22 SES 10 D, Student Movement and Migration
The dominant pattern in the worldwide international students flow suggests that these students tend to move from economically developing or underdeveloped countries towards economically developed and Anglophone countries, which possess Anglosaxon higher education systems. This pattern of international students mobility resonates Altbach’s (1985; 2007; 2009) distinction between “periphery” and “center” countries in knowledge production and dissemination patterns. Altbach distinguished between center (typically industrialized and economically developed countries), and periphery (typically economically underdeveloped countries) and stated the need to disseminate research and knowledge production capacity across different countries. The dominance of industrialized and Western countries in knowledge production caused the dominance of the Western agencies (particularly Western universities) in knowledge production. Altbach (1985, p.109) wrote “The ‘central’ nations put control over the ‘peripheral’ nations through multinational publishing companies, major mass media purveyors, and even international copyright arrangements.” The dominance of the center in higher education has been verified by several recent developments in higher education. For example, key rankings such as THE, QS, indicates clear dominance of what Altbach (2007; 2009) labels as the “center” in the global mapping of higher education. The internationalization literature suggests that economic development, and as a consequence the prospects of finding a job and staying in the host country, quality of life and societal values (democracy, open society, human rights) and quality of higher education are the main factors contributing to the attractiveness of the countries in the center for study abroad. As a result, the main trend in the international student mobility is following an East-West axis in the world. This trend has been well documented and underlying reasons have been well analyzed in the literature of internationalization of higher education (e.g., Chen 2006; Chen & Barnett 2000; Li and Bray 2007; Marginson 2006; OECD 2009; Ziguras & Law 2006).
Global incidences in the last three decades and recent political and economic events (e.g., 9/11 and subsequent developments in the Middle East, economic growth of BRIC countries) seems to go hand in hand with the developments in higher education systems (Gopinathan & Altbach, 2005). These changes can be clearly observed in the trends and tendencies of the student mobility. In other words, although the main trends and tendencies in international student mobility is the same –that’s from Asian countries to economically developed, Anglophone, and Anglosaxon higher education systems – in the last 10 years, new centers of attraction in different parts of the world have emerged. The internationalization trend of developing countries have been recognized by Altbach and Knight (2007). Functioning as regional hubs, these countries possess typically different political, economic, cultural and educational features. These countries are not Anglophone (except for the Republic of South Africa), economically developing but typically leading their regions with economic development and political stability. Although these centers have been documents by several studies, there are seldom investigations on the rationales motivating international students to choose developing countries for study abroad. This study aims to investigate the drivers behind international students’ choice of Turkey –a non-Anglophone, economically developing, mediocre higher education system –for study abroad. The study will have some implications on explaining the drivers behind international student mobility towards developing countries. However, the main outcome of the study is a theoretical one in that it shows the limitations associated with Althbach’s periphery center dichotomy in the global mapping of higher education. As a result, the current study suggest that internationalization in higher education as represented by student mobility patterns extends Altbach’s framework and adds another level between the center and periphery.
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