WENR, November/December 2002: Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific

Degree Mills Update

For an extensive guide to active, emerging and recent degree mills and officially unaccredited universities, compiled from original research by the Higher Education Supplement of The Australian Newspaper, visit the Bogus Institutions Web site. [1]

Many TOEFL Test Centers to Close Worldwide

The Educational Testing Service [2] (ETS), which runs testing centers around the world for academic and language proficiency exams such as TOEFL and the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), is closing 84 of its 195 overseas computer-based testing centers.

ETS will close centers with low testing volumes. Instead, handwritten tests will be made available at local schools, universities and advising centers. Closures began in April and will continue until June 2003.

ETS remains committed to computer-based testing and says new online services and products will be introduced soon. Students taking the GMAT will, more than likely, be taking it on a mobile computer-based service. Less than 1 percent of GMATs will be delivered as a handwritten test.

Hothouse Media [3]
August 2002


Police Reaction to Student Unrest Leaves 4 Dead

Protests broke out Nov. 11 at Kabul University after students began complaining about the ongoing lack of electricity, poor living conditions and lack of food. The protests evolved into a march and eventually into chaos as police fired live rounds into the crowd, which, according to Human Rights Watch, left four students dead and 20 injured.

A demonstration took place the next day protesting the police violence. Demonstrations again turned violent after police used water canons to disperse the crowd and then fired directly into the crowd, wounding three more students. Students say six people died in the two days of unrest.

The demonstrations came exactly a year after Kabul was liberated from the hard-line Taliban regime.

Another protest Nov. 13 was more muted, with many students apparently mollified by government pledges to improve conditions and investigate the police handling of the situation.

Human Rights Watch [4]
Nov. 14, 2002


Revisions Relax Student Visa Regulations

New revisions to student visa legislation went into effect Nov. 1, 2002, with revised assessment levels for a number of countries. Australia has five assessment levels (AL) categories that prospective students fall into according to their nationality. The higher the AL, the more stringent the requirements that applicants have to meet. Under the new revisions, AL4 has been downgraded to AL3 for some countries and education sectors. Schools in Australia had been concerned that the high International English Language Testing System [5] (IELTS) score needed by potential English language students from AL 4-rated countries was a deterrent to study.

Students from Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Iran, Nepal, the Philippines and Sri Lanka are all now AL3, although students from Vietnam, China, Laos, Lebanon, Jordan and Pakistan remain AL4. Other countries, including South Korea, Mexico and South Africa, have been downgraded from AL3 to AL2. This means there are fewer restrictions on the acceptable sources of funds that students need to demonstrate and no requirements to have the funds for at least three months prior to application.

All AL3 students can now enter the country to study English. Once they are in the country and can demonstrate sufficient funds for 12 months of study, these students can apply for a further study visa.

Language Travel [3]
November 2002

Australian, Irish Institutions to Collaborate

Australia and Ireland signed a three-year academic collaboration agreement in Melbourne recently. The agreement between the Australian Vice Chancellors Committee [6] and the Conference of Heads of Irish Universities [7] involves information sharing, staff and student exchanges, mutual recognition of qualifications, staff development, researcher exchange programs and university management.

Australian Vice Chancellors Committee [6]
Nov. 4, 2002


Diploma Forgery Becoming an Epidemic

Since the 1990s, when it reformed its educational system, the Chinese government has been trying to persuade college students that degrees are worth paying for. That effort seems to be working, but as a result, the trend has spawned an unwanted market in fake diplomas.

In the back streets of big East Coast cities, diploma dealers are offering high-quality fake diplomas for as little as US$25. Diplomas are not the only things being faked. With the increase in competition in this new market-based society, transcripts and reference letters are routinely being forged, and outright cheating is rampant on international standardized tests, such as the Graduate Record Examinations [8] (GRE).

In August, the Educational Testing Service [2] announced it was canceling its GRE computer science subject test in China (and also India) because of widespread cheating. This came after a suspension of the service in Asia after investigators found that students were sharing test questions on the Internet.

