WENR, April 2016: Asia-Pacific

Chinese outbound growth slows as returnee numbers rise

The growth in numbers of students leaving China to study abroad may be slowing, the latest Ministry of Education statistics show. The number of outbound students reached 523,700 in 2015. This represented a 13.9 percent increase over the year prior. Growth rates were faster than those in  2014, but were significantly lower than the 19.1 percent  average annual growth over the four decades since 1978, when economic and political reforms first re- opened the country’s borders.

The PIE News
March 29

Investigation: New reports of cheating on admissions tests spark enrollment concerns in the U.S.

A Reuters investigation has found that the New York-based College Board, which issues the SAT, has suffered a far greater number of security breakdowns in Asia than had previously been reported. Reuters reports that “a confidential PowerPoint presentation reveals that College Board officials had documented widespread security problems in June 2013… half of the SATs in inventory at the time had been ‘compromised.’” Leaked tests were administered in a number of East Asian markets. Testing in China, the SAT’s largest market, was not restricted at all. Some 29,000 Chinese students took the test in 2013/14. With some 125,000 mainland Chinese undergraduates now attending U.S. universities, admissions officers say they are experiencing “‘huge new level of distrust,’ about the validity of international scores.”

Reuters
March 28

Oblique laws make Chinese higher education partnerships tough

In an effort to improve the quality of Sino-foreign joint programs, China’s ministry of education tightened laws on transnational partnerships in 2014. Practitioners in the United Kingdom say the changes have created a “lack of transparency” that makes such partnerships almost impossible to execute. The charges emerged during a workshop at the British Council’s first U.K.-China Education Policy Week, March 14 to 20. Earlier in the week, organizations in the U.Kk and China issued a joint statement of principles aimed at enhancing the quality of transnational education (TNE) programs between the countries. The Beijing Statement includes a commitment to develop regular channels of communication to support sharing data and information.

Times Higher Education
March 28

New Zealand revamps agent code to better serve international students

New Zealand issued an updated code of practice that code seeks to foster fair agent dealings and address student supports. The government also released a “contract disputes resolution scheme” designed to benefit international students. The new code will come into effect in July of 2015. A comment period will enable industry providers to contribute to the new guidelines.

The PIE News
March 23

Outbound Chinese students attracted by more than prestige, say experts

Chinese students applying to institutions of higher education are less focused on elite schools and more on “‘teaching quality and student satisfaction scores,’ according to the director of the British Council in China.” The British Council’s U.K.-China Education Policy Week March 14 to 20 followed on the heels of disappointing data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency earlier this year. British higher education institutions were rattled by data showing that the number of Chinese students starting courses at U.K. universities was flat between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Times Higher Education
March 21

 

Chinese students’ path to the Ivies: Whatever it takes

What does it take to be one of the handful of U.S.-based students from China who make it to the Ivies? “The competition to get into elite American universities has become so fierce that wealthy Chinese families prepare their children at ever younger ages,” writes author Brook Larmer. “Shang Learning, which trains 9- to 15-year-olds, charges about $23,000 to guide students through the year of their applications to boarding schools… In a highly competitive environment where families are often flying blind, admissions consultants exert an outsized influence over the application process. Many agents take money both from families seeking admission and from universities trying to recruit full-tuition-paying students. The agents, in turn, pay high schools to funnel students toward their services.”

1843 Magazine
March 17

Chinese higher education sector grows at breakneck pace

China has been building the equivalent of almost one university per week, and churning out huge numbers of graduates. India is another powerhouse, especially when it comes to graduates in the so-called STEM-fields. By 2030, China and India could account for more than 60 percent of the STEM graduates in major global economies, compared with only eight percent in Europe and four percent in the United States.

BBC News
March 16

 

Malaysia: The race to attract 250,000 international students by 2025

In April 2015 Malaysia’s prime minister issued a higher education blueprint, and committed to expanding the country’s international student population to 250,000 by 2025. The government-led effort appears to be working: Among all countries globally, Malaysia now has among the highest ratios of international students. Newly reported data shows that some 10 percent of students studying in that Malaysia are international.

University World News
March 11

China’s second-tier universities told to provide employable skills

The rapid growth of China’s higher education sector has led to a multi-tier system with a handful of elite institutions at the top and a raft of second- and third-tier institutions beneath. Now China’s education minister is pressing the country’s second-tier universities to revise their curricula to focus on technical and applied skills that “match [China’s] economy and industries.” A record 7.65 million Chinese college students are expected to graduate from college this year. Without jobs, they may become a significant source of social instability.

AP
March 10

 

Sri Lanka may emerge as a supplier of growing importance

Sri Lanka has all the hallmarks of an important emerging player in the international education market: A high percentage of its population is under 24 and is expected to have one of the top ten fastest-growing tertiary enrollments through 2025. But only about 10 percent of those who take university entrance exams each year can be accommodated. That means Sri Lankan mobility rates may escalate. Australia and the U.K. are both well positioned to reap the benefits, but experts say that Canada and the U.S. may also attract increased numbers of Sri Lankan students.

ICEF Monitor
March 8

 

Singapore students: Bound for Australia, and for top-tier U.S. Schools

The Straits Times reports that 4,727 Singaporeans were enrolled in U.S. education institutions last year – a three percent increase over the previous year and the highest figure in 10 years. Most attended top-tier institutions such as Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, and the University of California, Berkeley. About half are undergraduates; almost one third are postgraduate students. Australia’s declining dollar, meanwhile, is likely to attract rising numbers of Singaporeans to that country’s higher education sector as well, say experts.

University World News
March 5

China sets sights on university partnerships

China is using international university partnerships to cement its increasing importance on both regional and global stages. To further that goal, the National Plan for Medium- and Long-term Education Reform and Development, 2010-2020 states that China will “further open education” through “promoting international exchanges and cooperation, introducing quality education resources abroad and upgrading exchanges and cooperation.” Institutions have accepted that challenge. One school, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, has signed cooperative agreements with some 305 overseas universities across more than 43 countries or regions. As of 2015, it offered 180 international programs for students, including 56 joint and dual degree programs.

University World News
March 4

India: 20 world-class universities proposed

India’s finance minister recently unveiled a plan to establish 20 universities as world-class teaching and research institutions. He also announced a new funding agency to manage public and private funding for higher education infrastructure.” An enabling regulatory architecture would be provided for 10 public and 10 private institutions,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. Detailed plans have yet to be unveiled.

University World News
March 1

Posted in Asia Pacific, Regional News Summaries