Remaking international higher education for an unequal world

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Prior to the current global health crisis, the value, and benefits of international education for different social groups have been questioned. Critics of the internationalisation of education emphasise that international student mobility only favours the elites in society but has disadvantaged for those groups with less fortunate socioeconomic status. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading scholars in the field of international higher education believe that a broad-based global crisis for higher education has emerged, of which one major consequence is intensifying inequality in education during and after the pandemic crisis. This article sets out against the COVID-19 pandemic crisis context to critically examine whether and how Asian students would continue going abroad for studies. Special attention is given to those major factors that shape the destination choices of students and their desire for international education. Based on a survey on Asian students' overseas learning preferences, this article reflects upon the future of international higher education from the geo-political and socio-psychological perspectives. This article also highlights the major challenges that hinder international higher education development and draws crucial lessons from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on such a development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-246
Number of pages17
JournalHigher Education Quarterly
Issue number2
Early online date13 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Prof. ZHU Yuefeng and Dr. ZHU Yidan for their support of this research work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • educational inequality
  • inclusive education
  • international student mobility
  • sustainable development
  • teaching and learning


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