Revisiting Access in Debates on Internationalisation: Transnational Rights?

Gunter, A.; Breines, M.R.; Cin, F.M. and Raghuram, P. (2024). Revisiting Access in Debates on Internationalisation: Transnational Rights? In: Engwall, L. ed. Internationalization in Higher Education and Research: Perspectives, Obstacles, Alternatives. Higher Education Dynamics, 62. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 161–180.



This paper explores the internationalisation of higher education, particularly emphasizing its demand side. It highlights the predominant focus on student mobility choices rather than broader economic and cultural influences. While perceived educational hubs and post-study visa availabilities are crucial factors, social connections also play a significant role in student migration. Using Findlay’s (2011) insight into demand side migration, we emphasize the financial motivations behind global higher education offerings. This study uniquely combines the discourse on internationalisation with access to higher education in the global South. We spotlight international distance education (IDE) as an understudied yet pivotal mode of internationalisation. Focusing on Africa—specifically Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Namibia—we investigate the rising demand for IDE at the University of South Africa (UNISA). The paper underscores that while much attention is on relocating students, mobility choices are also deeply intertwined with access challenges. IDE is framed both as a commodity and an innovative solution to these access problems. The study concludes by advocating for a re-envisioned global responsibility towards higher-education access.

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