In November 2019 UNESCO has published its annual Global Education Monitoring Report, whose theme is “Building bridges, not walls”. The report presents evidence on the implications of different types of migration and displacement for education systems and aims to answer the questions: How do population movements affect access to and quality of education? What are the implications for individual migrants and refugees? How can education make a difference in the lives of people who move and in the communities receiving them?
All types of population movement are covered: internal migration, international migration, displacement. One section is dedicated to the mobility of higher education students and professionals. According to the report, half of all international students move to five English-speaking countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The shares of international students in France and Germany have grown to 8% and 6%, respectively, in part because they increasingly offer postgraduate programmes in English. China, India and the Republic of Korea accounted for 25% of all outbound mobility in 2016. Europe is the second-largest sending region, accounting for 23% of the total in 2016, but 76% of the 0.9 million mobile European students stay within the region.
Students decide where to pursue tertiary education based on availability of places at the best home universities, ability to pay and relative quality of education at home and abroad. Policies governing students’ ability to work can also be a driver. The report states that harmonising standards and recognising qualifications facilitates internationalisation of tertiary education. It therefore encourages institutions to engage in complex relationships and agreements, e.g. dual and joint degree programmes, credit transfers, strategic partnerships and consortia. In this sense, the Erasmus programme is working as a model for south-eastern Asia, with the ASEAN-EU programme SHARE (Support to Higher Education in the ASEAN Region) launched in 2015.
Furthermore, the report provides a monitoring progress in the Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the United Nations and gives a series of recommendations to governments in addressing the education needs of migrant and displaced populations. With the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and the Global Compact on Refugees being finalised in these weeks, this report constitutes an important reference for policy-makers.