Problematising strategic internationalisation: Tensions and conflicts between international student recruitment and integration policy in Ireland

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Abstract

Internationalisation of higher education in Ireland has been identified as a pathway to economic recovery through encouraging student mobility and attracting highly skilled human capital. International students constitute one element of recent Irish immigration trends, presenting new challenges for a society in which diversity is a relatively recent phenomenon. In this light, here I explore the contradictions and tensions that arise from the drive to recruit international students with the need to embed policies that enshrine the integration of migrants more broadly. As highly skilled migrants, international students are often perceived as ‘the best and the brightest’, who exhibit high levels of social and human capital. However, they occupy a contradictory position within a hierarchy that values the economic investment they make in Irish education, but categorises them into a fixed identity that does not recognise the diversity of needs to better facilitate their social inclusion. Analysing both government migration policies and university recruitment strategies reveals how policies at different scales shape hierarchies of desirability, wherein students are appraised for revenue generation but subject to surveillance, racialisation, increasing restrictions and divisive rhetoric depending on their status as non-EU students. To address this imbalance requires the implementation of holistic internationalisation strategies and migration policies.
(Special Issue: International student migration and mobility policies: theoretical and empirical insights)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-352
JournalGlobalisation, Societies and Education
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2017

Keywords

  • higher education
  • student mobility
  • social inclusion
  • Ireland
  • internationalisation
  • integration

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