Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Promoting outward mobility

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed a a running theme of comparing national policies on internationalisation.  This week: how both the UK and Japan are keen to increase outward student mobility.

In the UK recent weeks have continued the surge of interest in outward mobility, with the publication of the Riordan report and David Willetts' announcement of a successor to the Erasmus fee waiver (which will also cover Erasmus work placements and study outside the EU) and the possible establishment of a national mobility strategy for England and a body to co-ordinate it. (Scotland has, of course, had the Students Without Borders project in place for sometime.)

Japan, it seems is equally concerned about falling numbers of outwardly mobile students.  An article by Dr Yuriko Sato in the Academic Cooperation Association's newsletter gives details of recent Japanese government initiatives to encourage the internationalisation of Japanese universities and students.  These initiatives are well-funded while they last, but the author questions what will happen when the funding dries up.

That remains the crucial question for the UK too.  It's great to see funding committed to supporting students who are mobile through Erasmus and other schemes, but if we are to encourage real step-changes in the proportion of mobile UK students, any new national strategy will need some real resource behind it.