Such fraud has a huge impact inside China. State media reported in September on a nationwide campaign to hunt down thousands of party and government officials who had been promoted on the basis of fake diplomas or other falsehoods in their resumes.

The crackdown is going to be far from easy. According to the latest national census, the number of people in China claiming to hold degrees is more than 500,000 higher than the number of diplomas that have been legally awarded.

The response is a two-pronged one. Police are hitting the streets to go after vendors, and education officials are establishing “authentication centers” so that academic admissions officers and prospective employers can check any resumes that look dodgy.

Education officials say Chinese institutions are only beginning to get familiar with the idea of checking credentials. They say building a trustworthy accreditation system is costly and difficult in any environment, but even more so in China, where fake receipts and counterfeit products are commonplace.

The International Herald Tribune [9]
Oct.15, 2002

Test of Professional English Gets Trial Run

The Test of Professional English (TOPE), a new test product developed by the Educational Testing Services [10] (ETS), was given a test run on Nov. 16 at Beijing Foreign Studies University and Beijing Language and Culture University [11].

The test, which includes listening, speaking, reading and writing components, gauges a candidate’s knowledge of business English. It was designed as a human resources tool for companies and governments competing in the global arena.

ETS will first launch the TOPE in China next year and then introduce it throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world. The test will be scheduled four or five times a year.

People’s Daily [12]
Nov. 15, 2002

Reforms Result in Many University Mergers

Reforms in the Chinese higher education system have brought tremendous changes to educational institutes. Qinghua University [13] announced its merger with the Chinese Central Academy of Arts and Design [14] in 1999, and a few months later, Beijing Medical University [15] became the Health Science Center of Beijing University.

According to official statistics there were 387 colleges and universities in China in 1996; however, by 2000, mergers had reduced that number to 212. Faculty:student ratios have also dropped to 1:14.

Xinhua News Agency [16]
July 2002

London, Shanghai Schools Launch Executive Program

An international executive master’s in business administration was launched Oct. 24 at the Bank of China’s Institute of International Finance [17] in Shanghai. The program, jointly sponsored by the Bank of China, Central University of Finance and Economics [18] and London-based City University [19], is enrolling 40 to 50 students in its first year.

The program was launched in response to China’s entry into the World Trade Organization and because the country needs to nurture top management personnel with knowledge of international economic and banking environments.

London officials involved in the project say the program will not only help establish close ties between London and Shanghai, but also greatly promote economic exchanges between China and Great Britain.

People’s Daily [20]
Oct. 25, 2002

Agreement OKs Academic Exchange

Guizhou University of Technology and Dakota State University [21] (DSU) have agreed on a reciprocal exchange of two to four members of each school’s faculty for research and learning. The two schools will also cooperate in creating distance education links using the campus network and Internet to benefit on-campus U.S. and Chinese students.

DSU was one of five universities chosen to be a host of the pilot project by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities [22]. The Chinese university wants its administrators to study how other universities around the world are run.

Xinhua News Agency [23]
Oct. 28, 2002

Software College Opens in Shandong Province

Qilu Software College was unveiled recently in Jinan, capital of Shandong province. The college, designed to accommodate 10,000 students, is part of the country’s drive to increase the number of home-grown technology experts.

Through an affiliation with Shandong University [24], the college will offer computer software courses.

Xinhua News Agency [23]
Nov. 15, 2002


UGC Declares 18 Institutions Illegal

The University Grants Commission [25] of India has declared these institutions illegal:

Maithili University, Darbanhga (Bihar province); Mahila Gram Vidyapeeth, Prayag, Allahabad (UP); Varanasi Sanskrit College, Varanasi (UP); JagatPuri, Delhi; Commercial University Limited, Daryaganj, Delhi; Indian Education Council of UP, Lucknow (UP); Gandhi Hindi Vidyapeeth, Prayag, Allahabad (UP); Natejaji Subash Chandra Bose University (Open University), Achaltall, Aligarh (UP); DDB Sanskrit University, Putoor Trichi (Tamilnadu); St. John’s University, Kisanatyam, Kerala; United National University, Delhi; Uttar Pradesh University, Kosikala, Mathura (UP); Mahrana Pratap Shiksha Niketan University, Pratapgarh (UP); Rja Arbik University, Nagpur; Keshravani Vidyapeeth, Jabalpur (MP); Delhi Vishav Vidyapeeth, Tagore Park, Model Town, Delhi; Badarganavi Sarkar World Open University Education Society, Gokak, Beilgaon (Karnataka); Bhartiya Shiksha Parisad UP, Lucknow; National University of Electro Complex Homeopathy, Kanpur; and Vocational University, Delhi.

