WENR, July/August 2002: Asia Pacific


Online Post-MBA Program to Begin in 2003

Athabasca University’s Center for Innovative Management [1] has announced a world partnership for the development and delivery of an online, post-MBA international business program.

Joining Canada’s Athabasca University in the program are Deakin University [2] in Australia, Hong Kong Open University [3] and Open University of the United Kingdom [4].

The four institutions have created the World Alliance on Distance Education [5] and will offer an intensive, yearlong program for working managers and professionals.

Participants in the program must have a master’s in business administration and will study four courses to receive a joint certificate from the four institutions. The program will begin in June 2003.

Athabasca University [1], Center for Innovative Management
June 13, 2002


Higher Education Seen as Key to Afghan Recovery

At the Afghanistan-American Summit on Recovery and Reconstruction held July 25 at Georgetown University [6], Afghan Minister of Higher Education Sharief Fayez emphasized the best way to fight terrorists and promote democracy is with higher education.

Fayez said his country needs at least 10,000 teachers to handle the 50,000 students expected to enroll in school this year next year. New university dormitories are also desperately needed. For years, Kabul University [7] had only one student residence hall. A second dorm was only recently built for women, bringing the total number of on-campus residents to 1,000. Next year this year, 2,000 additional students will enroll, requiring two more buildings.

Fayez said international aid has been too little and too slow in coming to adequately facilitate the reconstruction of the country’s education system.

Andrew S. Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development [8] (USAID) responded cautiously. “Development takes time,” he said. “Reconstruction takes time.”

Natsios stressed the Afghan school system “will take years to reconstruct,” with long-term priorities focusing on replacing and retraining teachers, rebuilding Kabul’s teacher-training college and rebuilding a girls high school.

Natsios also discussed a joint project with the University of Nebraska-Omaha [9] to print 10 million textbooks for Afghan’s primary and secondary schools. Half the books were ready for the 2002 school year, which began in March.

In Afghanistan, there are 26,000 students enrolled at 20 institutions of higher education, including eight colleges and universities, 10 four-year institutes to train high school teachers and two other institutions. Four of the schools are in Kabul: Kabul University [7], with 8,000 students and 300 teachers; a medical school with 4,000 students and 100 teachers; the Soviet-founded Polytechnic Institute with 1,500 students and the newly created Kabul University of Education.

Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange [10]
July 31, 2002

Universitas 21 Readies Online Education Program

Universitas 21 [11], a high-profile consortium of 17 universities from Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, plans to offer its first online diplomas throughout Asia in early 2003. There’s doubt in academia, however, as to whether the program, dubbed U21global, will succeed.

U21global won’t offer its programs – master’s degrees in business administration and information systems and certificates in electronic commerce and information systems – in the United States or Europe. Instead, it will focus on booming markets in developing areas, especially Latin America and Asia.

Already, the consortium is struggling. Several high-profile members have either opted out of U21global or have dropped out of the consortium altogether, including Beijing University, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Michigan, New York University and the University of Toronto.

The consortium expects a few hundred enrollments in 2003 and up to 60,000 by 2010. Approximately 10,000 students are needed to break even. U21global’s MBA program is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2003. The master’s degree in information systems and the certificates are to be offered later in the year. Undergraduate courses are scheduled to begin by 2005.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [12]
June 28, 2002

UNESCO Seeks Aid to Rebuild Education System

In a bid to rebuild Afghanistan’s war-ravaged education system, the United Nations recently appealed for US$27 million to meet the country’s urgent need for school supplies, facilities and teacher training.

UNESCO [13] said the effort would focus on rehabilitating Kabul University [7], training education professionals and developing non-formal and distance-learning programs to tackle the country’s illiteracy rate, which is among the highest in the world.

According to UNESCO, Afghanistan has lost an estimated 200,000 education experts and academics over the last two decades, while its 17 universities and institutes have been devastated by conflict. In response, the agency has set up a computer-training center and Internet café at the journalism school of Kabul University.

Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO director-general, said a “massive effort” has already begun to reopen schools and enable Afghan children to get back to class. “This first phase must now be followed up by longer-term activities to rebuild the education system, including the formulation of sound policies and the strengthening of Afghanistan’s professional capacities,” he said.

The agency and Afghan authorities have outlined a series of projects to present to donors. Initiatives include outreach programs for out-of-school youths, the illiterate adults who make up an estimated 70 percent of the population — including the vast majority of women — and children with special needs, such as orphans and the disabled.

UN News Centre [14]
July 10, 2002

Japanese Donation to Aid Millions of Students

The United Nations Children’s Fund [15] (UNICEF) recently hailed the Japanese government for donating US$10.8 million to education programs for displaced and refugee children returning to their homes in Afghanistan.

The agency, which said the funds were urgently needed, has already distributed learning materials to more than 2.3 million Afghan students, along with 6,000 tents for temporary classrooms and 10 million textbooks. However, up to 4 million children, many of them recently returned from neighboring countries where their families had been refugees, still need assistance.

The Japanese donation will ensure that 1.25 million of these children have access to primary and secondary schooling in Kandahar, Jalalabad, Mazar and their neighboring provinces. UNICEF is working closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide services to returnee children and their families.

