WENR, Apr. 2006: Asia Pacific
Flow of Foreign Students to Australian Universities Down
Australian Education International, a wing of the Australian Department of Education, released figures in February that illustrated a dramatic slowdown in the number of new foreign students enrolling at Australian institutions of higher education. The number of international students enrolling at Australia’s universities rose only 0.8 percent in 2005; roughly 10 percent slower than average growth in recent years.
The biggest slowdown came from Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. China and India, the countries from where Australia draws the most students, continued to send growing numbers of learners to study at Australia’s institutions.
Of the thousands of students who travel to Australia to study, many aim to obtain permanent visas upon graduation. New changes to Australia’s skilled migration program that will make visas tougher to acquire are expected to discourage more foreign students in the future. From 2001 to 2005, the increase in internationals enrolling at Australia’s universities dropped from 17 to 12 to 8 to 0.8 percent successively.
Taiwan Creates Scholarships for Brunei Students
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Brunei announced that Taiwan will offer scholarships for students from Brunei to study at Taiwanese universities. Designed to foster understanding about Taiwanese culture and national development as well as facilitate academic exchange and cooperation between Taiwan and Brunei, the scholarship program will allocate funds to Brunei’s best and brightest students. The maximum length of the scholarships will be five years. Through the scholarship program, students will receive a monthly stipend based on their attendance and academic performance.
Mar. 1, 2006
British University and Nanjing University Sign Agreement
The United Kingdom’s University of Essex and China’s Nanjing University have signed an agreement under which Essex will recruit 100 Chinese students annually to participate in the institution’s science programs. Students chosen for the program will spend two years studying at Nanjing’s Jin Ling College before completing their studies in biological sciences, computer science, and electronic systems engineering at Essex. Officials from the British university will visit Nanjing each year to ensure the caliber of undergraduate work being offered there and to cultivate possible research relationships.
— Business Weekly
Mar. 21, 2006
Universities Accommodate Hong Kong, Macau Students
In an effort to encourage the enrollment in higher education of students from Hong Kong and Macau, Chinese universities have changed the tuition requirements for students from these two semi-autonomous regions to match those of students from the mainland. China’s central government will also create scholarship funds for students from Hong Kong and Macau and offer specialized subsidies to universities and other post-secondary education centers that enroll students from the two regions. Traditionally, many students from these areas choose to pursue their higher education abroad in countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia as opposed to mainland China.
— People’s Daily Online
Feb. 15, 2006
A Goethe Institute for Western China
Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern Sichan Province, will be the site of the Goethe Institute’s first language center in Western China. The Goethe Institute, a federal program run by the German government to promote its language and culture around the world, will serve as a center for Germany to foster cultural as well as trade exchanges with the Chinese. There are already two Goethe Institutes in China, one in Beijing and the other in Shanghai.
— People’s Daily Online
Mar. 13, 2006
French, Indian Business Schools Sign Pact
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and France’s ESSEC business school have signed a pact to exchange students and faculty, engage in joint research projects, and offer joint programs for top executives. The two institutions, which have worked together for over 20 years, signed a dual degree agreement in November 2005 and will now offer doctoral students the opportunity to spend up to one year at either school to gain a Euro-Asian business education. Indian students will have access to ESSEC’s campuses in both France and Singapore.
— The Financial Express
Feb. 20, 2006
U.S. Law Program Comes to India
The Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur will house a new branch of the George Washington University Law School, which will offer programs dealing exclusively with the study of intellectual property rights. George Washington, a U.S. based institution with a favorable reputation in the aforementioned field, will develop the new school in an effort to increase the level of academic talent in a field of litigation expected to boom within the next few years. The rapid growth of India’s technology and pharmaceutical sectors and the extensive globalization of those markets have greatly increased the nation’s demand for expertise in the field of intellectual property rights.
— Hindustan Times
Feb. 1, 2006
Australian Universities Cooperate with IIT-Mumbai
The Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (IIT-M) and Australia’s Monash University have signed a memorandum of understanding to create the IIT-Monash Research Academy at the Indian campus. The independent research academy, expected to be up and running by 2007, will focus on the study of clean energy, water, biotechnology, mineral exploration and computer simulation. The initiative is supported by world resource giant BHP Billiton and comes on the heels of a visit by Australian Prime Minister John Howard to promote greater economic cooperation between the two nations.
