factors such as job potential: studying abroad helps a person to cope more successfully with increasing international dimensions at work and helps with career enhancement in general (Teichler, 2007). It also helps to improve international competences, enabling former students to be placed in visible international professional positions (Bracht et al., 2006) and increases the probability of a person working abroad later in life (Parey & Waldinger, 2007).
Based on the definitions of international academic mobility (IAM) offered by different scholars and organizations (Teichler 1998; UNESCO 2001, 2006; Murphy-Lejeune 2002; Harvey 2009), some related characteristics can be generalized:
1) crossing boarders; 2) for the purpose of study or research; 3) for a limited period; 4) a form of internationalization of education; 5) either within programs or independently; 6) a multi-faceted progress of personal improvement. In order to understand the nature of what factors influence IAM, various strands of literature are conducted from economic perspective. For example, human capital theory of education is provided for relevant research (e.g. Becker, 1964; Freeman, 1986). In this perspective, individuals consider education as an investment decision with education directly increasing their human capital. Students will bear the costs of higher education abroad. Then Altbach (1998) presented a pull-push model for international academic mobility. This model has become a basic theory in this field. Push factors operate within the home country initiating the student’s decision to study overseas. Pull factors operate within the host country to make that country relatively more attractive than other potential destinations.
Centering around these theories, some determinants of choice of IAM were identified. Based on a study of 5 countries:UK,Germany,France,SwedenandGreece, West et al. (2001) identified some main barriers inhibiting student mobility. Among them there are language barriers, finance (student fees, availability of loans or grants), problems gaining employment whilst studying, gaining a residence permit, cultural barriers. Findlay et al. (2006) conducted a survey with UK students and concluded that finance and language serve as main barriers to mobility. A research by Liu and Wang (2008) suggests that that tuition fees, US federal support of education, and the size of the ‘young’ generation of source countries have a significant influence on international student mobility. Rodríguez González et al. (2011) study the determinants of Erasmus student flows within Europe, and find that HEIs belonging to the TOP 200Shanghaiquality ranking universities represents a significant pull factor and the cost of living differences and distance are relevant when explaining mobility. Another main finding of the study is that the educational background of a family plays an important role in final decision.
In spite of the fact that China is the largest source country for international students, relevant empirical research focusing on international mobility of Chinese higher education students and staff and the factors that influence their IAM seems to be lacking. This research investigates the factors affecting the international mobility of Chinese university students and staff. The research questions are 1) To what extent do the pull and push factors influence the IAM of students and academic staff in the Chinese higher education context? 2) Which of the factors are favorable pull factors, unfavorable pull factors, favorable push factors and unfavorable push factors, and what is their relationship with IAM?
Becker, G. (1964). Human Capital, New York: Columbia University Press. Bracht, O., Engel, C., Janson, K., Over, A., Schomburg, A., & Teichler, U. (2006).The professional value of Erasmus mobility. Kassel, Germany: International Centre for Higher Education Research, University of Kassel. Findlay, A., King, R., Stam, A., & Ruiz-Gelices, E. (2006). The changing geographies of UK students studying and working abroad. European Urban and Regional Studies, 13(4), 291–318. Freeman, R. (1986). Demand for Education. In Ashenfelter, O. and Layard, R. (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, vol.1, Elsevier, the Netherlands. Harvey, L., (2009). Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International. URL: //www. quality research international. Com/ glossary. Liu, D., & Wang, J. (2008). The determinants of international student mobility: An empirical study on US data .Hogskolan Dalarna: Master Thesis. Murphy-Lejeune, E., (2002). Student Mobility and Narrative in Europe: the New Strangers. London: Taylor and Francis Group, pp: 75. Parey, M., & Waldinger, F. (2007). Studying abroad and the effect on international labour market mobility. London: Centre for the Economics of Education, London School of Economics. Rodríguez González, C., R. Bustillo Mesanza and P. Mariel. (2011). The Determinants of International Student Mobility Flows: An Empirical Study of the Erasmus Programme. Higher Education, 62(4), 413-430 Teichler, U. (1998). Academic Mobility in a Changing World: Regional and Global Trends. Eds., Peggy Blumenthal, Crauford Gondwin, Alan Smith and Ulrich Teicher. London and Bristol, Pennsylvania. Jessika Kingsley Publisher, 1998, pp: 365 Teichler, U. (2007). International dimensions of higher education and graduate employment, REFLEX report. REFLEX, The flexible professional in the knowledge society. New demands on higher, project supported by the VI framework programme of the EU, 199–220. UNESCO (2001) Education Studying Abroad. URL:http://www.unesco.co.org/education/studyingabroad/what_is/mobility.shrml. UNESCO. (2006). Global Education Digest 2006, UIS, Montreal, Canada, URL: http://www.uis.unesco.org/TEMPLATE/pdf/ged/2006/GED2006.pdf. Last accessed 15 May 2007. West A. et al. (2001). Higher Education Admissions and Student Mobility within the EU. Centre for Educational Research. Clare Market Papers No. 18. London. UK.
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