Department of Education

SIHE

The Swedish Centre for Studies of the Internationalisation of Higher Education

Opinion Piece Based on Study

Based on the findings in a study of the participants in a government funded scholarship programme for international students published by DELMI, Andreas Åkerlund draws the conclusion that the programme mainly serves the purpose of public diplomacy, while it has a very weak connection to the Swedish labour market.

Only a quarter of the participants remained in Sweden, while half of them returned to their home country. For the rest, Sweden became a stepping stone from which they moved on, mainly to other Western European countries or the United States.

The article in Swedish can be found here.

DELMI Report on Academic Mobility

Andreas Åkerlund and Astrid Collsiöö have together with Professor Mikael Börjesson at SIHE authored a report now published by the government agency The Migration Studies Delegation (DELMI). The aim of the study was to investigate the composition and migration trajectories of participants in a government funded scholarship programme for international students over time, and to explore their motives, experiences and later connections to Sweden.

Two of the main findings are that the composition of the student group in terms of origin and study subject has been heavily influenced by the political aims with the scholarship programme which have changed over time, and that a significant proportion of the students end up working in countries other than Sweden or their country of origin after their studies in Sweden.

The full report, including an English summary on page vii, can be found here.

SIHE at Kvalitetsdrivet

On April 18, Professor Mikael Börjesson held a keynote presentation at the conference Kvalitetsdrivet, organised by the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR). The topic of the talk was which students go abroad and which ones stay at home.

Mikael Börjesson's presentation in Swedish can be found here.

SIHE:s project coordinator Ashley Haru also presented results from a UHR-report on efforts to widen participation in higher education in Canada.

Ashley Haru's presentation in English can be found here.

The MOBILITY Project has been Granted Funding

We at SIHE are glad to announce that the project International Student Mobility: Drivers, Patterns, and Impacts, directed by Jannecke Wiers-Jenssen, has been granted funding from the Norwegian Research Council.

The main research questions of the MOBILITY project are:

·What are the drivers of student mobility to and from Norway? How are national and international policies, institutional strategies and practices, and market mechanisms interrelated?
·How are students’ preferences, practices, and outcomes shaped by background and contextual factors?
·What are the impacts of mobility, for students, graduates, and HEIs? To what extent are these in line with policy rationales and expectations?
·How are national and institutional strategies and aims for mobility implemented and experienced in teacher programmes?

The MOBILITY project is a cooperation between the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) and two units at Oslo and Akerhus College of Applied Sciences (HiOA): Centre for the Study of Professions (SPS) and Department of Public Administration and Leadership at the Faculty of Social Sciences. 

The Department of Education at Uppsala University serves as an international partner to the core researchers from NIFU and HiOA mentioned above as the department has an ongoing project on professional qualification in teacher education, financed by the Swedish Research Council. Emil Bertilsson will act as a core researcher in the area of ISM in teacher education, and Mikael Börjesson at SIHE will serve as a member of the advisory board along with other distinguished international experts such as Rachel Brooks (University of Surrey), Peter Maassen (University of Oslo), Christof van Mol (Tillburg University), Laura Rumbley (Boston College), and Jussi Välimaa (University of Jyväskylä).

The MOBILITY project is timely not only for the Norwegian context where this has both policy and practical relevance, but also for the international research community in this field, to further current analytical understandings of how one can conceptualise ISM beyond heuristics that map different rationales or push and pull factors, which have primarily had relevance for market driven systems.

SIHE at the MOVE Conference in Luxembourg

SIHE held two presentations at the MOVE Conference in Luxembourg, March 7–9 2018.

André Bryntesson (image below) presented the first SIHE-report, discussing the economic logic behind the Swedish tuition fee system for third country students.

Ashley Haru presented preliminary results from a geometric data analysis comparing the flows of Erasmus students with those of freemover students in the Erasmus-countries.

SIHE Report: The Economic Logic of the Swedish Tuition Fee System

Title: Det svenska studieavgiftssystemets ekonomiska logik. En kritisk diskussion
(The Economic Logic of the Swedish Tuition Fee System. A Critical Discussion)

Author: André Bryntesson

Since the autumn of 2011, free-mover students originating from outside the EU/EEA-area who study at Swedish higher education institutions have to pay tuition fees. These fees are generally set based on the average cost for tuition, plus expenses related to administration and universities' marketing abroad. The explicit goal of the system is mainly to maintain high levels of so-called third country students, while relieving Swedish tax payers from the economic burden of providing them with free education.

Based on this political goal, a new SIHE-report critically reviews some of the economic principles on which the level of fees are based, and claims that fees could potentially be set significantly lower if they were to be calculated differently.

Firstly, setting fees based on the marginal cost of providing tuition for an additional minority of international students, instead of the average cost of tuition for all students, would result in lower fee levels.

Secondly, tax revenue generated by the incoming students' expenses for accommodation and subsistence could be taken into account when setting fee levels.

Thirdly, if the high tax revenue generated by the minority of third country students who integrate into the Swedish labour market after graduation were also taken into account, the benefit of receiving international students may even outweigh the cost of providing the group as a whole with free tuition, based on estimates in previous studies. If the aim is for third country students as a collective to inflict no cost on Swedish tax payers, it is therefore possible that charging them for the tuition may be superfluous. Such long term effects are, however, much more complex to analyse and predict.

At the same time, the discussion casts doubt on whether the current tuition fee system also fulfils the hopes of a more quality-centred competition between Swedish and foreign universities, by removing the advantage of free tuition. The main problem here is not that fee levels could be set lower, but that they are already too low.

The fact that Swedish tuition fees are tied to the cost structure of the university instead of being a product of supply and demand means that there are two problems related to, in particular, more prestigious institutions. On the one hand, the choice to study in Sweden may still be based on economic considerations rather than on the perceived quality of teaching and research, since the Swedish tuition fees are still much lower than those of many foreign prestigious institutions. The fees thus fail to produce a quality-centred competition. On the other hand, some students may instead choose to study elsewhere since the lower fees in Sweden can easily be taken as an indication of inferior quality.

Read the full report [Swedish]

Opening Ceremony for SIHE

Inauguration

On Tuesday the 7th of November, Uppsala University's Vice Chancellor Eva Åkesson inaugurated the Swedish Centre for Studies of the Internationalisation of Higher Education (SIHE), in connection to the celebration of the ERASMUS-programme's 30th anniversary. The centre is intended to act as a node for research and analysis, both on a local, national and international level. It is also meant to be a platform for collaboration with external actors such as government agenices in posession of relevant data and in need of analytical expertise.

The opening ceremony was preceded by an internationalisation fair and a series of lectures on the internationalisation of higher education and opportunities for students to study abroad. Professor Mikael Börjesson, André Bryntesson and Ashley Haru, who make up the permanent staff at the centre, presented preliminary results from an ongoing research project on Swedish ERASMUS+-students in collaboration with the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR).

– Research on the internationalisation of education is for some reason lacking in Sweden, despite the intense efforts to internationalise Swedish universities and trying to make them attractive in the competition for international students. Much of the research that is conducted, however, stems from Uppsala University, and we also have collaborations with several government agencies dealing with the issue. Therefore it feels natural to gather this research and these collaborations within a more formal centre, says Mikael Börjesson, Professor in Sociology of Education and Scientific Leader at the new centre.