WENR, May/June 2004: Asia Pacific


U.S., Turkey Fund Military Academy

Afghan Military Academy, currently under construction, is expected to begin classes in February with an initial enrollment of 350 cadets. It will offer bachelor’s degrees in such fields as military engineering and leadership management. Classes will be taught in Dari and Pashto, local Afghan languages, and cadets will be required to learn a foreign language. Most of the money for the academy is coming from the governments of the United States and Turkey, with smaller contributions from other countries.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [1]
March 12, 2004


Fee Hike Causes Drop-Off in International Markets

Universities have been warned that the recent growth in international student revenue is on the wane. Fee increases and a strong Australian dollar have begun to hit the international market, with a drop-off in applications reported in the first three months of 2004. The traditional markets of Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong are among the hardest hit.

IDP Education Australia [2] figures show there has been a drop of 7 percent to 8 percent across the entire international education sector in the first quarter. However, China and India could be the stabilizers, with student enrollment figures from these two countries doubling between 2002 and 2003. The not-for profit group, owned by 38 Australian universities, is responding to the slump with a new advertising campaign that was launched globally in June.

The Australian [3]
May 5, 2004


Change in Grading System

The Ministry of Education in April last year modified the grading system for public examinations for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC). The SSC/HSC marking system changed from a percentile system to a cumulative grade-point average system. Changes are effective across all examination boards.

Bangladeshi Secondary School and Higher Secondary Grading Scale 
Letter Grade Class Interval Grade Point
A+ 80 – 100 5
A 70 – 79 4
A- 60 – 69 3.5
B 50 – 59 3
C 40 – 49 2
D 33 – 39 1
F 0 – 32 0


The Bangladesh Observer [4]
January 6, 2003


First Sino-British University to Open in 2004

Thousands of Chinese students will soon be able to experience a British university education without leaving China. Nottingham University [5] is the first British institution to establish a campus on the Chinese mainland. The joint venture between Nottingham and Zhejiang Wanli College [6] takes advantage of new Chinese legislation that allows foreign education enterprises to be established in the country (see March/April 2003 WENR [7]) and relaxes the rules governing private provision of tertiary education (see WENR [8] September/October 2003).

The campus will be situated in the East Coast city of Ningbo. The campus’s first class will be recruited this fall, and university officials expect to enroll approximately 4,000 students by the end of the first phase of development in 2008. Tuition equivalent to US$6,500 a year will be charged.

The university is tapping into the Chinese government’s massive expansion of higher education. The number of Chinese studying in Britain has increased rapidly in recent years. Nottingham has been in the vanguard of the recruitment drive, with 957 Chinese students enrolled in 2003, compared to 102 in 2000.

The Independent [9]
April 16, 2004

Western International University, ITT Gain Approval to Offer Degree Programs

The Canadian Institute of Business and Technology [10] (CIBT) announced in February it has received accreditation, or ‘approved status’ from the Beijing Municipal Education Commission [11] (BMEC) to offer bachelor programs from two U.S. for-profit institutions of higher education — ITT Educational Services [12], which operates the ITT Technical Institutes [13], and Western International University [14] (WIU), a subsidiary of Apollo Group. The programs will be offered jointly with CIBT’s partner institution, Beijing University of Technology [15].

According to BMEC, the approval marks the first foreign bachelor degrees to receive formal government recognition by Beijing’s regulatory authorities. College graduates from China with two years’ work experience will be able to transfer their earned credits from Chinese colleges to ITT or WIU bachelor-degree programs delivered by CIBT in China. Under Chinese law, regulatory bodies or academic institutions will not recognize academic degrees offered in China by foreign education providers unless such degrees receive accreditation approval by regulatory bodies. The CIBT School of Business has been operating in China since 1994 and runs three campuses in Beijing, offering non-degree certificate programs.

Capital Alliance Group news release [16]
Feb.12, 2004

Dulwich Shanghai, Latest in Growing Trend

Approximately 700 Chinese high schools, especially along the wealthy Eastern seaboard, have turned to foreign partners such as Britain’s elite Dulwich College [17], to build more integrated curriculums that incorporate traditional Eastern discipline with Western creativity. For thousands of years, the Chinese education system has been characterized by a series of national examinations that have decided a person’s relative place in society. Today, despite the relative liberalization of education, the tradition of holding one make-or-break final exam has lived on.

China’s dreaded college entrance exam is not only the nightmare of every child but of every parent. As a result of this narrow structure, Chinese students are often considered by international standards as being strong on theory but weak on practical application and critical thinking. The rising number of expatriates in China as well as the willingness of Chinese to spend money on education, has led to a boom of overseas schools in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. Once Chinese students have completed their mandatory nine-year national curriculum, they can go on to complete an International Baccalaureate or a college access course beginning at 16 years of age, which can clear the way to universities overseas.

