Monday 25 August 2014

020 - Internationalisation of Croatian higher education: it is time for a comprehensive coordinated strategy

020 - Internationalisation of Croatian higher education: it is time for a comprehensive coordinated strategy

Val Colic-Peisker
(RMIT University, Australija)

This presentation is focused on the global integration of Croatian higher education: attracting international students and international research collaboration. Given the ongoing Bologna Process and recent accession of Croatia into the European Union, this seems the right moment to intensify efforts to integrate Croatian universities into the EU and global education and research. Drawing on my work experience at Australian universities, and their success in attracting international students (currently over 20% of total university students in Australia; education is 2nd biggest Australia’s export industry), I propose a comprehensive strategy of globalisation of Croatian higher education.

This strategy should connect with Croatian diaspora, especially university academics from Croatia working abroad, and with the “second (and further) generation” of Croatian origin who are potential students in Croatia. However, this is just one element; Croatia has several competitive advantages which should be kept in mind when developing the strategy: Croatian excellent “middle-Earth” (Mediterranean!) location; tourist attractiveness and popularity in new markets; educated and globally connected academic workforce proficient in foreign languages who can deliver university courses and programs; large diaspora linking the sector with key countries.

Croatian government (primarily MZOS) should coordinate this strategy and offer clear incentives to Croatian universities (and individual academics) to take part in the institutional strategy of internationalisation. The rewards of integrating into global education and research market are by no means just economic, but also social, cultural and scientific, as well as gains in international prestige of the country. The strategy is also likely to re-gain some of the “brain” drained from Croatia over the past decades.

Paper presented at the First Croatian Emigration Congress, Zagreb 23 - 26 June 2014.

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