On Developing Ethical Inter-Institutional Linkages

This is an exceptionally honest account in the CHE Worldwise [http://chronicle.com/blogs/worldwise/building-partnerships-in-an-unequal-world/29699?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en] – from the perspective of  the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of research, innovation, and advancement at the University of Johannesburg – of the practice of Western academic institutions seeking to further  internationalization of their campuses through partnerships with universities in the South or developing world.  He makes this statement:

...It is well known, for instance, that study-abroad partnerships are often unequal and defined largely by one-way traffic of students. They have essentially become a means for some universities in the Global South to supplement their inadequate resources, and run the risk of skewing expenditure away from immediate institutional needs. Should we be comfortable with this, or should we be collectively thinking about ways to make this an equitable experience from which all of our students can benefit?

And the answer is?  The thrust of the essay is about the often unequal manner in which representatives from Western institutions seek to  negotiate agreements.  Sometimes from a take it leave it style which belies the needs of the partner.  The ethics of internationalization practices is somewhat lost in the frequent analysis of numbers – stats on the flow of international students around the world, stats on virtually every aspect of study abroad…but behind these numbers is the obvious dilemma of the inequality of resources and infrastructure .  Should “we” be comfortable with this…?

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