Dulwich is not the only Western school looking East. Twenty-five international schools — American, French, German, Japanese and Singaporean — operate in China, some now for nearly 10 years. After classes start at Dulwich’s newest venture — Dulwich Shanghai — this August, it will also set up a 600-student capacity school in a venture with neighboring Suzhou next year and possibly in two other cities in China. Dulwich also operates a school in Phuket, Thailand.

Agence France Presse [18]
May 6, 2004

Chinese to Get UK Visas in 1 Day

The British Embassy in Beijing has recently instituted a new policy guaranteeing Chinese students applying for study visas a same-day answer: yes, no or interview. The move comes at a time when many in China and around the world are reporting long delays and inconveniences in getting U.S. student visas processed.

The embassy is guaranteeing students who submit their application and proof of funds between 9 and 11 a.m. Monday through Thursday, that they will be informed by 3 p.m. the same day if their application has been issued or refused, or whether an interview is required. With an estimated 350,000 Chinese students studying outside China, competition for market share is fierce. According to the latest Open Doors report from the Institute for International Education [19], there were almost 65,000 Chinese students studying in the United States in academic year 2002-03. A recent British Council [20] report put the number of Chinese studying in Britain at 43,000. With Prime Minister Tony Blair calling for an increase in international enrollments, this new visa policy could help increase Britain’s market share vis-à-vis its biggest market rival, the United States.

British Embassy news release [21]
April 15, 2004


UGC Employs Agency to Promote Indian Education Abroad

The Human Resources Development Ministry [22] (MHRD) and the University Grants Commission [23] (UGC) have appointed a professional agency to market Indian education abroad.

The MHRD-managed Educational Consultants India Limited [24] (Ed.Cil) has been contracted to help place foreign students at suitable institutions in India. The agency will organize educational fairs abroad and open new markets beyond the already established ones in the Persian Gulf, Africa and Southeast Asia. Ed.Cil previously had been assigned the task of halting the number of well-qualified professionals leaving India for employment purposes.

Online Centers Extend Reach of U.K. Degrees

A new Knowledge and Learning Center (KLC) in Vadodara, Gujarat, will be one of 26 new online library and study centers established by the British Council [20].

The official launch of what are called Managed Learning Zones, scheduled for sometime between June and July, will enable students to obtain a British degree through flexible online study modules supported by reputed universities in the United Kingdom (UK). Students will have high-speed Internet access to research journal databases, and video-conferencing technology will allow students to interact with tutors in the UK. The online courses are supported by locally facilitated sessions at the British Council, printed text and notes, audio/video aids and online study material. The first Indian KLC was inaugurated in New Delhi in January 2002.

The Times of India [25]
March 2, 2004

New Government Reverses Controversial BJP Policies

The newly elected government’s commitment to raise spending on education to 6 percent of gross domestic product and reassurances that the former government’s controversial higher-education policies will, for the most part, be discontinued have gained support from Indian academics.

The Hindu Nationalist Bhaaratiya Janata Party (BJP) had angered academics over the years with attempts to promote Hinduism within the education system. Some of the BJP’s more unpopular policies included altering high-school textbooks to cast Hindu history in a positive light and subsidizing students fees at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management [26] (IIMs), thus making the institutes more dependent on government funds (see January/February 2004 issue of WENR [27]).

New Minister Arjun Singh, while not outlining a specific agenda, has alluded to the previous government’s ideologically driven policies by stating that he is “not starting with prejudice” and that he wants “detoxification without a witch hunt.” Singh also has approved an independent committee’s recommendations that IIMs be more financially independent.

“The future of higher education lies in autonomy,” said Mr. Singh at a recent news conference.

An official announcement concerning IIM tuition was made at the end of June. IIM’s will return to their original fee structures, while offering new needs-based scholarships for students from low-income families.

The Times of India [28]
June 6, 2003

U.S. Attempting to Regain Market Share

Stung by an increase in the number of Indian students heading for other destinations, the United States is making a concerted effort to reassure potential students about any fears they may have about pursuing an education in America. Leading the campaign is Ambassador to India David Mulford, as well as U.S. businesses who are pushing the Bush administration to make things easier in the job market for non-U.S. students who have studied in U.S. colleges.

It was announced in May that beginning in July, electronic fingerprinting of most U.S. visa applicants would begin. In an appeal to students, Mulford said such steps are intended to “give you swift and safer access to the USA while also providing everybody in America with a greater sense of security.” He added that long visa delays are a thing of the past: “This year, our embassy and consulates issued 12 percent more visas than over the same period in each of the last two years. Moreover, the visa issuance rate for India is higher today than before 9/11.”