“The latest donation by Japan is another example of its formidable commitment to children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy. “Education for all children is the foundation of a peaceful, stable society, and it’s a crucial step in the rebuilding process.”

Noting “a tremendous amount of work” remains to be done, Bellamy was hopeful that donors would support UNICEF’s ongoing effort “to rebuild Afghanistan through its children.”

July 26, 2002


Government Cracks Down on Suspect Visas

Since July 2001, more than 6,000 overseas students have been deported for visa irregularities, nonattendance at classes or working more hours than allowed under their visas. In addition, 100 English-language colleges have been closed or suspended amid new concerns about the education sector as a conduit for people smuggling.

Applications for student visas made overseas have ballooned to 71,306, according to the Immigration Department, and a senior government official admitted unscrupulous colleges have emerged as a major concern in the crackdown on illegal immigration. One immigration official said student visa numbers, both onshore and offshore, had risen 22 percent over the previous fiscal year.

Under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act [17] (2000), a federal government agency must now monitor all registration procedures for colleges and students.

The Sydney Morning Herald [18]
July 1, 2002


Dhaka University Closed Amid Student Unrest

Bangladeshi police and troops were deployed in late July to combat student unrest and rising fears of violence. The 30,000-student Dhaka University [19] has been shut down indefinitely as a result.

Trouble began when police stormed a women’s dormitory and arrested several residents who are suspected members of the Awami League, Bangladesh’s biggest opposition party. The Awami League is headed by former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

University Vice Chancellor Anwarullah Chowdhury said the institution “has been closed … in the face of growing indiscipline by the students and fears of violence, which may also kill people.” Students were ordered to leave all residence halls.

The Daily Jang [20]
July 30, 2002


Management Forum Draws Top Officials

Approximately 100 university presidents – including those from Harvard [21], Oxford [22] and Stanford [23] – attended a Beijing forum in July to discuss how to upgrade the level of management in Chinese universities.

The 11-day event, sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Education, sought to help presidents at Chinese universities broaden their views and learn from their foreign counterparts’ experience in management.

Some observers suggested the forum was a vehicle for China to bring more international influence to its top universities, including Beijing University [24] and Qinghua University [25].

People’s Daily [26]
July 23, 2002

Inland Universities Gaining Favor Among Macau Students

According to the Macau Educational Association (MEA), Macau students are increasingly enthusiastic for furthering their studies and research at universities in China’s inland.

In 2002, 178 of 387 applicants from the Macau Special Administrative Region of China were enrolled as postgraduate or doctoral candidates in 31 inland universities and colleges. South China Normal University [27] topped the list, with 47 Macau students, followed by Zhongshan University [28] and Overseas Chinese University.

While student applications for prestigious institutions of higher learning such as Beijing University [24] and Fudan University [29] have been on the increase, Macau students tend to apply to neighboring Guangdong-based universities, mostly because the dialects and living habits are similar, according to the MEA.

Xinhua News Agency [30]
July 28, 2002

University to Open on Shenzhen Resort Site

A holiday resort in Shenzhen is being redeveloped as a private university to accommodate 3,000 students, including hundreds from Hong Kong.

The new university, Guangdong Jianhua University, will begin classes for 400 mainland students on the site of the Shiyanhu Holiday Resort in September. There are plans to enroll 400 Hong Kong students in the 2003-2004 academic year.

The 20-year-old resort, popular in the 1980s with Hong Kong visitors, occupies more than 247 acres. The new university will offer diplomas in translation, computer studies, hotel management and foreign enterprise management. The school will continue to operate the tourist facilities, and parts of hotels within the resort will provide training for students in hotel management. The annual tuition for students from the mainland is US$1,200, plus a boarding fee of US$181 per month. Fees for Hong Kong students will be “slightly higher.”

Hoovers Online [31]
Aug. 4, 2002


World’s Most Competitive MBA?

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently named the Indian Institute of Management [32] (IIM) in Ahmedabad the world’s toughest business school to get into. Each year, more than 70,000 applicants contend for 200 places. Although most applicants have so far been Indian, this could soon change as more and more people look for affordable business schools overseas. The two-year master’s in business administration costs approximately US$5,100, compared to the $110,000 students shell out for a two-year Harvard MBA.

IIM was established by the Indian government in 1961 and has since enjoyed widespread prominence both at home and abroad. With India’s economic liberalization and the rise of e-commerce, the school has been under pressure to update its curriculum, offering a more international approach. A new course introduced last fall, “Managing Across Cultures,” has proven to be extremely popular with students.

IIM plans to recruit more internationally. While many foreign students come to spend a semester studying at the school, few choose to do their entire MBA there. Unless that changes, the vast majority of IIM’s student body will remain Indian.

The Economist [33]
June 6, 2002

The National Board of Accreditation is an Excellent Source of Information

The National Board of Accreditation [34] is an excellent source of information on Indian institutions of higher education that are accredited in the non-university/technical sector. Institutions are listed by discipline and include both public and private schools.

