August 21, 2012
Many of the current moral and ethical questions in international education have developed from shifts within student recruitment, including a greater number of students studying abroad and from nontraditional exporter countries, particularly China. According to the United Kingdom’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the number of international students studying in the UK from non-European Union countries has increased dramatically. The fact points to the changing demographic profile of international students and an increased effort to attract students from China and Southeast Asia.
The major ethical dilemmas in international education include:
- Funding shifts, giving rise to both escalating student tuition fees and research funding from private corporations and government sources that may involve questionable practices and outcomes
- Political agenda for foreign student recruitment, including democratization and imperialism
- Domestic and transnational competition for students, particularly foreign students who are able to pay higher rates of tuition and who are able to contribute to research in science and technology
- The perspective of the student as customer, reflecting a philosophical shift in the purpose of higher education and its public mission
Using UK HE institutions as an example, the chart below demonstrates the relative growth of non-EU students from 2008/09 to 2009/10.
Growth has been strongest from Asian countries, as detailed in the chart below:
Within the EU, most international students attending UK schools come from Ireland, Germany, and France.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) pinpoints six factors likely to affect enrollment shifts of international students:
- Expand capacity in home country higher education sectors of major sending countries
- Increased recruitment by other countries
- Domestic (political, economic, social and educational) shifts within key sending countries
- Transnational Education (TNE, CBE) and alternative modes of educational delivery
- Increased role of private education
- From “Brain Drain” to “Brain Circulation (the circular movement of skilled labor)”