Internationalizing Higher Education Knowledge Content: Acknowledging a pedagogical Quality Assurance Discourse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


Internationalisation of higher education is a current theme in research and politics of higher
education. The theme in this paper is related to present developments and concerns of the
growing border-crossing activities that take place between nations and their systems of Higher
Education. Higher education is expected to be based on research, research to be an
international activity, and the universities to have an international orientation also in their
education of students. The dominant discourse on internationalisation of higher education in
research and research based discussions have up till now mainly been from a political, an
economic and an organisational perspective. There is also a tendency to place
internationalisation within the frame of globalisation and the increasing trade in educational
services worldwide. We do not dispute that this research is helpful to clarify some main
political and economic conditions for and ways of organising higher education. However, the
research does not give much basis for internationalising the teaching and learning and
development of scholarship. There is an obvious risk of neglecting the meaning of the
development of internationalisation in higher education when it comes to teaching and
learning intercultural knowledge and competencies, and development of scholarship. There is
a need of addressing questions about the internationalising of the content of education. Both at
national and institutional levels, in many countries, internationalisation is stated to be an
educational goal, sometimes discussed as a linear homogenization process, sometimes
emphasizing a pluralistic process, multilingualism and multiculturalism. In some previous
studies we have found that the concretisation of internationalisation as an educational goal is
very unclear. The concrete content considered to represent internationalisation seems to be
rather haphazardly included in the teaching and learning. There is also a tendency to look at
what is considered to be general knowledge and general human qualities as what represents
internationalisation without considering cultural differences. In higher education there is no
institutionalised educational and didactic thinking as a basis for developing
internationalisation of the education. The concrete thinking is very much restricted to
organisational and administrative aspects of the education. The thinking about educational
content and learning outcomes is much idealised and not developed in terms of students’
competencies and capabilities (attitudes and approaches). In this paper we present and discuss
the conditions for an educational didactic framework and approach to internationalisation of
higher education.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Educational Sciences
  • Health Sciences


  • pedagogical perspectiveSoTL, Higher Education, Quality Assurance
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationINQAAHE International Quality Assurance in Higher Education
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch
EventQuality Assurance Coming of Age Lessons from the Past and Strategies for the Future - The Sheraton Centre, Queen Street - Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Duration: 2007 Apr 22007 Apr 5


ConferenceQuality Assurance Coming of Age Lessons from the Past and Strategies for the Future

Bibliographic note

Wihlborg and Svensson are both main authors The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Nursing (Closed 2012) (013065000), Education (012013003)