OvWhose interests are served by the outbound mobility programs?

Year: 2019

Author: Arden, Mila

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This discussion paper critically examines the discursive fields in international education in Australian universities. Australian higher education institutions around the world have been practising student mobility as a means of internationalization (see Deardroff, 2006; Lewin, 2009). Australia is one of the countries that receive a fair amount of international students. Since at least the 1950’s, inbound student mobility has been enabled with the Colombo Plan. However, the flow of the students has changed with when the Abbott government implemented the New Colombo Plan in 2013, which mobilized the local Australian students. Outbound mobility programs [OSM] are designed to send the Australian local students to the Indo-Pacific region for a part of their higher education as Australian students –supposedly- lack essential global skills. Both the literature and the New Colombo Plan construct their own claims to support the necessity of these programs, and both constitute their own body of discourses. However, perhaps both these body of arguments leave out perhaps the most the important factor, the student perspectives. The significance of this paper is presenting the students’ perspectives in depth as a result of its qualitative approach. This paper also discusses and highlights the discrepancies in discourses in relation to outbound mobility programs. This study examines and outlines the discourses between the emerging scholarly literature, the policy, and the student perspectives by utilizing Foucauldian discourses analytical framework and postcolonial theories. Due to the scope of this discussion paper, the discrepancies are presented to highlight the interests that the outbound mobility programs serve of those surprising group of bodies/individuals. The paper also aims to attract discussion(s) in order to think perhaps differently about internationalization and/or mobility programs to optimize educational/social/political outcomes.