Indian observers say visas are just one side of the problem; another is the declining employment opportunities for Indian students graduating from U.S. universities. In contrast, the governments in the United Kingdom and Australia have been at the forefront to remove employment hassles after completion of a degree.

However, pressure is being applied from within the U.S. to change this situation, as industry support for international students is at an all-time high. Corporations, industry bodies and academics are now at the forefront of efforts to exempt from the H-1B quota students graduating from U.S. universities with master’s and doctoral degrees. In April, the American Workforce Improvement and Jobs Protection Act (HR 4166) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. If passed, the annual H-1B cap would not apply to applicants who have received master’s or higher degrees from a U.S. institution of higher education. This exemption would be limited to 20,000 visas.

The Asia Times Online [29]
May 21, 2004


Most Chinese Students Denied Visas

According to a March poll conducted by the Japan Times, the Japanese Justice Ministry’s Immigration Bureau has denied visas to more than 70 percent of Chinese students who applied to study Japanese in the current academic year, which started in April.

The paper contacted 355 of approximately 400 Japanese language schools nationwide, asking them how many pre-college student visa applications they had filed on behalf of prospective students. A total of 122 schools responded. The poll showed that, of the 3,818 visa applications filed by schools on behalf of Chinese students, just 1,034, or 27.1 percent, were granted. Among non-Chinese students, the acceptance rate stood at 87.6 percent of 2,332 applications. Chinese students account for approximately 70 percent of total student visa applications each year, according to official Ministry of Education figures.

The figures reflect a new policy issued by the Immigration Bureau in November, which outlines stricter screening procedures for those applying for ryugaku and shugaku visas from countries with the highest number of students who overstay their visas — China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Mongolia.

The Japan Times [30]
March 12, 2004

Parenting University Born

Yashima Gakuen University [31] in Yokohama opened its doors for the first time in April. Accredited by the Ministry of Education, the new university’s mission is to educate parents on the theory and practice of child-rearing.

Officials at the private university believe that with the decline of traditional, extended families and close communities that had long helped pass on the knowledge of bringing up children, there is now a dearth of information, which the new institution hopes to help fill. The school offered a mixture of online and traditional classes to 600 students this spring, and will do so again for another 600 in the fall. Students can major in family education with classes on the history, ethics and theory of educating children at home; or they can major in human development, with classes in rapid reading, marketing, management and logical thinking.

Japan Times [30]
Feb.17, 2004


New Higher Education Ministry Created

The recent separation of the Malaysian Education Ministry into two divisions has resulted in the creation of the Kementerian Pendidikan Tinggi (Higher Education Ministry).

The hope is that the division will lead to greater efficiency in the management of education. Challenges that may arise include determining the functions of certain departments, divisions and units that have roles that come under the jurisdiction of both ministries, such as the Teacher Training Division. The splitting of education ministries has been tried in the region before. However, in some cases, such as Thailand and Indonesia, the ministries eventually merged back into one ministry.

The Star Online [32]
April 4, 2004

Rankings Take on New Meaning for Foreign Providers

The Malaysian Ministry of Education [33] has announced that foreign university applications to offer franchised degree programs will in most cases only be approved if the university is highly rated. British universities would have to be among the top 60 in the Times Good University Guide, Financial Times or Daily Telegraph. For U.S. universities, the Malaysian government will consult such publications as Peterson’s U.S. Colleges & University Handbook.

The move comes as part of Malaysia’s effort to promote itself as a high-quality destination for foreign students. At the recent Malaysian Education Summit 2004, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi called for the development of a domestic league table to consistently measure and benchmark the quality of Malaysian tertiary institutions, beginning with public universities.

NIE Learning Curve [34]
May 2, 2004

New Zealand

University Rankings Spark Controversy

A new league table ranking tertiary institutions has some critics warning that it may stifle research. Released in April, the Performance-Based Research Fund report graded the caliber of the country’s academic research institutions across 41 subject areas.

The report did not consider issues of teaching quality. Instead, authors of the report evaluated the performance of 5,570 researchers from 22 institutions of higher education, assigning grades to both the institutions and their departments. Rankings varied from “world class” to “inactive.” The results will form part of the basis for allocating government funding, along with research-degree completions and external research income.

The University of Auckland [35] came out on top, followed by the University of Canterbury [36], Victoria University of Wellington [37] and the University of Otago [38]. The New Zealand Association of University Staff [39], a major academic union, warned that the findings could ultimately lead to “perverse” decisions on government support for universities.

