On International Education


FORUM: The future of work and education

TOPICS: Larsen, international education,

Larsen, K. & Vincent-Lancrin, S. (2002). International Trade in Educational Services: Good or Bad? (link to Itslearning)

As amply explained in the article by Larsen et al., English-speaking countries clearly dominate the international education market in its different forms (in-country ed, distance ed, offshore ed).  International student mobility is firmly attracted to English-language learning experiences.

Educational pathways in other languages pursued by international students pale by comparison.

This reminds me of the expensive TOEFL test, now an almost universally mandatory application requirement for all non-English speaking students. There is no doubt that the private company that offers it has turned huge profits. It is virtually a world-wide monopoly. Not so long ago prospective students could prove their fluency in English in a variety of ways, including taking a free test upon arrival at their home university.  Things nowadays have changed dramatically.

Consequently, a huge market for English preparation classes ensued linked to a market for TESL instructors who are now required to obtain “proper credentials.” International education in English has turned into a multilayered business.

I also believe that the streamlining of application procedures and the setting of uniform application and language proficiency standards have contributed to limiting access to learning opportunities. Students with limited financial resources are for the most part excluded.

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