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DAAD releases six-year international strategy

The government-funded German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Germany has recently released its Strategy 2020 which outlines the organisation’s plan to support German institutions to meet future challenges in global education and significantly grow inbound enrolments.

Currently 280,000 foreign students are studying in Germany but the strategy aims to attract 350,000 in the next six years

Currently around 280,000 foreign students are studying in Germany, but the strategy  aims to attract 350,000 in the next six years.

Supporting German students abroad is another key element to the strategy, with the goal to increase the number of domestic graduates with a study abroad experience from 30% to 50% by 2020.

“Energy, water and climate change which cannot be solved by one country or one university”

The measures also include increasing scholarships for foreign and domestic students and expanding DAAD’s on-the-ground presence in markets worldwide.

“We think internationalisation today is really very important for several reasons,” Dorothea Rüland, General Secretary at DAAD told The PIE News.

“We need internationalisation to do research on all the big global challenges like energy, water and climate change which cannot be solved by one country or one university and we have to prepare our young students to work and live in such an international environment.”

DAAD identifies future challenges for international education that it feels it “must be prepared to meet”. They include the increasing demand for academic instruction combined with practical application,  a shift in global academic hubs away from the North Atlantic region to China and Korea and a technologically-driven evolution in learning forms.

To answer these issues, DAAD’s strategy will focus on scholarships for exceptional students and researchers mostly going toward supporting foreign Masters and PhD students.

In the last year, the organisation spent €430 million supporting more than 100,000 domestic and foreign students. After elections at the end of last year, the budget for this year will not be finalised in parliament until June but Rüland says she’s hopeful that the figure will increase from last year.

“In general our governments have a very strong focus on education and research so I’m quite optimistic,” she commented.

The organisation also plans to improve its marketing and information distribution tactics in order to increase foreign enrolments. English-taught courses have become a trend among German universities, according to Rüland, who expects institutions to extend them further especially at the Master and PhD level.

DAAD will encourage more German institutions to recognise credits from abroad

In order to reach the goal of having half of all domestic students graduate with a foreign study experience, DAAD will encourage more German institutions to recognise credits from abroad.

Rüland added that certain groups of students aren’t as mobile as others.”The demand is there among students studying the humanities, social sciences and medicine, but we have to work on students who want to be future teachers and engineers and students from universities of applied science for example,” she said.

“We should concentrate on certain target groups where we think there is more potential for going abroad.”

DAAD also intends to provide more in-country consultation on how to collaborate with German institutions by expanding its network of 15 branch offices and over 50 information centres worldwide.

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