28 Sep 2023

Hot topics and key conversations at #EAIE2023

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After two days of building skills and forging partnerships in Rotterdam, the third day of the 2023 EAIE Conference and Exhibition was bursting at the seams with the more than 60 sessions on offer. Fitness enthusiasts had a chance to start off the morning with some physical activity before a day of listening in on and participating in the most relevant conversations taking place in international higher education today.

The most ambitious early risers started day three of the Conference with a choice between the Morning Exercise and Early-bird Yoga, two mainstays of the EAIE Conference which encourage participants to keep health and wellness front and centre as they move through the week.

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From 9:30 onwards the programme was in full swing, and with so many sessions to choose from, there was a little something for everyone. From sessions on micro-credentials and green mobility, to discussions of ChatGPT and blended intensive programmes, Thursday’s sessions all engaged with the hottest topics and most pressing questions facing international education today.

Exemplary of this attention to key conversations at the EAIE Conference was a notable session on ‘Politics and policies of internationalisation: Ministers’ views’ held this afternoon. In this session, education ministers from Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Spain engaged in a moderated discussion about the role of national-level actors in shaping and sustaining countries’ international education landscapes.

The ministers discussed the importance of internationalisation and different approaches bridging the gap between policymaking and practice. "Governments should be willing to change regulations regarding degrees, and the way we look at funding," said Pedro Nuno Teixeira, the Secretary of State for Higher Education of Portugal. "But there's no point in changing policies at a national level if education institutions are not serious about taking advantage of those changes."

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‘Governments should be willing to change regulations regarding degrees, and the way we look at funding.’ – Pedro Nuno Teixeira, Secretary of State for Higher Education of Portugal

Another key conversation – and mainstay of the Annual Conference – was the EAIE Debate. This year’s argument was “Academics are the only drivers for internationalisation”, an assertion which served up spirited discussion among all those in attendance.

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"Since the twelfth century academics have played a crucial role in internationalisation," pointed out Louise Staunton, on the team in favour of the argument. "Although academics have an important role to play in internationalisation, they are absolutely in no way the sole drivers of it," argued Simone Hackett in opposition. After a good-natured, collegial debate with plentiful audience participation, in the end 56% of the audience voted in disagreement with the argument.

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‘Although academics have an important role to play in internationalisation, they are absolutely in no way the sole drivers of it.’ – Simone Hackett, the EAIE Debate

From the early morning fitness activities, to the evening Expert Community events, to all the sessions and activities in between, the Annual EAIE Conference is the place to engage in the key conversations shaping the international higher education sector in Europe and beyond.

If you want to continue adding your insights and perspectives on the most relevant topics affecting international higher education after the Conference, be sure to respond to the EAIE Barometer survey. The Barometer is the largest and most geographically representative study of its kind ever undertaken in Europe, and filling in the Barometer survey can influence future policy and practice within our field.

Which conversations have been key to your experience so far in Rotterdam? Share your Conference experiences on social media with the hashtag #EAIE2023!

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