The Interpretation and Translation of Global Ideas into Local Practices : A Study of the Internationalisation of Higher Education in Mozambique

Abstract: Internationalisation and its components, such as curriculum internationalisation and international partnerships, have evolved over time in the context of higher education. In this thesis, such terminologies are addressed as global ideas of internationalisation because internationalisation is described as a global, intentional and inclusive concept in higher education, even though it is understood to have been pursued under coercion and contestation in Africa and elsewhere. Widely researched in the Western setting, there has been a dearth of studies on internationalisation and its components in sub-Saharan African countries, as very little scholarship has attempted to analyse the phenomena in the context of the postcolonial condition.This thesis explores the interpretation and translation of the global ideas of internationalisation in Mozambican higher education. The study is primarily qualitative, and data were elicited from higher education policymakers, managers and academics, as well as document analysis and a web-based questionnaire. The overarching research question guiding the study is, ‘How are the global ideas of internationalisation interpreted and translated into local practices in Mozambican higher education’? The findings reveal that the global ideas of internationalisation are interpreted in various ways across the Mozambican higher education system. For instance, it is interpreted as a phenomenon comprising a set of inward and outward movements of students and university staff globally with the purpose of teaching, learning and research. Moreover, it is also understood as involving a set of cooperation and partnership activities and as the homogenisation of academic procedures and processes. Nonetheless, despite the divergence of its interpretation, there is convergence in how the interpretation insights maintain the patterns of the Global North, shaped by its epistemic influences, ideas and worldviews.The study highlights the need for more translation and decolonisation approaches across the interpretation, policies and practices of internationalisation and its components in Mozambican higher education to account for the underlying and complex realities of the country and give priorities to the local, national and regional contexts.

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