WENR, December 2016: Asia Pacific

New Zealand: Visa Crackdown on Indian Students Threatens Survival of Some Private HEIs

Immigration New Zealand issued 3,102 study visas to Indian students between July and October of this year — just half as many as in the same period last year. The Auckland International Education Group, which represents 16 private tertiary institutions, says the drop is catastrophic. Independent Tertiary Education New Zealand represents several hundred private tertiary institutions. It says that high-quality institutions will continue to thrive, although others may be forced to shut down. Tighter rules were put in place as part of an effort to ensure that Indian students in New Zealand have the funds and English language skills to thrive. Last month, officials announced crackdowns on schools where admitted students from India were refused visas at higher than average rates. New Zealand is, along with the United States, Australia, Canada, and the U.K., a top destination for outbound Indian students.

Radio New Zealand
November 30

Southeast Asia: UNESCO Pushes for International Outlook and Quality in Growing Higher Ed Sector

With 1.7 million Asia Pacific students studying abroad in 2013 many at institutions in neighboring countries, internationalization of the region’s higher education sector is happening, whether regional institutions are ready or not. But at a November meeting of UNESCO’s Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok,  officials discussed the need to simplify and standardize a list of indicators of higher education internationalization for the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN, plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. (ASEAN members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.) The most widely accepted indicators of internationalization now mainly focus on percentage of international research collaborations and jointly published papers, student exchanges, and mobility and proportion of international staff and researchers. Meeting participants are not seeking to reinvent the wheel, but rather create a tool for consistent self-assessment, said one participant, as different countries seek to position themselves as emerging international education hubs.

University World News
November 25

India: Cash Crunch Affects Students at Indian Universities

Withdrawal of high denomination currency, which made up more than 80 percent of currency in circulation across India, left students and others scrambling to adjust. On November 8, India announced that higher denomination banknotes would no longer be legal tender and had to be immediately exchanged for new notes or smaller denomination notes. The sudden change, which happened in the middle of exam season, left many students unable to pay for books, tuition, exam fees, and other academic necessities.

University World News
November 25

Hong Kong: Government Audit Says International Student Population is Too Homogeneous

A recent government audit found that 76 percent of non-local students in Hong Kong’s theoretically global-minded universities are from mainland China. Overall, the number of non-local students in public universities grew 56 percent between 2010-11 and 2015-16, when it totaled 15,730. Non-local students make up about 16 percent of Hong Kong’s total public university enrollment. Hong Kong’s universities say it is difficult to attract more international students because of the cost of living–affordable university housing is in limited supply, and market rate housing is extremely expensive.

University World News
November 23

China: Most International Branch Campuses now Located in China

China edged out the United Arab Emirates as the host country with the most international branch campuses (IBC), according to a recent trends analysis from the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE). Other countries with sizable numbers of IBCs include Singapore, Malaysia, and Qatar. U.S. and UK institutions are the top exporters of branch campuses, accounting for more than 40 percent of IBCs. OBHE states that there are currently 76 countries with ICBs, enrolling an estimated 180,000 students.

ICEF Monitor
November 22

Malaysia: Government to Establish National Ph.D. Registry to Combat Fraud

The Malaysian Higher Education Ministry announced that it will establish a national registry for doctoral degrees in order to deter the issuing of bogus credentials and prevent fraudulent use of academic titles. The registry will be open to the public. The move comes after University Malaya took legal action against a prominent motivational speaker who claimed to hold a doctoral degree from the university.

Malaysiandigest.com
November 7

Australia: Education Exports Grew Strongly in 2015/16

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a further increase in spending on international education, the country’s third-largest export after iron ore and coal. International students in 2015/16 spent more than USD $15 billion on fees, goods and services offered by Australian providers, boosting spending by six percent over 2014/15. The increase is to a large extent caused by growing enrollments of Chinese students which rose by 17 percent in 2016. Higher education institutions accounted for almost 70 percent of spending due to higher fees and longer terms of study in the higher education sector. Growth in the ESL sector was marginal, by comparison, but ESL providers are watching the impact of the Brexit vote and the Trump presidency, looking for opportunities in 2016/17.

The ICEF Monitor
November 28

China: New Law Bans Private For-Profit Middle Schools

China has passed a law banning private for-profit schools that cater to middle-school students. The move seeks to curb western-style education and reinforce government-sanctioned curricula. Increasing demand for education programs that prepare Chinese students for university education abroad has led to a proliferation of private schools in China, many of them international. China’s state-run media has criticized these schools for insufficient focus on Chinese subjects and for delivering curricula of “questionable content.” Some educators fear that that the new law, which goes into effect in 2017, will leave Chinese students less prepared to study abroad as schools may be forced to close down or restructure.

University World News
November 9

Taiwan: New Plan Increases Target Number of International Students by More Than 50 Percent

Taiwan’s Minister of Education announced plans to double the number of foreign students in Taiwan to a total of 58,000 students by 2019. Taiwan intends to attract additional students by targeting India and the ASEAN countries. The government also intends to raise the country’s regional profile by making Taiwan a regional hub for Mandarin language education, and helping Taiwanese universities set up transnational programs and offshore campuses in Southeast Asia. The measures seek to counteract the declining the college-age population in Taiwan.

ICEF Monitor
November 8

China: Student Interest in MOOCs Exploding

The MOE expects the number of MOOC enrollments in China to reach more than 10 million for the year of 2016. That is an increase of over 70 percent compared to 2014 ,when 5.75 million Chinese students registered for MOOCs. And it represents a massive increase compared to 2014 when only 1.5 million students enrolled in these courses. Further increases in MOOC enrollments are expected. So far only 30 universities are offering MOOCs. Ninety percent of universities and colleges have yet to develop these courses. The MOE sees untapped market potential for MOOCs, especially in the sector of vocational training.

The PIE News
November 30

Posted in Asia Pacific, Regional News Summaries