Political and demographic changes continue to shape student mobility worldwide

As the broad outline of student mobility slowly changes, political and demographic changes continue to shape government policies towards international students. In Asia, for example, ASEAN states are working to encourage domestic students to study in Asia rather than heading to western universities, and to this end, have established a ‘Common Space of Higher Education’ to encourage cross-border student mobility and academic integration across Southeast Asia. Influenced by Europe’s successful development of the Bologna Process and European Higher Education Area, a credit transfer protocol is already underway. Two new programs to encourage student mobility within Asia have recently begun: ‘ASEAN International Mobility for Students’ and ‘Passage to ASEAN’, with the former now including 59 universities across seven countries, while the latter provides virtual tours and study tours for students across the ASEAN region. At present there is still a comparatively low level of student mobility within the region, except between Malaysia and Indonesia which now stand as a model for the program.

Universities in Latin America are becoming increasingly internationalised, with both inbound and outbound student mobility growing. Brazil remains the largest source of outbound students in Latin America, closely followed by Colombia. In part this is driven by growing demand from Colombia’s nine million university-age students, but also by the government’s ‘National Program for Advising Higher Education Institutions on Internationalisation’ and by Colombian employers who value degrees obtained overseas. Recent joint mobility programmes with Colombian universities include the Programa de Movilidad Académica, which brings Chinese students to teach Mandarin at Colombian universities for one year. By 2013, 141 Chinese students had come to Colombia under the aegis of the Instituto Colombiano de Credito Educativo y Estudios Tecnicos en el Exterior (ICETEX) Program.

Sub-Saharan Africa is also experiencing a rapid growth in demand, with the population predicted to grow from 1 billion today to 2.4 billion in 2050, and with a set of education systems where demand already far outstrips supply. Almost half of subSaharan students currently choose to study in South Africa, with most of the remainder studying in France, the USA or UK and other European countries. In the 2014 Trends report, we predicted that the number of African students studying in the UK – including Oxford – would increase over the next decade, and indeed, this pattern is reflected in the latest admissions figures. Over the past five years, Ghana and Nigeria have seen a doubling in the number of their students at Oxford.