CGHE Webinar 368

Dynamics of the internationalisation of higher education: Reconfiguration of training and the making of elites in Singapore and Malaysia

Date: Thursday, 6 July 2023 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Zoom webinar, registration required

Event Materials

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Using a socio-historical approach and the theory of elites, this communication analyses the impact of internationalisation on the higher education systems of Singapore and Malaysia over the last half-century. It examines the social, economic and political processes that have led to the reconfiguration of the structure of higher education in these two countries and to the renewal of the ways in which their elites are trained. Based on a multi-layered approach and a mixed-methods field study, the internationalisation of the Singaporean and Malaysian education systems is explored in terms of two dynamics: an inward-oriented internationalisation of higher education (importing foreign knowledge, cultures, models, standards) to strengthen the national identity, and an outward-oriented internationalisation that aims to attract the most academically accomplished international students and to occupy a major position in the global education market in order to strengthen the country’s international image.

The universality of internationalisation is challenged by national specificities and the institutional polymorphism of universities and higher education organisations. The increasing complexity of the meaning of student movements calls into question the transfer of knowledge around the world in favour of a multidimensional reconfiguration that interweaves multiple logics that go beyond previously established homologies. The impact of the internationalisation of education on the internal stratification of higher education in Singapore and Malaysia then shows the segmentation of the public between public and private universities, giving rise to a distinction between public and private elites. Finallys, the strategic interests and national positions of the two countries diverge in terms of public policies, standards, regulations and legislation, leading to the consideration of two differentiated models of internationalisation which condition the flow of incoming students to these countries: Singaporean higher education appears to be a model of excellence at the crossroads of the Western and Eastern ‘worlds’, which attracts not only talented and wealthy Asian elites, but also international elites; Malaysian higher education represents a hybrid international model that helps to bring out ethnic-racial and Muslim elites.

Event Notes

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