IIT-M has also signed an agreement with the New South Wales University to create a joint research program in high-speed computer technology as well as computer modeling for atmospheric and seismic patterns.
Mar. 7, 2006
Indian Businessman Donates $1 Billion to Establish University
The Chairman of Vedanta Resources Plc, Anil Agarwal, has reportedly donated US$1 billion to establish Vedanta University. The future nonprofit institution will aim to compete globally for the finest students, lecturers, and researchers with world-renowned universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford. Agarwal envisions an institution of higher education with an eventual student population of nearly 100,000 that spawns an education and research township similar to the U.S.’s Palo Alto, CA, or “Silicon Valley” as it is commonly referred to. According to Agarwal, India has many high quality institutes which rank with the world’s best but are in specialized fields, while Vedanta University will aim to create a research and development hub for India that embraces a multi-disciplinary approach.
Managing this project is global management consulting firm A T Kearney India Ltd, with teams of consultants in the United States, India, and Europe all working on planning the inception of the university. Mr. Agarwal’s project reportedly has the support of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Feb. 16, 2006
Government Pledges Money to Enhance Universities
The Universities of Mumbai, Madras, and Calcutta will receive government grants of US$68 million this year as part of an ongoing initiative to boost them into the ranks of the world’s best universities. The Indian government decided in 2005 to create “institutions of excellence” and began by bestowing a $22 million grant on the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore last year.
This year the government will distribute $22 million to Punjab Agricultural University in appreciation of its efforts during the green revolutions that increased Indian crop yields and saved many from starvation. The Center for Biotechnology, Kerala, will be upgraded to an autonomous national institute so that it will be able to draw funds from the national Ministry of Science and Technology as well as the state government.
— The Chronicle of Higher Education
Mar. 17, 2006
Japanese Follow Trend Toward Elite Research Institutions
One of Japan’s oldest and most respected universities, Tohoku University in Kyodo, has announced that it will open a new advanced institute for research and education. The new branch of Tohoku will provide education for graduate and doctoral degree students in a broad range of disciplines unlike any other institution in Japan. Designed to compete with prominent Western institutions, the institute will specialize in research and study in the areas of life and biomedical sciences, information technology, languages, and the humanities. The new entity will consist of the Institute for International Advanced Research and Education and another separate research institute that is set to open in April 2007.
— Kyodo News
Mar. 17, 2006
Government Tightens Watch on Illegal Student Visas
Malaysian officials have announced a crackdown on any institution of higher education exploiting visa rules and allowing illegal workers to enter the country under false pretenses.
According to the home-affairs ministry of Malaysia, many institutions that offer English-language instruction have a documented student body of nearly 70 percent Bangladeshi men. The ministry became suspicious when they noticed that many of the Bangladeshis applying for student visas were between 25 and 30 years old.
Malaysia’s economy depends heavily on cheap foreign labor, but the government has placed restrictions on the number of manual laborers from certain countries such as Bangladesh that it will welcome to its shores. Recruiters in Malaysia have skirted these restrictions by using the student-visa program to attract foreign labor. The government plans to review all visas of foreign students and cancel the operational permits of all institutions involved in scams to import Bangladeshi labor.
Open University Admission Easier to Obtain
Malaysia’s Higher Education Ministry has decided to make admissions to the Open University less rigorous in an effort to permit more adults to obtain university degrees. After evaluating the number of adults, especially teachers, who had interest in furthering their education, the ministry decided that it would benefit the university to relax admission requirements and place a greater emphasis on the work experience of prospective students.
— People’s Daily Online
Mar. 15, 2006
New Study Abroad Requirements
New government legislation will require that all Nepali students wishing to study abroad acquire permission from the Ministry of Education in the form an official “no-objection-letter”. The new ordinance states that the government “will issue a no-objection-letter if it sees grounds to provide it after a thorough investigation.” Another section of the new ordinance states that students abroad who do not return to the country or contact the Ministry of Education after completion of their foreign degree/scholarship program will face fines based on the amount of time spent abroad, or the amount received in the form of scholarship funds.
— Kantipur Online
Feb. 15, 2006
HEC Stresses Accreditation for Agricultural Universities
Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) has established the National Agriculture Education Accreditation Council to ensure quality in the nation’s agricultural degree programs. Pakistan has four agricultural universities, a number of related colleges, and many other institutions with degree programs that are comparative to the discipline of agriculture. According to the HEC, accreditation in these particular universities in respect to curriculum, laboratories, research infrastructure, and faculty are important to the further socio-economic development of the country.
