RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

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204 Landscapes of Education - Migrations and Mobilities (1)
Affiliation Population Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Suzanne Beech (Ulster University, UK)
Johanna Waters (University College London, UK)
Chair(s) Johanna Waters (University College London, UK)
Timetable Thursday 30 August 2018, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Room Tower Building - Lecture Theatre 0.03
Session abstract Lately, geographies of education seem to have come alive to debates focusing on mobility and migration and how these affect and influence educational experiences. The scope of these mobilities can vary from more localised internal mobility, to international migrations designed to achieve the best possible education outcomes, to transnational education strategies put in place by education providers or governments, to name but a few. Research in this area has developed across the spectrum of education from primary through to higher education experiences.

Recognising this bounty, this session welcomes papers which address and capture the diversity of scholarship on educational migrations and mobilities, whether focusing on formalised or informal education and whether from the perspective of students, households, education practitioners and facilitators, or policy. Furthermore, given that these debates lend themselves both to quantitative and qualitative study, we encourage papers from all methodological perspectives.

Topics for consideration include but are not limited to:
• insights into mobility/migration in primary, secondary and tertiary education contexts;
• short term or credit-bearing mobilities;
• international student perspectives and experiences;
• transnational, internal and/or international student migration/mobilities;
• policies and strategies which facilitate education migrations;
• perspectives and insights from education providers, teachers and instructors.

Linked Sessions Landscapes of Education - Migrations and Mobilities (2)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
Centering the periphery: Rethinking internationalisation from Oceania
Vivienne Anderson (University of Otago, New Zealand)
Mainstream representations of internationalised higher education (HE) reflect a colonial logic that positions some (mainly ‘Western’) universities as central to global knowledge production, and others as peripheral. For example, university rankings use internationalisation as a proxy for quality, but privilege (Western) scientific research, and universities that use, and publish in, English. With the exception of New Zealand, Oceania, the island region connected by the Pacific Ocean, is absent from university rankings and internationalisation scholarship. Terms such as ‘Asia-Pacific Rim’ overlook the existence of the island nations of Oceania, positioning them as too small, too peripheral, and too parochial to feature as centres of inter-national engagement or serious knowledge production. This is despite the region’s geographical size, level of human mobility, linguistic and cultural diversity, and strategic geopolitical location. Internationalisation, as the movement of people and ideas across borders, has always been part of Oceanic life, and was central to formal university education in the region since its inception. However, colonial logics also structure the provision of university education within Oceania. For instance, English is privileged as the ‘academic language’; and European, North American and Australian ideologies and cultures shape education. ‘Development’ relationships draw Oceanic scholars to study in larger centres, away from their families and communities. In this paper, I reflect on contemporary representations of internationalisation in light of critical scholarship from the Oceania region. I ask how internationalisation practices, policies and pedagogies might be re-imagined through attention to voices from the so-called periphery of global knowledge production.
(Un)natural Selection: Skills mismatch and ‘the migration paradox’ of Israeli bio-brains
Nir Cohen (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)
Nurit Eyal (Israel Innovation Authority, Israel)
Interest in skills mismatch, namely imbalances that exist in the labor market between professional qualifications and competencies offered and needed, has risen over the last two decades. Increasing rates of educational attainment along with sluggish performance in many economies in the global North and South have resulted in a surplus of skilled, overeducated or overqualified workers. While research about the role of governments in (creating and) mitigating the mismatch has often centered on employment initiatives, relatively little attention has been paid to market needs and adequate educational and industrial training programs.
In this paper, we examine the nexus between skills mismatch, national educational/industrial policies, and brain circulation in Israel. Focusing on biology and the life sciences, we argue that migratory movements of highly-skilled Israelis have been fueled by vertical (level of education/qualification that is less or more than required) and horizontal (type/field of education or skills is inappropriate for the job) mismatches. Specifically, we show that whereas many ‘bio-brains’ out-migrate on account of their under-qualification (e.g., moving abroad for post-doctoral training), their return is often delayed - or prevented altogether - due to the incompatibility between their chosen fields of (academic) specialization and the meager supply of primarily industrial jobs available in the country’s biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Drawing on official statistical data and analysis of public policies towards the life sciences, the paper analyzes the structural forces behind Israel’s ‘Paradox of Migration’, which sees departing bio-scientists who are underqualified for academic positions turning into (potential) returnees who are largely over-qualified and inappropriately-trained for industrial jobs. The paper concludes by making constructive policy recommendations to resolve the paradox.
Education Migrations and Mobilities in and through Iskandar Malaysia: Urban Regional Development Policies, Entrepreneurial Agents, and Strategic Families
Sin Yee Koh (Monash University Malaysia, Malaysia)
Iskandar Malaysia is an economic corridor located at the southern tip of Peninsula Malaysia. One of the region’s key nodes is EduCity, a 350-acre educational cluster with prestigious international schools (covering kindergarten to pre-university), foreign university branch campuses, and private tertiary institutions. In recent years, middle-class families from neighbouring Singapore and further afield (especially East Asia) have embarked upon cross-border and transnational migrations to Iskandar Malaysia. These families are often attracted by the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) migration programme which offers a ten-year visa for the entire family, the availability of affordable and strategic educational pathways for their children (e.g. ‘transitional’ preparatory programmes for entry into Singapore’s public school system; less competitive routes to re-enter home country education systems; international school education as a spring board to renowned foreign universities), the availability of employment and business opportunities, affordable housing and cost of living, better quality of life, and the geographical proximity to Singapore.

