Introduction and Literature ReviewSouth African education policies place priority on addressing historical education imbalances, but should also be sensitive to the demands of an ever-increasing global knowledge-driven environment. The educational system cannot be dominated by the needs of the domestic educational system of South Africa ignoring the trends exerted by the global world (OEDC Annual Report, 2004:44). Higher education in South Africa should realize that they operate and function in a knowledge-driven global environment in which both domestic and foreign students demand access to the best quality education at the best reputable institutions of higher education in the world.In this regard, most definitions of internationalization of higher education include the following: “Internationalisation is a process that prepares the community for successful participation in an increasingly interdependent world … The process infuse all facets of the post-secondary education system, fostering global understanding and developing skills for effective living and working in a diverse world” (Francis, 1993 cited by Patrick, 1997).The position of higher education in South Africa should be evaluated considering the re-integration of South Africa into the global community. South Africa was rapidly re-integrated into the world community by obtaining almost immediate membership of influential international organisations after 1994. Kishun (1998:59) indicated that South Africa became a member of among others the following international institutions: United Nations; Organisation of African Unity; Commonwealth; International Olympic Committee; Federation of International Football Associations; and Lome Convention. Integration of influential international institutions is a necessary but not sufficient pre-condition for internationalization of higher education. Sustainable internationalization should be closely aligned to the emerging global trends and events in the education sector.An analysis of the basis on which internationalization of higher education occurs is needed as well as the benefits of the internationalization process. This research is conducted against this background.Problem StatementWhilst South Africa is in a process of transition regarding higher education to address the imbalances of the past, the question arises whether the South African educational sector is able to compete in the global economy which regard knowledge as a commercialised commodity.MethodologyA sample size of 781 respondents from six institutions of higher education in South Africa was selected. Senior students were randomly selected using the convenience sampling technique. A semi-structured questionnaire was developed to measure the perceived competitive profile of institutions of higher education in South Africa. The questionnaire constitutes five measuring foci, namely:· Section A: Institutional information regarding the location where the respondent is enrolled.· Section B: Biographical information in terms of gender, type of student and country of origin.· Section C: Decision criteria used to select an institution of higher education.· Section D: Four competitive dimensions of higher education institutions, including strategic competitiveness, institutional competitiveness, product competitiveness, and tactical competitiveness.· Section E: Open-ended questions, aimed to identify the reasons why respondents choose a specific institution of higher education, their opinion on the institution’s competitive reputation, and the factors that may influence the international competitiveness of the particular institution.The data was transformed into two opposite categories, namely those who agreed with the statements and those who disagreed, enabling the researchers to derive a hypothesized agreement-disagreement distribution. Those who neither agreed nor disagreed were allocated to the disagreement group set giving and expected disagreement response set of 57% (p=0.57) and an agreement response set of 43% (q=0.43). The Binomial test was employed to determine whether the observed distribution correspond with the hypothesized distribution using a significance test level of 0.05. Furthermore, the level of agreement or disagreement with the selected competitive statements and the extend of agreements between the respondents from the different institutions on the various statements were determined by executing four statistical procedures, namely: ANOVA to compare the means of respondents from the different institutions; determining how much of the perception variation could be accounted for by the influence of the different institutions of higher education; determining the averages for each strategic dimension to obtain an indication of the level of agreement with the competitive statements; and determining the standard deviations to obtain an indication of the extend to which consensus exists within the sample.FindingsWith regard to the strategic competitiveness of South African institutions of higher education to engage in a seamless network the respondents were of the opinion that South African institutions of higher education give low priority to attract foreign students, are not well known for attracting foreign students, are not actively involved in exchange programmes of students and lecturers, and do not have active engagements or agreements with other tertiary institutions, businesses and communities.On the issue of institutional competitiveness, the majority of respondents were of the opinion that institutions of higher education in South Africa have the ability to attract quality students, does not have an international student culture, offers qualifications that are internationally accepted, can claim international reputability on post-graduate level, offers competitive tuition fees, deliver research outputs that are internationally recognized, and are not easily accessible.In terms of product competitiveness the majority of respondents indicated that institutions of higher education in South Africa have active orientation programmes to familiarise foreign and domestic students with the institutions, provide safe and secure learning environments, provide leading information technology for academic growth and excellence, do not easily adapt to the needs and wants of students, and provide convenient service packages to students.With regard to tactical competitiveness institutions of higher education in South Africa have the ability to compile a diploma or degree offering that meets or exceeds international standards in terms of offering subject content of international standard, having internationally acclaimed staff, aggressively marketing its qualifications internationally, claiming international acceptable through-put, and having acceptable grant and loan schemes accessible to students.Conclusion and RecommendationsThe majority of respondents are in agreement that institutions of higher education in South Africa are able to compete internationally on the four competitive dimensions (strategic, institutional, tactical and product). Internationalisation requires that institutions of higher education in South Africa should emphasise a somewhat loosening of the relationship with Government, despite the paradoxical need to create new transformational bodies to address the imbalances of the past. Internationalisation of higher education implies that internationalised institutions operate on new super ordinate levels which has its own legal, administrative and revenue-raising powers.In terms of strategic direction institutions of higher education might consider at least one of the following internationalization approaches:· “Would-be internationalization”: Applies to academics and institutions wanting to be involved in internationalization but facing problems in being considered on equal terms.· “Life or death internationalization”: Countries, their academics and institutions, which view internationalization cooperation as indispensable for their status and role in the global world.· “Two areas”: Academics and institutions have the option of striving for either more national or more international status and orientation. The academic field in which one is operating often determines this.· “Internationalisation by import”: Countries and institutions that treat internationalization only as coming from outside, by hosting foreign students and publishing research. It should not represent a separate strategy towards internationalisation.ReferencesKishun, R. 1998. Internationalization in South Africa. In The globalization of Higher Education. Scott, P. ed. Buckingham: Open University Press.OECD Annual Report. 2004. Education. p.41-45.Patrick, K. 1997. CSDF project full report: Internationalising the University. Melbourne: RMIT.
