A social justice analysis of internationalization at a higher education institution.
In a broad sense the international dimension within higher education is referred to as internationalization. International students to some extent bring this dimension. Higher education institutions are rated for the number of international students and staff they accrue. Consequently internationalization within higher education is highly competitive. This competitive, global business seems to neglect internationalization approaches within higher education that promote global social transformation thereby curbing the commodification of international students under the guise of turbo capitalism. My study seeks to interrogate documents regarding internationalization at UKZN (University of KwaZulu-Natal) for more just and fair experiences for both local and international students. In analyzing UKZN’s model and approach to internationalization social justice theories and concepts are called upon. Relevant documents are critically analyzed through the lens of hierarchical relations of oppression, discrimination based of nationality status and unjust distribution of limited resources and opportunities. In this light social justice theories and approaches were tested and selectively applied contextually to advocate for more utilitarian ends. The findings indicate that the USA and US institutions seem to dominate global partnerships at UKZN; that international students were differentiated geographically for pricing regardless of academic interests, need or merit; that the events hosted by the international student office did not address social global transformation however promoted travel almost exclusively and that international students were given four times more working hours than locals. In addition access to some UKZN postgraduate scholarships had no written restrictions for international students, currently situated in a developing, grossly unequal society, South Africa. Although under the global yoke of nationalism and commercialism the study posits the possibilities for resistance against oppressive practices which divide, stimulate violence and breed exploitation. Thus, lowered social identification as well as considering the realities of globally pervasive citizenship rights while not ignoring the needs and merits of the international community at UKZN could result in richer exchanges between local and international students for more meaningful, progressive global social change.