National Network of Education [26]

Bangalore-Ohio Master’s Program to Begin in June

The Bangalore-based Asian Business School has teamed up with the College of Health and Human Services at Ohio University [27] to introduce a postgraduate degree in master of health administration.

The two educational institutions signed a “memorandum of understanding” on Nov. 8, 2002. Forty students will enroll in the first program, which will begin classes in June 2003. The program is to be a full-time, 18-month course and includes an internship. Students will have an option to complete two quarters at Ohio University.

Indiaedunews [28]
Nov. 8, 2002

Joint Venture Global MBA Launched

The Institute of Management Technology [29] (IMT) in Ghaziabad recently launched a global MBA program in association with Fairleigh Dickinson University [30] (FDU).

Indian students will undertake the first five months of the course in India at IMT and the second half at FDU. Of the 27 credits taken in the United States, six will be covered by a six-month paid internship.

Students who successfully complete the course will graduate with an FDU MBA and an IMT postgraduate diploma. The program commences in August 2003.

The Times of India [31]
Nov. 11, 2002

‘Education India’ to Host Student Recruitment Events

Two three-day exhibitions in Mumbai and New Delhi will give home-based and international educational suppliers a chance to showcase their institutions and products to the huge Indian market of prospective postsecondary students.

The Mumbai event, which will include a one-day conference on “Borderless Education,” will be March 29-31, 2003 at the Nehru Center.

The New Delhi event will take place April 3-5, 2003 at the Pragati Maiden and includes a conference on “Education in the Emerging Knowledge Society.”

For more information, visit http://www.educationindia-online.com [32], or contact [email protected] [33].

Correspondence, International Aid and Trade [34]


Panel Seeks to Add Patriotic Terms to ‘Education Constitution’

The concepts of patriotism and cultural awareness, not contained in the 1947 Fundamental Law of Education, are likely to be added to the de facto “Education Constitution.”

The Central Council for Education, a government advisory panel, in a draft report is recommending amendments to the law that will allow children to bolster their Japanese identity and acquire “love for the nation and respect for tradition and culture of our country.” The draft also states the current law’s emphasis on self-esteem and peace should be maintained.

The draft will be hammered into a final report to be submitted to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry [35] before the end of the year.

Those in favor of the revisions point out that the current law lacks indispensable principles such as patriotism and respect for tradition. The concept of patriotism was not included in the 1947 law due to strong pressure from U.S. Occupation powers, which also ordered that “tradition” be omitted.

The draft is regarded skeptically by some, who fear the term “patriotism” could lead to accusations of ethnocentrism. Concerns raised in subcommittee meetings have noted that nationalism under the guise of patriotism once led Japan to war.

The ministry has said it hopes to submit a bill to the Diet in 2003.

The Japan Times [36]
Oct. 31, 2002


Controversy Erupts Over English-Immersion Plan

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has proposed an education revolution that would see all elementary school-level mathematics and science instruction in English. The proposal comes as part of his package to improve standards of English, mathematics and science to make Malaysia more competitive globally.

This proposal is proving to be a hot political potato, causing rifts within Mohamad’s multi-ethnic National Front coalition and bringing unity to opposition parties.

The idea was first aired a few months ago, but real controversy erupted in August, when the prime minister announced that he wanted to introduce his proposal in 2003. He hopes to propel Malaysian university students to the cutting edge of international education as quickly as possible.

Arguments against Mohamad’s policy come from many quarters, with probably the loudest critics being the Chinese community, who argue the plan will dilute the cultural identity of the Chinese education community and at the same time lower education standards.

