23 SES 05 B, Globalisation, Europeanisation and Higher Education Reforms
Responses of Higher Education to globalization have been versions of internationalization, taking different forms in different institutions (Knight, 2004). Higher Education institutions (HEIs) in Europe, working towards the construction and consolidation of the European Higher Education Area, are expected to promote an international dimension in their practices and to increase effective academic staff and student mobility. These are deemed to be essential constituents of their European outlook. The challenges of internationalization and mobility bring up the issue of linguistic competency, as this is closely linked to both processes (Altbach , 2004). The language issue, however, is rarely addressed directly and the English language appears to be widely adopted, stabilized as the “contact language” (Brumfit, 2001) of the academia (Coleman, 2006).
Within Greek HEIs, a recently introduced reform law (Law 4009/2011) and the actions taken for its implementation have increased the importance of mobility and internationalization. Amidst a severe economic crisis, HEIs are expected, if not forced, to introduce reforms in line with a neo-liberal understanding of their mission and practices of performativity. As knowledge institutions they are assumed to operate successfully in a highly competitive global environment (Robertson & Dale, 2008; Seddon & Levin, 2013). Pressures for change were mainly exerted by the development of the national quality assurance and accreditation system. The Hellenic Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (H.Q.A.), an independent and specialised agent supervised by the Ministry of Education, coordinated internal and external evaluations of the HEIs. The first cycle of evaluations was finally completed in 2014. The documents produced, accessible from the H.Q.A. and the institutions’ websites, provide representations of the institutions’ standings based on criteria derived from global standards for productivity, competitiveness and accountability.
In this context, the English language appears to be crucial in two respects. First, as an issue related to the language of communication between the evaluation committees, constituted by experts from abroad, and the departments of Higher Education. It is worth noting that the external evaluation reports were written in English. Second, language and its role in teaching, research and publications, as well as in staff and student mobility, was highlighted as an issue of concern.
In this paper, we argue that the discourse articulated by the processes of evaluation and quality assurance mediates the global discourse on higher education with reference to language-related issues that are brought into focus through internationalization and mobility practices. Evaluative criteria constitute the regulative dimension exerting control over processes of knowledge recontextualisation and pedagogic communication, as internationalization, mobility and language use are transformed from hitherto marginal issues into practices that are subjected to performance measurement. Language related knowledge is thus redefined and boundaries are redrawn around legitimate pedagogic practices, teaching methods and academic identities- for students and teaching staff (Bernstein, 2000, Sarakinioti et al., 2011). It is in such spaces, where meaning making becomes a complex process, that power and control relations are reproduced, challenged or changed (Singh et al, 2013). Moreover, internationalization and mobility, signifiers of a European/international identity, are being transformed into sites of concern and regulation for HEIs, changing what constitutes legitimate foreign language knowledge and use. Drawing on Foucault-inspired literature on governmental practices in education (Ball, 2013) and Bernstein’s (1990, 2000) theory of pedagogic discourse, this study aims to comprehend global regulative processes and the ‘pedagogising’ dynamics that come into play in specific local institutional sites.
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