Education is no longer considered a privilege. In most jurisdictions, ‘education’ is considered as an indispensable part of a child’s rights.In the UK, education has always commanded a high priority in the society. The government, in turn, has always adopted a liberal education policy, as highlighted from the laws of the land. That’s why the concept of Home Education (HE) has always been an integral part of society in the UK.Why Home Education?Due to a multicultural and plural society as prevalent in the UK, the reasons for parents to opt for Home Education may vary. Some of the common factors influencing parents’ decisions regarding the educational needs of their children include:- Religious, philosophical, or spiritual compulsions
– Unsatisfactory school system
– Lack of suitable schools in the locality
– To meet the specific and/or special needs of some children, like those suffering from diseases such as Cerebral Palsy, autism etc.
– Failure of child and school management to effectively tackle certain conditions in school, like bullying, corporal punishment etc.
– Financial reasons etc.Recently, the Parental Responsibility has emerged as one of the major reasons for Home-Educating children in the UK. More and more parents are trying to learn the art of true parenthood and are relishing the additional responsibility of being (actually) responsible for the growth of the thought process in the child.Whatever may be the compelling circumstances, Home Education is here to stay, and is being increasingly preferred in the UK. An estimated 100,000 children between the ages of 5 and 16 are being given Home Education by their parents in the United Kingdom, and the figure is likely to increase in the coming years.Benefits of Home EducationHome Education (tutorial-based teaching) has several advantages over classroom education (instructions-based teaching). Some of these include:1. The child tends to receive individualistic and far more attention at home than at school.
2. Comfortable home environment in the company of parents gives the child an ideal environment to learn.
3. The absence of awe-inspiring teachers means quick feedback from the child to assess his/her learning capabilities.
4. The Child can learn at their own pace, and follow their own curriculum and interests.
5. Enhanced self-motivation and self-discipline in the child.
6. Instilment of parental values instead of peer values in the child.
7. Cultivation of courage to arrive at independent decisions.
8. Avoid destructive competition in search of better grades from the peers and fellow students.
9. Special children need special attention that can only be provided under home conditions.
10. Above all, as a parental responsibility of teaching your child, nothing is more beneficial and satisfactory than to take complete responsibility of your child’s education.Shortcomings of Home EducationOne must also consider some disadvantages of Home Education before deciding the academic future of the child. Some of these include:1. Non-development of social skills due to the absence of interaction with peers and teachers.
2. Special expertise and skills required to teach may be lacking in the parents. Moreover, they might not be abreast of the latest technologies and teaching aids that might help the child learn better.
3. Even both the parents combined may not know all the subjects required for the proper education of the child.
4. Parents may ultimately spend a considerable amount of time equipping themselves with the skills to teach their child; thus, losing out on the chance to supplement the family income.
5. Laboratories, gyms, and other facilities provided by school authorities may not be accessible from home.
6. A child’s progress will not be adequately monitored, especially as they do not have to follow the National Curriculum or take SATs.Home Education in UK – Legal AspectThe UK is divided into different legal jurisdictions. For instance, there are different sets of laws applicable in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. However, substantially, all these jurisdictions follow similar legal principles and postulates, with minor variations.Home Education has legal sanction in all three regions in the UK. Section 7 of the Education Act 1996 (England and Wales), Sections 30 of Education (Scotland) Act 1980, and Article 45 of Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986, are the relevant legal provisions that provide the requisite teeth to the concept of Home Education in the UK.Here is the summary of these legalities as applicable in the UK:Only ‘education’ is compulsory under UK laws and not ‘schooling.’No qualification is prescribed for the parents desirous of giving Home Education to their child.Parents are at absolute liberty to decide how they want their child to be educated at home.No compulsion of following the National Curriculum or observing school hours.Parents must ensure that their child receives an efficient full time education, suitable to his/her age, ability and aptitude, and to any special educational needs the child may have.Parents are not legally obligated to inform the Local Education Authority (LEA) when they decide to educate their children at home. If the child has never been registered at a State school, or if you move to an area served by another LEA, you are not obliged to notify the LEA, although you may do so if you wish. If you are taking your child out of a state school in England or Wales, the head teacher must remove the child’s name from the register and inform the LEA. If your child has special needs and attends a special school, you need permission to deregister.However, if you are withdrawing your child from a State school in Scotland, the LEA must be informed.No special Government grants are available for Home Education in UK.No formal tests are required to pass by the child. However, the LEA may ask for information informally at intervals to monitor your child’s progress.There is no prohibition on the Home Education of a statemented child provided he/she is not attending a special school, in which case you need the consent of the LEA.Home-Educated children can take GCSEs as private candidates or as students of correspondence courses. However, it is not compulsory to take GCSEs.To address the concern for social deprivation of Home-Educated children, in many areas, home educators meet regularly for social, educational, and other activities. Children also attend clubs, classes, sporting and leisure activities in the community. Children get to interact with people of all ages as well as their peers.