Contact the NBA at:

The National Board of Accreditation
All India Council for Technical Education
I.G. Stadium
I.P. Estate New Delhi – 110002

E-mail: [email protected] [35]

Phone: 3392595 (O)

Pune University Scores with Foreigners

Even as universities in other parts of the country, such as Bangalore and New Delhi, are facing a drop in the number foreign students because of the heightened tension on the India-Pakistan border, Pune University [36] continues to attract foreign students in droves.

According to Santishree Pandit, director of Pune University’s International Center [37], which coordinates the admission of foreign students, “We received telephone calls asking us what the situation was and whether it was safe to send their wards. So, we expected the numbers to drop this year.”

However, according to Pandit, “This year, the numbers have doubled as compared to last year. Last year, we had 676 foreign students registered with us. This year, we already have 750 students who have registered with us so far.” Such numbers already constitute a record for the 10-year-old center, but officials expect the numbers to go as high as 1,200.

Some center initiatives could be behind the increase. “We have implemented a single window system for admission,” Pandit said. “We have also made admissions truly online, through which foreign students in distant places can even transfer their admission fees electronically. This way, they don’t have to make several trips to India, but arrive when their classes begin.”

PUNE News Online [38]
July 23, 2002


Foreigners Brace for Tuition Hikes

Budget cuts in Japan could severely affect most of the 78,000 overseas students enrolled in the country’s 4,800 institutions of higher education.

Starting in April, foreign students at the 99 national universities will pay 7.2 percent more in tuition, bringing annual costs to more than US$4,216. In addition, international students at the more expensive private institutions will be hit by a 10.3 percent cut in financial assistance from the Japanese government.

The Times Higher Education Supplement [39]
July 19, 2002

Joint Venture Aims to Boost Japanese Research

Some 60 universities in Japan and France have agreed to create joint doctoral programs involving student exchanges.
The project, which Japan’s Education Ministry says will be the first of its kind between Japanese and foreign universities, is aimed at establishing Japan as a center of global research alongside the United States and Europe.

Japan Today [40]
July 25, 2002

The Korean Peninsula

North, South Korea set up Joint University

For the first time since the Korean Peninsula was divided into North and South Korea, the two nations will jointly set up and operate an information technology university in Pyongyang.

According to the International Foundation for Northeast Asia Education and Culture (IFNAEC), the North Korean Education Ministry and a South Korean nonprofit organization agreed March 1 on the project in the North Korean capital. The foundation said the school would first establish a postgraduate course in September 2003.

North Korea provided land in Pyongyang for the university, and construction is already under way. All related matters, including the planning, building and running of the school, will be worked out jointly.

In 1993, IFNAEC built Yanbian University of Science and Technology [41] in China’s Jilin province, which has a large ethnic Korean population.

Korea Now [42]
July 27, 2002


Country to Host Knowledge, Development Forum

Malaysia has been chosen to host a forum for the Global Knowledge Partnership [43], an international group of public, private and nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations dedicated to promoting information and knowledge for development.

Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, permanent representative to the United Nations, said that through the partnership, Malaysia hopes to enhance cooperation in bridging the global digital divide and nurturing a global information society.

The Star Online [44]
June 20, 2002


Students Set Fire to English Department

In early July, master’s degree candidates at Tribhuvan University [45] set fire to several rooms of the English Department after seeing their first-year examination results. Of 500 students, only a few dozen passed the exam.

Nobody was hurt in the fire and the school remains open, but the English Department was shuttered because much of it was damaged, including student records. University officials are investigating the fire, and the police have begun searching for suspects.

The students blamed the arson on the teachers’ lack of commitment, claiming the teachers spend the bulk of their time at private universities instead of at the public Tribhuvan.

The students’ wrath began flaring up after the results of second-year-students were published a few days before the attack on the English Department. Only 33 students of the approximately 250 second-year students passed that exam.

Tribhuvan, named for a former king of Nepal, was established in 1959 and was the country’s first national university. It enrolls about 92,000 students annually.

Nepal News [46]
July 3, 2002


NTU Reserving Large Classes for Internet

By July 2003, all lectures at Nanyang Technological University [47] (NTU) for classes with more than 300 students are expected to be offered electronically.

While NTU is moving toward more online teaching for bigger groups, tutorials will still be done face-to-face. It is all part of an e-learning initiative launched two years ago. To date, 90 percent of NTU’s modules are conducted online.

Channel NewsAsia [48]
July 17, 2002

IT Testing Center Opens at Ngee Ann

In July, Ngee Ann Polytechnic [49] opened the Prometric Testing Center – a provider of technology-based testing and assessment – at its School of Engineering.

There are 18 other testing centers on the island, most of which are hosted by private companies. The Ngee Ann center offers examinations in more than 200 certificate courses, including those given by major information-technology vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco and Sun Microsystems. Some of the certificates offered are the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Cisco Certified Network Associate and Network+.

The Straits Times [50]
July 15, 2002


French to Launch New University

Six undisclosed French universities have formed an alliance to launch a university in Vietnam. The campus in Ho Chi Minh City will open in two years.

The school will teach in French and English, the latter by popular demand, charging $3,000 tuition annually. Courses will include computer studies, business, public finance and food processing.

Pacific Business News [51]
July 31, 2002