The EAIE Barometer: initial findings unveiled

The EAIE Barometer: initial findings unveiled

The EAIE, together with research and consultancy company Ecorys, has conducted a comprehensive European- wide study covering trends in international education and knowledge and skill needs among internationalisation staff. The EAIE Barometer is unique in viewing internationalisation from the practitioner perspective across Europe. The initial findings of the EAIE Barometer have just been revealed at the EAIE Annual Conference in Prague. Highlights of some of the findings are revealed here.

Highlights of some of the findings are revealed here.

The EAIE Barometer mapped the state of internationalisation in the European Higher Education AREA (EHEA) gathering over 2500 responses from individual practitioners in the field of internationalisation both within and beyond higher education institutions (HEIs). The findings here represent the perceptions of the 2093 respondents working at 1500 HEIs in 33 European countries.

Three quarters of the respondents work in HEI’s with less than 20 000 students with  the majority having less than 500 international students enrolled. The majority of the respondents work at publicly funded research HEIs, with two-thirds working at the central level and one-third at the faculty level.

As can be seen from the graph below, most respondents work with several different aspects of international education in their day-to-day role such as international partnerships, management of the international office and international programmes.


As the most important reasons for their institutions to internationalise, the respondents mention improving the overall quality of education, preparing students for a global world and attracting more international students.

The findings point to a link between level of internationalisation and international strategy. The responses indicate that institutions perceived as lagging behind, to a greater extent don’t have an internationalisation strategy or are developing one whereas leading HEIs have generally developed some type of internationalisation strategy. Respondents at leading HEIs, to a greater extent than other respondents, report having a separate internationalisation strategy. Contrary to common perception however, having internationalisation as part of the overall institutional strategy is most common among HEIs seen as ‘average’ performers in internationalisation.

The findings on the relation between the level of internationalisation and internationalisation strategy are substantiated by the perceived changes in internationalisation activities.

HEIs with no strategy or those in the process of developing one are reported to have a lower increase in internationalisation activities whereas HEIs with a separate internationalisation strategy have seen the greatest increase in activities according to the respondents. This tendency can be noted across the majority of internationalisation activities surveyed.

Knowledge and skill needs

We can see groups of countries with similar challenges in internationalisation. Improving international strategic partnerships, implementing internationalisation strategies, increasing outgoing student mobility and recruiting international students are the top challenges faced by European practitioners according to the EAIE Barometer.

European international education practitioners show a greater need for knowledge over skills; they hence indicate having adequate skills to perform their tasks but often lack appropriate knowledge of internationalisation to truly excel in their role. Practitioners report a high need to improve their knowledge of internationalisation trends, developing internationalisation strategy and external funding programmes – the latter being hardly surprising given the recent launch of the new EU-financed umbrella programme for education, Erasmus+.

The full report will be available in early 2015. Download the EAIE Barometer presentation here, and tweet any questions and insights using #EAIEBarometer.

This presentation of the EAIE Barometer is based on initial statistical analyses made by Ecorys. Due to further refinement of the analyses the presentation is different from an earlier version.