Fairfax New Zealand [40]
April 24, 2004

Government Backs Away From Increased Levy on Export Education

The government has backed away from a proposal to increase the levy on the export education sector from 0.45 percent of fee income to 0.7 percent. The proposal had been designed to recover the costs of reimbursing international students caught by the collapse of two private training schools (see WENR [8] September/October 2003).

After the closure of the two high-profile, private education institutions, the government wanted private institutions to pay a higher levy to create a compensation fund, in effect paying for their competitors’ mistakes under the Education Amendment Bill. International students from the collapsed Carich private training school each received an average US$5,500 from the government. Another $375,000 was spent on bailing out 220 Modern Age Institute of Learning students. A proposed clause in the bill enabling levy funds to reimburse international students who faced financial losses following any future failure of a private training establishment will remain.

The 2003 collapse of the two schools sent shock waves through New Zealand’s education-export sector, and were partly blamed for the downturn in the number of foreign students, especially Chinese, choosing New Zealand as their study destination.

Stuff [40]
April 16, 2004

North Korea

Germans Establish Foothold with Reading Room

After three years of negotiations, the Goethe Institut [41], an organization that promotes the German language and culture abroad, is set to open a reading room in Pyongyang, North Korea, becoming the first Western institution of its kind to open its doors in the isolated communist country.

The institute will offer North Koreans books, periodicals and other media, about half of which will be devoted to scientific and technological pursuits. After long discussions, North Korean officials agreed to allow visitors free access to uncensored media. The center opened June 3 and is officially known as the Agency for German Scientific and Technical Literature at the Goethe Information Center Pyongyang.

The German Information Center [42]
May 28, 2004


German Campus Expands Offerings

Technical University of Munich [43] (TUM), National University of Singapore [44] (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University [45] (NTU) together developed the German Institute of Science and Technology [46], which offered its first master of science program in industrial chemistry in July 2002. The school has since expanded its offerings, and this year is enrolling students in five technical master’s programs.

All programs are conducted in English and include a two-month internship in Europe or Germany. Graduates receive a dual degree from TUM and NUS/NTU.

The Star Online [32]
April 25, 2004

Australian University Wins Landmark Contract

The University of New South Wales [47] (UNSW) beat out 15 rivals to establish the first foreign-run university in Singapore. UNSW will be the first of possibly three foreign universities allowed to operate in Singapore, and will benefit from government and private research dollars, as well as government funds to establish the university, which is slated to open in 2007. It is hoped the new university will consolidate the city-state’s status as a center of learning in Southeast Asia.

Franchised provision from foreign universities is common in Singapore — UNSW is the 11th foreign university the country has attracted — however, the contract represents its first wholly owned and operated research-and-training campus. It also represents the first Australian-owned research university abroad. Overseas operations have until now been limited to satellite campuses and franchised degree programs. The university initially will offer undergraduate, postgraduate and research studies to 3,500 students — only 30 percent of whom are expected to be from Singapore. The other 70 percent is expected to come mainly from China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Australian [3]
April 21, 2004

South Korea

China Surpasses U.S. as No. 1 Study Destination

The prestigious Seoul National University [48] recently announced that Chinese has replaced English as the most popular major among liberal arts students. Since 2000, the number of South Koreans studying in China has more than doubled, to 35,000, making South Koreans the largest group of foreign students in China. The number taking the entrance exam for Chinese universities has increased threefold, while student visa applications to the United States are down 10 percent from 2003.

In a related development, China surpassed the United States in 2003 as South Korea’s largest export market. Economic interests, geography, cultural and linguistic similarities, current U.S. visa policies and the United States’ image abroad might go a long way toward explaining the current enrollment trend.

The Los Angeles Times [49]
March 29, 2004


University Admission to Be Reformed by 2006

Universities currently admit freshmen based on results from the National University Entrance Examination (NUEE), through a direct-admissions system or through a combination of the two. However, according to the Bureau of Central Testing Commission on Higher Education [50] , that policy will change by 2006, and admissions will be based entirely on direct admissions.

The NUEE is administered nationwide, and the scores determine which study program, from a chosen list, students can join. The direct-admissions system is based on quotas, in which a certain percentage of places are reserved for special cases such as scholarships and underprivileged students, and a procedure in which individual faculties select students based on the results of faculty-administered tests and interviews. The two systems at a majority of universities complement each other. For example, at Srinakharinwirot University, the ratio of NUEE admissions to direct admissions is 60:40.

Although it is still unclear how the new selection process for 2006 will function, the Testing Commission’s Web site currently states that admissions will be determined 100 percent by individual institutions, and grade-point averages will be the main determining factor.

The Nation [51]
April 23, 2004