عنوان مقاله [English]
Nowadays, it is axiomatic that indicators involved in internationalizing higher education have gained higher importance in scientometrics with respect to their possible effects on science and technology development in different countries. Moreover, internationalizing higher education, on the account of countless economic, cultural, social, scientific, and even political benefits, is also high on the agenda of many countries. That is numerous countries have developed special and ongoing short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans in this regard.
In the meantime, the name of the United States should be mentioned as a country that could gain more than $4 billion only in a period of 3 years from 2015 to 2017 by increasing 1.5% growth in international students’ rate. Additionally, it is worth to mention that despite the existence of a clear policy with regard to attracting international students up to the early 2nd millennium, France has made steps to change the policies related to this area and has successfully attracted 6% of the international students in the year 2017. Continually in the year 2019, this country has aimed to grant scholarship to 15,000 international students, by doubling their budget.
This kind of growth is also seen in Germany as they have increased the number of their international students by 5% in the year of 2019. Similarly, Japan which has always provided most of its workforce from international students, is trying to reach its long-term goal of attracting 300,000 international students up to the year 2020 by conducting an AB Education program. This country could increase the growth rate of their international students by a total of about 60% and an average annual of about 12% in a three year period from 2013 to 2017. Additionally, the countries China and South Korea have also reported effective measures on their agenda about this matter. China with its 985 projects and South Korea with Brain Korea 21 are clearly making plans in this regard, and they could easily attract a major part of their university faculty members for collaboration in this context.
Needless to say that the policies of internationalizing higher education are neither limited to the European, American, and far Eastern countries, nor are also seen in neighboring countries such as Turkey and The United Arab Empires. In the meantime, Turkey which is considered to be the main goal in high level documents and vision of science and technology of Iran, could act very successfully in attracting international students in the recent years and outmaneuver all other countries in the world in this area. This has been achieved by having more than 8 million international students which is considered to be the highest number of admissions in one country.
The importance of this issue throughout the countries has caused UNESCO to pay special attention to the matter and has heralds the necessity for preparation of new features for internationalizing higher education and thus providing the possibility for standard evaluation of the level of internationalizing higher education in different countries. Using these attributes brings a higher possibility to the experts of scientometrics for standard comparative evaluation.
Nevertheless, if we look passed the international evidence and come back to Iran, we should mention that in this country, in the level of high-level documents which is in fact considered to be the level of policymaking and to some extent programming, there is numerous evidence as indications of the attention that this country has focused towards internationalizing higher education besides many others. For instance, in the Comprehensive Scientific Plan of the country there are several evidence that the designers, editors, and authorities have all paid special attention to this issue. In the very first chapter of the Comprehensive Scientific Plan of the country which introduces “the main features of science, technology, and innovation system patterns”, communication and creating an active collaboration with the Islamic world and other countries is one of the main features explained in the aforementioned chapter. In addition, “expanding collaboration in the fields of science and technology with the authentic international scientific headquarters” has been introduced as one of the “eightfold macro goals of the science and technology system of the country” in the second chapter of the Comprehensive Scientific Plan of the country.
Moreover, in “the qualities of eligible matters of macro features of the country’s science and technology” in the second chapter of the Plan, “international participation” is considered special and several significant attributes dedicated to it indicates the importance of internationalization of higher education in the forenamed book. There are various cases ranging from the ones such as “scientific collaboration in publishing articles and international collaborative studies” to the ones such as “the number of the most cited articles”, “the number of newly founded fields for the first time in the country and in the world”, “the number of featured scientists influential in managing international societies”, “the number of invited speakers and members of scientific and leadership committees of authentic international conferences”, and “the student and expert attraction rate from other countries” mentioned among the features of this part.
Furthermore, to accomplish these goals and plans, there are effective strategies and proceedings mentioned in the fourth chapter of the Plan. For instance, the macro strategy 9 stipulated in this chapter, specifically points to “active and effective interaction in the field of science and technology with other countries, especially the countries of the Islamic world”. There has been several national proceedings under this macro strategy such as “creating research networks inside and outside of the country to release and exchange knowledge and technology that is in line with national priorities and to take advantage of global opportunities”, “increasing the admission of international students in order to spread the Persian language and laying the foundation for the scientific authority of the country with the priority of the Islamic countries”, “amendment and modification in language teaching methodologies , specifically the Arabic and English language in different academic levels”, “creating supportive occupations, granting academic scholarships and sabbaticals for research to increase the international collaborations of the universities and their presence in international scientific networks and societies”, “improving and developing inspirational and effective cooperation with the universities of the Islamic countries and taking advantage of the spots available in the universities of the leading countries in science and technology through exchanging students and professors and implementing joined training courses in prioritized fields of study”.
Obviously, all the presented evidence indicates the significance of the factors involved in internationalizing higher education in the world and also in Iran’s macro plans. However, the question here is that how much of these plans and policies have panned out so far? In other words, how many of these expected goals could our country have accomplished? How much is contributed to international students? How much have the professors and students collaborated in international programs such as sabbaticals, holding joined training courses, participation in international science conferences, presence in scientific committees, and leading authentic international congresses? When Turkey, as a neighboring and Islamic country, is considered to be the main goal in high level documents and has coherent plans about internationalizing higher education and could outmaneuver all the other countries in this area, how has our country acted upon the plans that have been made in order to accomplish them? And basically has anything been or is being done about this issue? If yes, how much of these proceedings have been planned and consulted with the students of Scientometrics?
The truth is that the observation, consistency, and comparative and analytical evaluation of the functions related to science and technology in this country and their adaptation with the predictions made in the high level documents are basic necessities for implementing the plans and this requires the consultation and collaboration of the Scientometrics experts.
Abdolreza Noroozi Chakoli, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief of Scientometrics Research Journal
Scientific Bi-Quarterly of Shahed University