Shifting Borders
: A Case Study Of Internationalisation Of Education Within A Dutch School Group In Amsterdam

  • Boris Prickarts

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


AbstractTeachers working in international schools can be understood as gearing a student’s disposition towards the ability and preparedness to handle and value differences and diversity. The process of internationalisation of education implies a process of change pertaining to the mission, vision and delivery of education. In an effort to cope with a number of challenges from within and outside of the Netherlands, a Dutch School Group in Amsterdam embarked on a process of change by adopting an international dimension to the students’ experience. Instead of these schools becoming more similar to each other, i.e. converging towards an internationalising ‘master-viewpoint’, the schools’ alignment under pressure showed a process of ‘anisomorphism’: their education’s primary function, approach, tasks, role and objectives for society were changing into different internationalising directions. However, the pragmatic expectations and actions, particularly of the parents and the students, were creating new boundaries and rationales for the schools as bargaining zones. The ‘shifting borders’ between the schools were becoming more connected with a growing international focus, yet had different pragmatic and ideological implications for each of them. The result was that these borders became permeable, a nominal erosion of differences between the ‘international’ school selectively catering for children of internationally mobile families and the other schools catering for all children in the Netherlands. ‘International schools’ became places where students were trained to engage with difference and diversity and where the students had not necessarily been crossing geographical borders. This raises the issue of the role of education in a multicultural and globalising society, as –in this case- an increase in institutional diversity within the specific Dutch national context, and an increased uncertainty about the multiple aims of education, stretched the educational as well as social boundaries which constrain the futures for which students are being prepared.
Date of Award18 May 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorMary Hayden (Supervisor) & Jeff Thompson (Supervisor)


  • international education
  • Netherlands
  • Institutional theory
  • internationalisation
  • International schools
  • Critical Realism

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