It’s Time We Paid Attention: The Geopolitics of International Higher Education and Study-Migration

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Soma CHATTERJEE, York University, Canada
Kathryn BARBER, York University, Canada
The number of foreign tertiary students worldwide increased by a striking 50% between 2005 and 2012 (Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development [OECD]). Large concentrations of the world’s mobile students are found in major higher education destinations of the West, most prominently in USA, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada and France. According to 2015 statistics of the OECD, close to 53% of these students originated in Asia. These are not disparate statistics, rather a close approximation of postwar, postcolonial global migratory patterns. Theorizing the spaces and patterns of contemporary student migration (See Raghuram, 2013), in this context, and also the historic context of Western universities being sites for colonial domination and imperial expansion (Bu, 2012; Mignolo, 2009), is a pressing task. And yet, scholarly discussions are dominated by the explicit instrumentalities of student migration, focusing largely on attracting more students, the quality of their student experience, and their post-graduate labour outcomes (Bang and Montgomery, 2013; Wang, 2016; Arthur and Flynn, 2011). Drawing from a recently conducted cross-country (UK, USA, Australia, Canada, & Germany) review of study-migration policies and accompanying discourses, the authors embark on the timely task of theorizing the phenomenon of student migration from within the lens of geopolitics of contemporary international education and migration.