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Stakeholders' perceptions of the internationalisation of a university of technology
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the internationalisation of higher education at a university of technology in a developing country, from the perspectives of institutional stakeholders. The study was conducted at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) and took the form of a case study. It endeavoured to investigate the present status of internationalisation at the university and the practices through which it was achieved, as they were perceived by all of stakeholders. It was undertaken with the rationale of making a meaningful contribution to the available literature pertaining to the internationalisation of higher education in general, particularly in relation to the perceptions of those who implement its strategies and benefit from them, with specific emphasis on South Africa. An exploratory study of this nature has the potential to provide those who are tasked with formulating policy for higher education with invaluable information and it was deemed to be appropriate in the absence of a customised national framework for the internationalisation of higher education in South Africa. A mixed methods research design, which employed both qualitative and quantitative research methods, was adopted. The qualitative data was gathered from sources such as official documents and archival records and also from interviews with 11 informants, namely, 5 foreign senior students, the deans of 2 faculties, 2 members of the academic staff, and 2 officials who worked in the office of international affairs. During the same period two separate online survey questionnaires were administered to 222 students and 177 members of the academic and administrative staff. The respondents represented different groups of stakeholders at the university and were purposively selected by applying predetermined criteria. The interviews were transcribed and their content was analysed through the use of Nvivo software, in order to identify themes which could contribute to the findings from which the conclusions were drawn. The findings pertaining to the nature of internationalisation at CPUT could have significant implications for other universities of technology in South Africa. Although researchers have identified a distinct shift in the rationale for internationalisation. South African universities, such as CPUT, internationalisation agendas are pursued mainly in the interests of deriving academic benefits, is also used to improve the quality of education, achieving excellence in research, attaining international standards, and acquiring international profiles. However, it is to be anticipated that as the international reputation of the university grows in response to the quality of its education and research, financial priorities will become increasingly prominent. This study was conducted to contribute to a growing body of research concerning the internationalisation of higher education in South Africa. By conducting a case study of an institution which is considered to be a previously disadvantaged South African university, it is to be hoped that this study would prompt future research in the field.