International students in Sweden
Student mobility is increasing in the world and even though English-speaking countries are the most popular destinations, the number of students coming to Sweden continues to increase. During the academic year 2006/7 there were 27 900 international students at Swedish higher education institutions (HEIs), of which 16 700 were free movers and 11 200 were exchange students. Two-thirds of the incoming students were fromEuropeand the Nordic countries and one fifth from Asian countries. Asian students are arriving in increasing numbers and the current figure is 5 900. The number of international students on Masters´ programmes is very high and was over half for Masters´ programmes starting in2007. Inthe autumn semester 2008, thirty-three HEIs will offer 530 Masters´ programmes with English as the medium of instruction. 75% of these are two-year programmes. According to Högskolverket´s (Swedish National Agency for Higher Education) survey, half of the free movers are well motivated students who want to study in Sweden in order to improve their career opportunities. Approximately one third of the free movers come for the personal experience. They choose to study in Sweden because English is the medium of instruction, the programmes are appropriate and the tuition is free. Students use the HEI ranking in order to select a HEI if they have no prior knowledge of Sweden. Their experience of Sweden as a study destination is very positive.
The Agency´s evaluation reports from 2007-2008 show that approximately one quarter of these deals with international students. Currently very little is known about the effects of English as the medium of instruction on the quality the education.
The Agency is of the view that a common strategy with common goals and clear areas of responsibility is required for the different agencies and organisations dealing with international students.