Internationalization of education is not new in Norway. The painter Hans Gude, who together with Adolph Tidemand, painted Brudeferden in Hardanger – the painting we today consider a Norwegian national treasure – traveled to Düsseldorf with the desire to become a painter. At the age of 15, Grieg began studying at the Leipzig Conservatory. It was also not uncommon for teachers, engineers and other academics to go out to seek both education and practice, and then return home with new ideas and methods.
- What is the scope of internationalization of education?
- Which EU programs can the individual benefit from?
- What does internationalized education mean for the individual and for society?
- Why are pupils and students educating themselves more than before in other countries?
2: Renewed role
In modern times, however, the internationalization of education has been given a renewed and strengthened role. The end of the Cold War, the enlargement of NATO and the EU, the spread of democracy combined with increasing commercialization are important developments in recent decades. Emerging powers such as China, India, Brazil and Russia are re-establishing economic and political influence. Another feature is the technological development. The Internet and social media create completely new conditions for interaction across people and cultures in all countries.
Internationalization of education is thus closely linked to international trade and an increasingly international working life. Large Norwegian companies such as Statoil and Hydro have established offices and operations in a number of countries. A number of international companies also have offices in Norway. English has become the working language in many Norwegian companies.
Both education and research today must be open and international in order to maintain a high professional level. Research projects, data collection and publication are very often carried out in collaboration across national borders between universities and research institutions. Internationalization of education is largely linked to international pupil and student mobility, internationalization of textbooks and integration of international and multicultural pupils and students in class and on campus.
3: Globalization and internationalization
Globalization and internationalization are terms that are often used interchangeably, even though they each describe two different processes. Globalization is often used as a collective term for forces and processes that make the world smaller. The community of destiny that results from increasing interdependence is a key feature of globalization. Poverty, significant environmental challenges, economic and social inequality, identities, religions and cultures meet to a much greater extent than before. It creates tensions, which in turn are amplified by and trigger conflicts. Degradation of customs walls, deregulation of the financial markets, extensive international aviation and ICT are also drivers in these processes, along with other political decisions. Globalization and internationalization have many common features, but where globalization refers to the weakening of nation states and national borders, internationalization refers to conscious, desired, cooperation between countries.
Internationalization of education is about how national authorities and educational institutions at all levels meet the challenges and opportunities that result from increased globalization, ie the response to these challenges and opportunities. Report to the Storting no. 14 (2008–2009) «Internationalization of education» defines internationalization as follows:
- “Internationalization is the exchange of ideas, knowledge, goods and services between nations across established national borders and consequently has the individual country as its point of view and perspective. In education, internationalization will be the process of integrating an international, intercultural and global dimension into goals, organization and action. “
The knowledge society is characterized by the fact that knowledge and competence are the most important input factor in production and service provision. Although Norway has a rich supply of sought-after raw materials such as oil, gas and fish, national value creation is mostly based on the citizens’ knowledge and expertise. Calculations from Statistics Norway (SSB) show that the people here and their labor force (human capital) make up as much as 85 per cent of the national wealth . An important recognition, however, is that knowledge is produced all over the world. Very little new knowledge is actually created and produced in Norway. Therefore, according to JUSTINSHOES, it is in Norway’s and other countries’ interest to make contacts with strong professional environments elsewhere in the world. This is how we can bring home important knowledge and expertise, but also share it with others.
The goal of increased internationalization of education can nevertheless not only be justified on the basis of Norwegian self-interests. Education also plays a role in multicultural understanding and solidarity with people in countries that have far poorer living conditions and future prospects. As in all education policy choices, the internationalization of education also touches on key value issues. Dilemmas and tensions exist here between institutions, politicians and professionals.
4: Norwegian experiences
In the Norwegian educational tradition, internationalization has generally been seen in the light of strengthening foreign languages and cultural insight . Solid language skills form the basis for communication, participation in an international social and working life and contribute to an increased understanding of the multicultural society.