Internationalisation and quality assurance
Högskoleverket (Swedish National Agency for Higher Education) has conducted a quality audit on behalf of the University Chancellor in order to see how work with internationalisation has progressed since a previous study in 2004, and to nominate those higher education institutions (HEIs) that have made most progress. The task has been carried out by an assessment panel based on written reports from HEIs.
The overall impression is that the majority of HEIs have made great efforts and made considerable progress with regard to internationalisation. Internationalisation has become an integral part of organisations and study programmes, and has taken on a more strategic role. However, individual HEIs need to conduct their own investigations and analyses as a basis for quality management, and develop and adapt their quality assurance mechanisms to the demands of internationalisation.
Several HEIs have developed language policies, something that the assessment panel considers all HEIs should do. Important issues include the consequences of offering courses at undergraduate level with English as the medium of instruction, support to academic staff teaching through the medium of English, and the challenges of teaching multicultural groups.
Student exchange agreements continue to dominate collaboration with HEIs abroad. There has been an increase in the development of study programmes with partners aboard. The development of joint study programmes makes the issue of joint degrees more pressing than previously andSwedenis one of the few countries inEuropethat is unable to award such degrees.
The statistics show that the number of outgoing students has decreased whilst the number of incoming students has increased. There is also an increased interest in collaborating with HEIs in different countries. In order to increase student interest in exchanges it is important that teachers also take part in exchanges. Unfortunately, no such trend exists and the Government should, therefore, try different forms of incentives to encourage this. However, the mobility of both students and teachers is considered by HEIs as the most important feature of their work with internationalisation. Improved quality control is also a prioritised area.
Internationalisation at home continues to develop and be integrated into the curriculum. Many HEIs have developed study programmes and courses with international perspectives. However, there are no firm goals and the assessment group´s view is that the opportunities and obstacles to internationalisation at home should be listed and strategies about how to make progress developed.
Practically all HEIs have information about internationalisation on their websites in both Swedish and English. In addition, there is printed matter and oral information available. Mobility can be increased if potential students are able to talk to teachers and other students who have previously taken part in exchanges. It is also important that incoming students are able to act as ambassadors for Sweden on their return home.
Unfortunately, internationalisation with regard to third cycle (doctoral) studies has not been very successful. However, there are signs at a few HEIs that quality assurance procedures are being developed.
Work with equal opportunities and diversity is more or less unchanged since 2004. Better information to international students about the equal treatment of students and student influence is required.
Four HEIs were considered to have made particular progress: University of Gothenburg , Karolinska Institutet, the Royal Institute of Technology and Linköping University.