Wetenschap - 11 januari 1996

Internationalisation is innovation

Internationalisation is innovation

Policy documents of agricultural educational institutions and the Ministry of Agriculture reflect similar principles and objectives. However, the methods that are being used to implement internationalisation and the subsequent results vary enormously," concludes Anita Hermsen from the Department of Agricultural Education. Hermsen studied the complexity of internationalisation and how to shape the process of internationalisation of the agricultural education system.

Hermsen suggests that internationalisation can be regarded as an educational innovation. She explains: To implement this innovation every educational institution has to decide on its own priorities and develop a clear policy plan based on educational goals and objectives."

Hermsen found that a discrepancy exists between educational practice and the policy level. This is due to the fact that educational institutions have very different educational philosophies, traditions and cultures. Hermsen believes that, though there is consensus on its need and importance, internationalisation is far from being an integral part of the educational institutions.

Hermsen goes on to explain that the concept of internationalisation originally meant simply an increase in student mobility. Nowadays there are many ways to internationalize education, to mention just a few: the inflow of international students, cross border teacher mobility, international joint projects and internationally oriented teaching materials. Hermsen concludes: The importance of internationalization must be shown to students, teachers and school management. Failure to recognize the value added by internationalisation will hamper new initiatives in the long run."

Hermsen directed her research towards eight case studies in agricultural education, at WAU, Higher Agricultural Colleges, Secondary Agricultural Colleges and Practical Training and Innovation Centres. The results of the study are published in Dutch with an English summary. The report can be obtained from Ms Bangma-Haaima at the Department of Agricultural Education (tel. 484564), and costs FL 30,-.

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