As the phenomenon of globalization created new realities in the business and financial markets around the world, it also placed new demands on the educational process of students in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) in terms of knowledge, research, and practice. In order to face more effectively these new learning challenges, and therefore, create a new generation of graduates who could possess a new set of skills such as flexibility, mobility, and adjustability, HEI began to search for international recognition through academic excellence. Establishing new partner-ships with other HEI, participating to innovating programmes such as Lifelong Learning Program 2007-2013, and forging alliances with the private business sectors have all became primary functions of the International Relations Office (IRO) whose major mission now was theinternationalization of the academic profile of its institution.
In the same sense, our International Relations Office was created in 2012 with the primary purpose of promoting the internationalization of The Philips College through the establishment of cooperation, links and networks with other Higher Education Institutions both in Europe and around the World. In a world of constant changes, globalization of both labor and education has become a positive, driving force for establishing cooperation with other institutions as partners. Sharing of scientific knowledge, academic expertise, professional experiences, pedagogical practices, research skills are only a few of the major advantages gained through such educational alliances.
Committed to the overall mission statement of The Philips College about Quality Education based on European standards, the International Relations Office has succeeded in obtaining a European extended University Charter 2007-2013 in August 2007 which allowed the college to participate in the Lifelong Programme (LLP) 2007-2013 of the European Commission. In the same year, the International Relations Office created and supervised the Erasmus Office.
International (EU and Non-EU) Strategy
In a world that according to Heraclitus, “all things are in flax”, people must learn to adjust quickly to the new realities brought about by the globalization of labor and market places. As these new business and financial realities created new and demanding skills, the Higher Education had to re-define its role (for the sake of its graduates) so it can match with the times. Flexibility, mobility, adjustability, technological savvy are only a few of the new basic skills that students are called to master in order to survive at the workplace. Ideas such as lifelong learning, transfer of innovation, flow of knowledge are not accidental. In the same sense, modernization and internationalization of Higher Education are not fabricated phrases of abstract meaning but real policies that will create a “new order of things” in the educational arena both in Europe and around the world.
Rationale for an International Strategy
The new realistic and helpful approaches that are now being adopted that are now being provide the College with opportunities to start helpful and constructive relationships with international institutions which will widen the College’s horizons.
In its effort to design and implement an effective strategy for international cooperation, The Philips College has proposed the following strategic framework:
Through its participation in the Lifelong Learning Programme, The Philips College aims to establish an educational network with European and other international academic institutions that would create, promote, share, support, and encourage scientific (and professional) knowledge, research skills, and practical experiences. The ultimate aim of this network would be the improvement of quality in higher education around the world by raising the academic standards in terms of educational theory, teaching practices, learning styles, research skills and methods, and critical thought.
The Philips College has set the following objectives:
(1) To expose its staff and students to new learning styles, teaching methods, research skills, and new areas of research.
(2) To create for its students a more interesting and stimulating teaching environment.
(3) To enable its students adopt a more global mindset through the promotion of an in-depth understanding of the global economy and its competitive nature since this knowledge constitutes an important attribute for future success in any modern work environment.
(4) To introduce its students to the ideas of cross-cultural interaction, multicultural awareness, and cultural diversity.
(5) To encourage the development of critical thought and analytical skills among students as they are called to understand and explain crucial problems of their time in their social, political, and economical context.
The Philips College has decided to take the following actions:
(1) Accepting academic staff and students of European and non-European HEI with diverse educational, social, and cultural backgrounds.
(2) Exposing students of The Philips College to new ways of thought and perception by interacting them with other European and non-European staff and students as a way to increase their cultural awareness, expand their critical abilities, and develop further their interpersonal and social skills.
Target Groups of Mobility Activities
Committed by professional ethics (academic ethos), the principles of equality and fairness, the idea of social justice, and the belief a bias-free, non-discriminatory society, The Philips College focuses its interest on three (3) main target groups:
(a) A general group from the academic community such as academic staff, administrative staff, researchers, and students of all cycles.
(b) A specific group of professionals / experts coming from the business world, particularly from private enterprises / organizations.
(c) And students coming from under-represented and disadvantaged social groups of society due to socio-economic injustices.
Choosing Institutional Partners
Essential factors in the selection of an institutional partner are the following:
(1) its international profile
(2) its academic excellence as reflected through its academic standards
(3) the quality of its courses
(4) the quality of its research
(5) the quality of its staff’s and students’ academic level
(6) the compatibility of its courses with those of The Philips College
(7) its willingness to cooperate with mutual respect, understanding, and interest, and
(8) its innovating pedagogical practices, learning styles, and methods.
The geographical location of an institutional partner has never been an important criterion for establishing a collaboration with it. It is, however, recognized that institutions from various different countries contribute positively towards the internationalization of the college and the enrichment of its cultural diversity. It is well appreciated that staff and students from different social, cultural, and educational backgrounds enrich the academic life of any institution since they bring along with them unique knowledge, skills, and experiences.