WENR, Jan./Feb. 2002: Asia/Pacific
Funding Crisis in Education Has Many Worried
Last fall, students, faculty and university administrators around the country made it clear to the government: Make education a priority. The demand was backed by much of the business community, including media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who called for greater investment in education.
Academic deans from several colleges demanded that the government increase spending in all levels of education by more than US$10 billion. The nation currently spends 4.3 percent of its gross domestic product on education; the average is 5 percent for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The fear is that without substantial support for education, Australia will not be able to meet the demands of the new economy.
The deans also pointed out that the funding crisis was adversely affecting vocational education and practical training programs, and that 86,000 Australians were unable to gain access to institutions of higher education in 2000.
Oct. 26, 2001
Joint Venture to Offer Educational TV
Pearson PLC, an international educational publisher, announced plans to form a joint venture with CTV Media, China’s largest television broadcaster, to provide educational services to 350 million television households by March.
The venture, to be called Pearson CTV Media, will broadcast four television programs that will offer conversational English to Cantonese and Mandarin speakers. Lessons will be supplemented with online and audio course materials.
Nov. 20, 2001
Efforts Under Way to Promote Educational Development
The Ministry of Education predicts that Chinese institutions of higher education will recruit 4.65 million new students this year, up 5 percent from last year. China began to expand college enrollments in 1999 to help spur economic development by providing young people with more educational opportunities.
In 2001, 13 million students were enrolled in colleges and universities in China, representing a nearly 90 percent increase over 1998.
Universities and colleges also upgraded their curriculums in 2001 to meet the demands of an increasingly globalized economy. At least 35 universities have established computer software institutes to train specialists in computer science, which are desperately needed.
Basic education has also improved. Statistics indicate that more than 85 percent of the country’s population has received some form of education at the primary- and middle-school level. Starting last year, information technology was being introduced as a compulsory subject at junior and senior middle schools in urban areas. It is expected that by 2005 all junior middle schools in the countryside and primary schools in more developed areas will offer information technology courses.
Efforts are also under way to facilitate educational development in less developed areas. Peking University and Tsinghua University, in addition to 12 other universities, are lending support to14 of their counterparts in the largely rural western provinces. Teaching posts will be on a rotating basis and the large urban universities will donate teaching equipment to the rural schools.
Jan. 9, 2002
Government Prepares for High-Tech Boom
The Indian government is planning to set up new technical schools and distance-learning programs to meet the mushrooming demand for skilled professionals in the field of information technology (IT). According to a new study by India’s IT Ministry, the country’s high-tech sector is expected to create 7 million new jobs by 2008.
Despite the economic slowdown worldwide and the bursting of the dot-com bubble, India is preparing for a high-tech boom in the next few years. The country’s IT exports are expected to reach $8 billion this year, a significant increase over the $6.2 billion in sales for 2000-2001.
Efforts are under way to improve India’s high-tech infrastructure and introduce more IT courses at both the primary and secondary levels. A spokesman for the country’s National Association of Software and Service Companies said the challenge is to encourage people to pursue higher levels of research and development beyond the secondary-school level.
Nov. 23, 2001
Japan Seeks More Students From Overseas
The Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology is taking decisive steps to double the number of foreign students in Japan by 2010. A standardized achievement test called the Test for Foreign Students in Japan was instituted in 2000 and is currently administered in Japan and in 10 overseas localities. Prior to the new test, students who came to Japan for higher education had to take two tests: the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and the General Examination for Foreign Students. Now, however, they only have to take one test.
The 56,000 foreigners studying in Japan represent a mere 1.5 percent of all students enrolled at Japanese universities. This is significantly lower than in other developed countries: Britain with 16 percent (190,000 foreign students); Germany with 8.6 percent (160,000); France with 8 percent (170,000); and the United States with 5.9 percent (480,000).
More than 90 percent of Japan’s foreign students come from China, South Korea, Taiwan and other parts of Southeast Asia. Only a negligible portion of the total comes from Europe and the United States.
Nov. 30, 2001
Student Records Destroyed By Fire
World Education Services was recently informed that records and documents for the University of Kashmir prior to July 1981 were destroyed in a fire that gutted the school’s administrative offices that year.
The University of Kashmir was originally established as the University of Jammu and Kashmir in 1948. Later, to meet the rapidly increasing demand for higher education and to be able to concentrate effectively in their respective territorial jurisdictions, the university was split into two institutions in 1969: the University of Kashmir and the University of Jammu.
The University of Kashmir, located on the outskirts of Srinagar City in Hazratbal, is a developing university. Having started with only a few faculties, it now offers qualifications in all major academic disciplines: arts, education, law,
science, social science, management, medicine, engineering, non-formal
education and music and fine arts.
— Correspondence from the University of Kashmir
Jan. 18, 2002
New Mobility Scheme Launched
The new University and Staff Mobility Programme for the Indian Ocean Region (UMIOR) was launched in Mauritius last July. UMIOR’s objective is to increase student and staff mobility among the universities of the region and to strengthen university links. The program also seeks to enhance cultural, economic and social understanding between participating countries.
Student exchanges between the participating countries began in late 2001. Approximately 300 students, representing Australia, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Thailand, are currently participating.
Government Seeks to Boost Foreign Student Intake
The government is implementing new measures to attract more English-speaking foreign students to study at South Korean universities. These measures include relaxing entrance requirements and job restrictions for foreign students, allowing them to work up to 10 hours a week while in school.
In addition, foreign students are no longer required to have a financial guarantor who has more than US$10,000 in a bank account in order to gain entry to the country. The government has also earmarked more money for English classes at South Korean institutions of higher learning.
South Korea exports roughly 150,000 students to study abroad annually, but only imports 6,160 students from other countries. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources aims to double the number of students coming to South Korea by 2003.
— Guardian Unlimited
Aug. 2, 2001
Universities Granted Increased Autonomy
Starting this year, eight national universities will be allowed to set their own tuition rates and establish autonomous admissions procedures. Thirty-six other universities and six national professional colleges will be permitted to do the same by 2003.
The government initially granted all universities more financial and administrative autonomy in 2002. However, the outcry from students and parents who feared a substantial tuition hike compelled officials to extend the new policy to only a few universities. South Korea’s Education Ministry has placed a 20 percent cap on tuition increases over the next three years.
— Chronicle of Higher Education
Jan. 11, 2002
New Reform Measures to Affect Higher Education
The government plans to implement educational reforms that will grant university professors more power; subject professors to stricter evaluations based on merit rather than seniority; consolidate the country’s universities through mergers and allow foreign institutions of higher education to establish branches in Taiwan.
These measures and others were decided at a recent conference in Taipei, which formulated a plan for governing the country’s universities for the next ten years.
Jan. 11, 2002