Another common criticism is that the proposal is elitist, because the majority of Malaysians will not be able to handle the change, as English-language proficiency is inadequate. Many see it as discriminatory against rural communities and do not understand why, if English is the problem, mathematics and science have to be dragged into it.

Among the alternative solutions that have been voiced, the most popular is the call for a one-year delay in the plan. Another alternative is to have the plan implemented at the secondary-school level — not the primary level.

The Guardian [37]
Sept. 26, 2002

Prominent Colleges Ordered Shut

Malaysia is struggling with the competitive education marketplace that it has created, and quality seems to be suffering as a consequence. Recently, two prominent colleges, Brickfields College [38] and Nirwana Institute, were ordered shut for running courses that had not been approved by the Private Education Department, thereby breaching regulations under the Private Higher Educational Institutions Act of 1996.

The government has closed 26 private colleges, including Institut Mestika Kulim (formerly known as Institute Teknologi Midas) in Kedah; Institut Makanan, Kelana Jaya branch in Petaling Jaya and Institut Teknologi [39] in Butterworth.

Overseas, Overwhelmed [40]
Nov. 20, 2002

New Zealand

Former Prime Minister to Build Education Exports

One-time schoolteacher and former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley is back working in education. Rather than returning to the classroom, Shipley will be instrumental in developing the exports of New Zealand’s educational services, particularly to China.

The former politician has accepted a position with The Cambridge Group, an executive search and business development consultancy with offices in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, India and Asia. Shipley’s role with the group will include brokering deals to get local educational institutions established in Asia. The connections she developed as prime minister make her the ideal candidate for such a position.

Her appointment comes at a time of an increasing Chinese thirst to import Western education, as the government has put great weight on English-language learning over the last 10 years. Demand far exceeds supply at almost every point, which provides New Zealand with a great opportunity to build its already booming education market. New Zealand earns about NZ$1.5 billion (US$ 750 million) a year from educational services, and Shipley says she considers Prime Minister Helen Clark’s prediction that the sector could double to NZ$3 billion (US$ 1.5 billion)”quite conservative.”

The New Zealand Herald [41]
Nov. 1, 2002


Denmark, UK Schools Plan Virtual IT University

Denmark’s Selandia College [42] and the University of Central Lancashire [43] are collaborating in a European-funded project to create a virtual university in Pakistan, specializing in information technology. The project is scheduled for completion in March 2004.

Times Higher Education Supplement [44]
Sept. 27, 2002

Republic of Korea

3 UK Universities Join Forces to Market Programs

The universities of Manchester [45], Nottingham [46] and Warwick [47] have opened an office in Seoul to jointly market their courses to Korean students.

The move comes in an attempt to lure Korean students away from U.S. institutions, traditionally the first choice for students wishing to study abroad.

Hothouse media [3]
August 2002


Shanghai University Opens Graduate School

Shanghai Jiao Tong University [48] (SJTU), one of China’s top schools, officially inaugurated its graduate school at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University [49] (NTU) in October 2002.

The SJTU Graduate School at NTU’s Nanyang Business School will conduct SJTU’s MBA program, which will be taught in both Chinese and English by professors from both institutions.

This is the first overseas endeavor of its kind to be approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education. SJTU is the first Asian institution and the ninth international university to house a school in Singapore.

Xinhua News Agency [23]
Oct. 30, 2002

Sri Lanka

Campus Shut Down as Hazing Advocates Kill Student

A student who was objecting to the practice of hazing at Sri Lankan universities died Nov. 8 after being attacked by a group of students who want to continue the fraternity-style abuse of freshmen. The Senate of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura [50], where the incident happened, met and decided to shut the university indefinitely.

The student was killed as he met with the director of student welfare to complain about the practice, known as “ragging.” The hazing ritual typically involves starving and beating students, as well as having them perform embarrassing sexual acts.

Located on the outskirts of capital city Colombo, the university is one of Sri Lanka’s major institutions of higher education. The school with 7,000 students has previously experienced clashes between groups that advocate ragging and those that oppose it.

Sri Lanka Page [51]
Nov. 11, 2002