Using the case of Iskandar Malaysia, this paper examines the myriad ways through which middle-class families partake in migrations and mobilities that revolve around education, lifestyle, and real estate property. I argue that these migrations and mobilities are made possible through (1) the broader urban regional development policies; (2) the entrepreneurial and innovative educational solutions offered by developers, agents and education providers; and (3) the strategic cross-border location of Iskandar Malaysia. Beyond this specific case study, I urge scholars of geographies of education to situate education migrations and mobilities to the broader contextual landscape of urban regional development.
The International Student Recruitment Fair: The Importance of Geography When Selling a Higher Education
Suzanne Beech (Ulster University, UK)
International student mobilities research often focuses on the perspective of the students, their experiences abroad, the factors leading to their mobility, and their plans thereafter. By comparison, little work reflects on the processes and geographies of their recruitment. This paper seeks to begin to redress this imbalance by offering an analysis of a series of international higher education recruitment fairs which took place in Hong Kong in July 2017. These are interesting events as they are one of the few times that multiple universities come together, with prospective students, in a single geographical location, making competitors who are normally absent present. This is therefore a highly competitive environment and universities are often able to make offers to students there and then which only adds to this complexity. The fairs attended were diverse and ranged from those organised by the likes of the British Council representing the full gamut of UK higher education opportunities, to those offering access to universities on a more global scale, to more boutique events hosted by individual education agents and with only a few universities represented. This paper will begin to unpick the complex relationships at these fairs, the interplay between the agents, the universities, and the students, and the role of geography when promoting higher education opportunities.
Understanding the determinants of how international student mobility influences occupational outcome
Allan Williams (University of Surrey, UK)
Hania Janta (University of Surrey, UK)
Calvin Jephcote (University of Surrey / University of Warwick, UK)
Gang Li (University of Surrey, UK)
Although there is a substantial and growing body of literature on student migration, much of the evidence is based on small or selective samples, and lacks control groups, such as comparisons to students who have not migrated and to other types of young international migrants. This paper addresses several gaps in our knowledge by drawing on the panel survey data of the H2020 project, YMOBILITY, on international youth and young adult mobility in nine contrasting EU member states: UK, Germany Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Romania and Latvia. It specifically addresses the following questions. First, what skills and competences have student migrants acquired, compared to labour migrants? Second, amongst graduates, to what extent does studying abroad influence occupational outcomes? Third, what is the relationship between the competences acquired abroad by students, and their post-return occupations? Fourth, to what extent do occupational outcomes vary across countries of origin and destination? Fifth, to what extent does the duration of student migration influence occupational outcomes? The findings are based on a range of statistical analyses, including multi-level models which control for socio-demographic and socio-psychological factors.