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Policy Brief 5: Institutional Policies and Initiatives for the Internationalisation of Higher Education in Southeast Asia

JULY 2018 | ISSUE 5

Institutional Policies and Initiatives for the Internationalisation of Higher Education in Southeast Asia

Recommendations from a case study of five Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand

The internationalisation of higher education is an area that universities, both public and private, can explore and engage in to improve the quality of education and the skills and competencies of their graduates. In this study, the authors

report on initiatives which respondent universities have identified, and which they might pursue to become more internationalised. There is great potential for cross-border engagements to resolve some of the pressing issues in university internationalisation in the ASEAN context.

In essence, it is reasonable to say that the internationalisation of higher education in the universities in this case study is not detached from national development policy; rather, it is embedded in the respective countries’ outlook and strategic economic and development priorities. Indeed, this has a profound impact on how individual universities design their policies, influencing their strategic directions for internationalisation.

There is a common perception that internationalisation is related to increased expenditure and funding. Many universities may be discouraged from pursuing initiatives to internationalise because of the idea that additional funding is required.

In this study, it was found that contextualisation is important in internationalisation. Each university needs to identify its strengths, limitations, and resources. International engagements can be contextualised into what can be offered and what is needed. Engagements are a two-way activity, and should therefore be of mutual benefit.

About this Policy Brief

This policy brief was produced as output from the research project Profiling the Good Practices of Institutional Policies and Initiatives in Selected Universities of Five Southeast Asian Countries, which was conducted by the National Higher Education Research Institute (NaHERI), Universiti Sains Malaysia, in collaboration with researchers from Chiang-Mai University, Thailand, University of Education, Indonesia, De La Salle University, Philippines, and the National University of Singapore. This research project is funded by The HEAD Foundation, Singapore.

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