The “Practoraat”: Internationalization for everyone 

With a presentation titled Internationalization for everyone”, the “Practoraat” Internationalisation officially started last Monday, November 16, 2020. 

practoraat is a practical research environment within Dutch mbo (secondary vocational education) with a leader called practor in which practice-oriented research contributes to the quality of education. There are several practoraten in The Netherlands (see www.practoraten.nl only in Dutch). 

The “Practoraat” Internationalisation is carried out by two Regional Education Centers: ROC van Twente and ROC Mondriaan. Mrs. Babet Hoeberigs is the practor and gives substance to the developments at both ROC’s. 

Despite and perhaps also thanks to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the practoraat is becoming more and more meaningful. After all, the average of 7% mbo-students (Nuffic 2019) who went abroad for at least 14 days for an internship or study (trajectory) is minimalised. Nevertheless, having the knowledge, skills, and attitude to be able to act in an international or diverse labour market remains important, also in the near future. Whether in your own country through the meeting and collaboration with an ever-greater variety of people or with internationally operating companies. 

The core of the practoraat is to contribute to internationalisation, and then for everyone! Internationalisation is a means of preparing students for learning, living, and working in a world that is interdependent, seen from an international context. 

The first step to integrating “internationalisation” into education is to decide what are your aims in this area with their education, and talk with colleagues and students about the intercultural and international dimensions of society and about their study and their future labour market. These dimensions are partly related to the domain of the study program and both the institutional and regional context. 

What do we think about when it comes to learning outcomes? 

An experience abroad teaches students certain knowledge, skills and attitudes that are important for their future. In fact, certain returns correspond to things that employers seem to value in their (future) employees. Nuffic has developed an interesting competence model (available at this link) in which these benefits are grouped into three categories: international orientation, intercultural competences, and self-development. In addition, there are organisations that try to map out what the labour market of the future requires. Think of the ILO (www.ilo.org), the European Union, and Accenture. This results in overviews of relevant skills. These can help to discuss the necessary international and intercultural learning outcomes that you want to focus on in a study program. The practoraat also keeps eyes and ears open from other angles, such as social analyses and interesting scientific insights. 

The aim is not to offer fragmented internationalisation activities to students. The point is that planned internationalisation goals are woven into education. That choices are made about what you want to achieve and how you can achieve this in a study program. Internationalisation activities can then be chosen to give substance to them at various places in the training. This method also provides added value for those who cannot go abroad: Internationalisation@Home. 

Attention to teacher professionalisation is essential in this respect. The practoraat hopes to contribute to this process in various ways. Entering this process of internationalising learning outcomes with discussions with teachers and working with students and internationalisation activities makes internationalisation for everyone.

Source of the picture: unsplash.com