Magazine article Times Higher Education

Germany Eyes Import-Export Model

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Germany Eyes Import-Export Model

Article excerpt

Aim to send 50% of students abroad by 2020 and boost foreign cohort at home. Jack Grove reports

Sending half of Germany's university students abroad for part of their studies by 2020 will give the country a major competitive advantage over other export-driven nations, a leading sector figure has claimed.

Sebastian Fohrbeck, director of internationalisation and communication at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which promotes German higher education abroad, dismissed fears that its plans for "a massive movement of students abroad" represented an "organised brain drain".

About a third of German students now undertake some of their degree study in another country, but ministers are keen to increase this to 50 per cent within six years, Dr Fohrbeck told a conference in London, which was jointly organised by the UK HE International Unit, the Institut Français and the DAAD, on 4 November.

In contrast, only 6 per cent of UK students will study abroad at some point, which is well below the European Union's goal of having a fifth of all students undertaking study outside their country by 2020.

On the rationale for investing millions of euros in study-abroad schemes, Dr Fohrbeck said it was a key part of Germany's industrial strategy, which requires highly skilled graduates to be able to operate across the world.

"The German economy is dependent on exports, which once made up 30 per cent of our economy, but now make up 50 per cent," he said.

"That is why we want to qualify our manpower and we are trying to make sure [graduates] are internationally qualified," he said, adding that "it is important to have political and economic networks worldwide". …

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