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International students in UK policy from 1999 to 2013: rationales for recruitment and representations of students

Lomer, Sylvie (2016) International students in UK policy from 1999 to 2013: rationales for recruitment and representations of students. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

International students have had an increasingly significant presence in UK higher education since the 1980s. Government policy has intentionally encouraged their recruitment, from the Prime Minister’s Initiative in 1999 to the Coalition Government’s 2013 International Education Strategy. This study establishes how public policy discursively creates problems, solutions and representations of international students through textual analysis of over 90 documents. It uses Carol Bacchi’s (2009) ‘what is the problem represented to be’ framework to uncover problems, solutions, assumptions and silences in the policy discourses. The analysis revealed that policy justifies international student recruitment in terms of anticipated gains for the UK, namely: increased diplomatic influence, educational reputation, and income. In a field of global competition, these perceived benefits address the implicit problems of addressing the declining power and status of the nation. International student recruitment is undesirable when students are in ‘academic deficit’ and contribute to negative popular discourses around immigrants. Thus, rationales are made both in favour of and counter to their recruitment. In these rationales, students are discursively represented as immigrants, conduits for income, consumers, arbiters of quality, creators of international education, ambassadors, and fundamentally Other. They are valued for the benefits they bring to the UK and are not constructed as individuals with agency. These representations and rationales are important because they have the power to modify institutional and national practices, change individuals’ self-representations and relationships. This thesis contributes to an enhanced critical awareness of how national policies rationalise and represent international students, a necessary precursor to an ethical pedagogical engagement in international higher education.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.680948
Depositing User: Sylvie Lomer
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2016 11:49
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:09
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12269

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