22 SES 11 C, Troubling Mobilities in Higher Education
This symposium is based on a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation project Higher Education Internationalisation and Mobility: Inclusions, Equalities and Innovations (HEIM). The project is a partnership between the University of Sussex, UK, Umeå University, Sweden, Seville University, Spain and the Roma Education Fund, Budapest. It investigates how principles of equity and inclusion can be applied to internationalisation strategies and programmes in higher education (HE) and how research and innovation capacity in this field can be developed. Internationalisation is a dominant policy discourse in HE but is often presented as a disembodied process, paying scant attention to how equity, identity and inclusion interact with mobility and opportunity structures (Ackers, 2008: Barrett et al. 2014). Yet mobility is always located and materialised (Hekman, 2010).
HEIM focuses on the Roma community in Europe as a critical example of a marginalised group, at both staff and student levels. The Roma Community is a transnational group who are amongst the most excluded people within Europe lacking opportunities for social and educational mobility (Greenberg, 2010).
Internationalisation is a dominant strand of thinking about the future of HE – linked to economic growth, prosperity and sustainability (Altbach, 2013). There has been a discursive shift from internationalisation as student recruitment to the more recent emphasis on partnerships, mobilities and soft power (Grant, 2013). Multilateralism, mobility and alliance strategies are thought to widen reach, extend brands and enhance innovation and employability. The value of HE increases via international partnerships and collaborations (COM, 2013). Mobility plays a central role in internationalisation.. It is both a mechanism driving a shift towards a global knowledge economy and the fulfillment of personal aspirations. Students, programmes, providers and academics are on the move. However, Robertson (2010; 646) suggests that ‘the romance of movement and mobility ought to be the first clue that this is something we ought to be particularly curious about.’
It is pertinent to inquire if access to mobilityand the international opportunity structures are dominated by the elite, and hence reproductive of traditional social hierarchies, or whether they present new forms of capacity building, networking and solidarity for marginalised groups. A recent survey of more than 1,300 institutions worldwide by the International Association of Universities has identified as the biggest institutional risk of internationalisation that it primarily benefits wealthier students, and the most significant societal risk as the growing commercialisation of higher education (IAU, 2014).
Symposium papers reflect diverse questions about mobilities posed by experienced and newer researchers and activists. Drawing on the new mobilities paradigm (Sheller and Urry, 2006), Louise Morley and John Pryor offer a theoretical overview of policy discourses and material realities of internationalisation in higher education. A focus is whether internationalisation policies, practices and opportunity structures overlap or collide with equality and diversity in higher education. Issues in this paper are picked up and discussed more specifically with respect to the Roma in the following papers. Nafsika Alexiadou & Anders Norberg present a critical policy analysis of texts and practices in the European Union to promote Roma participation in higher education. Stela Garaz discusses research conducted by her organisation, the Roma Education Fund in Eastern Europe; on Roma students’ decision-making about what to study in higher education and whether their choices enhance or restrict their transitions to the labour market, and social mobility. Tanja Jovanovic presents interim finings from her PhD study on Roma access to higher education in Serbia. In so doing, she draws on Ahmed’s (2012) theories of difference as explanatory power for identifying enablers and barriers.
Ackers, L. (2008). Internationalisation, Mobility and Metrics: A New Form of Indirect Discrimination? Minerva 46:411–435 Ahmed, S. (2012). On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham: Duke University Press. Altbach, P. (2013). The International Imperative in Higher Education. Rotterdam: SensePublishers. Barrett, A.M. Crossley, M. & Fon, T. F. (2014). North-South Research Partnerships in Higher Education: perspectives from South and North. In, Streitwieser, B. (ed) Internationalisation of Higher Education and Global Mobility. Oxford: Symposium Books, 59-71. COM (2013). 499 final. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. European Higher Education in the World. European Commission, Brussels. Grant, C. (2013). Losing our Chains? Contexts and Ethics of University Internationalisation. London, Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. Greenberg, J. (2010) "Report on Roma education today: From slavery to segregation and beyond." Columbia Law Review 919-1001. Hekman, S. (2010). The Material of Knowledge: Feminist Disclosures. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. International Association of Universities (IAU) (2014). Global Survey. http://www.iau-aiu.net/content/order-your-copy-now-internationalization-higher-education-growing-expectations-fundamental-v Accessed 27 January, 2015. Robertson, S. (2010). Critical response to Special Section: international academic mobility. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 31 (5), 641-647. Sheller M. & Urry, J. (2006). The new mobilities paradigm. Environment and Planning 38 (2), 207–226.
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