domingo, 14 de dezembro de 2014

As prioridades do processo de expansão internacional das universidades do Reino Unido

David Bell, Vice-Chanceler na Universidade de Reading, Reino Unido, num artigo de opinião que publicou recentemente com o titulo "Why Africa should be the next focus for UK global higher education drive" faz uma excelente análise do processo de internacionalização das universidades britânicas e dos desafios actualmente existentes nesta área. Desta análise retirámos algumas considerações que nos parecem bastante relevantes, a saber:

- "Until now, UK universities have focused on the emerging economies of Asia, with great success. This has brought Asian students to the UK in large numbers. It has also prompted British universities to set up new campuses overseas and initiate agreements with in-country institutions – the model known as transnational education".

-  "Transnational education is on the rise. In November, the Higher Education Funding Council for England reported on the increasing importance of overseas campuses and partnerships in sustaining the growth of UK universities. The Department for Business and Industry has also calculated that the sector is worth nearly half a billion pounds annually.Currently, South Africa is still somewhat off the radar of many UK universities. But some international providers, such as Australia’s Monash University, are already well embedded and seeing the extraordinary results. I am proud that my institution’s business school is among them".

-  "Given the strong historical ties to Britain, South African students might consider coming to UK universities to supplement their in-country education, before returning to lead change. Such transnational education can bring additional benefits for UK-based students too. As graduate employers increasingly look to attract a workforce with “global skills", providing opportunities for study and travel in both directions becomes more important. Transnational campuses in English-speaking countries could bring new opportunities for more adventurous anglophone undergraduates, in subjects beyond those that traditionally involve a year abroad".

Em síntese, parece-nos que esta reflexão de David Bell pode constituir um contributo importante para o debate que está a ter lugar em algumas universidades portuguesas (públicas e privadas) sobre o seu processo de expansão internacional, nomeadamente para os países lusófonos. Aliás, estamos em crer que este espaço de expansão natural das universidades portugueses vai passar a ser disputado, a muito curto prazo, por universidades de outros países, a exemplo do que verifica em outros sectores da actividade económica.