— Pakistan Times
Mar. 3, 2006
Indian Grad School Opens Branch
The city-state of Singapore hopes that its popularity as an international education hub for Asian students will increase with the opening of Xavier Labor Relations Institute (XLRI), a top-ranked Indian institution for graduate studies.
The new Xavier campus in Bukit Merah expects to cater to a niche market of students looking to earn their Masters through either full-time or part-time degree programs. The institution will also offer specialized management classes for working executives as it grows its reputation in Singapore and the region. Xavier looks to open its doors in June of this year with an enrollment of approximately 50 students, a number that is planned to reach 1,000 over the next five years.
XLRI’s only other international campus is located in the Middle Eastern educational hub of Dubai.
— Channel NewsAsia
Mar. 6, 2006
NYU and NUS Partner for Law Program
The program, entitled [email protected], will offer an NYU Master of Laws (LL.M.) and allow students to focus their studies in either U.S. and Asian business and trade law or to concentrate in justice and human rights. Students participating in the program may also choose to pursue an NUS LL.M. degree with a focus on Asian law, commercial law, intellectual property and technology law, or international law. The NYU degree will be taught by predominantly NYU faculty in residence. Students completing the program in Singapore will have the option to visit NYU’s New York City campus for two months to take part in a course on American law.
Program directors expect that the new degree offering will attract Asian students interested in learning more about American law as well as international students recognizing the importance of Asia to the future of international law. NYU described this collaboration as a logical next step in their goal to become an international law school. NYU created the Hauser Global Law School in 1994 to better internationalize their New York City campus.
— NYU Press Release
Feb. 15, 2006
Koreas to Open Joint University
Amid increased economic activity between North Korea and South Korea, the neighboring countries plan to open their first joint university in 2007. The planned Pyongyang University of Science and Technology will offer postgraduate courses designed to train business professionals with an understanding of commerce in both of the Koreas. The Seoul-based Northeast Asia Foundation for Education is managing the project that will employ roughly 50 professors, mostly from South Korea, and teach 200 students when it opens.
The North and South Korean governments initially agreed on the formation of the university in 2001. South Korea is providing funds for the development while North Korea is supplying land and labor for the construction. This is an important example of how relations between the two nations, divided by the world’s most heavily armed border, have improved over recent years.
— The Star Online
Feb. 23, 2006
Clash Over the Future of Korean Law Education
A bill being deliberated in the National Assembly that calls for the establishment of 8 to 10 new law schools by 2008 is drawing strong criticism from citizen and university groups over the role that the Korean Bar Association will play in the new law schools’ inception.
Under the current bill, the Korean Education Ministry would choose the universities that develop a law program to be evaluated by a committee of members from the Korean Bar Association. As part of this plan, the education minister would have the final word about whether or not the chosen university’s administration and/or law standards are acceptable.
Korean universities have opposed the proposed plan on the grounds that the Korean Bar is unqualified to evaluate academic institutions. Similarly, the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, a citizen group, feel that it would constitute a conflict of interest for the lawyers’ group to evaluate the newly established law schools and would prefer the job be left to an objective third-party organization. The Korea Law Professors Association and the People’s Solidarity for Democratic Judicial Reform are also weighing in on the conflict, proposing new measures to expand the number of Korean lawyers and collecting signatures in an effort to influence the National Assembly.
Korean officials began exploring possibilities for improving the law school system due to growing domestic demand for attorneys, increased competition amongst undergraduates for limited spots in law schools, and the eventual opening of the legal market to outside competition (see May/June 2005 issue of WENR).
— The Korea Herald
Mar. 22, 2006
Leader Proposes Welcoming Students from Mainland
Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) Chairman Ma Ying-Jeou has proposed that Taiwan contemplate permitting students from mainland China to enroll in Taiwanese institutions of higher education. According to Mr. Ma, such an educational exchange would foster peace across the Taiwan Strait, help the people of both regions understand one another, and help boost the enrollment of Taiwan’s 160 institutions of higher education.
While mainland China is unlikely to weigh in on the proposal, Chinese officials report that 5,000 Taiwanese students are currently studying at universities on the mainland. To date, an estimated 12,000 Taiwanese students have graduated from Chinese universities.
— Times Higher Education Supplement
Feb. 17, 2006
Ministry of Education Recognizes Online Master’s Degrees
The Taiwanese Ministry of Education has announced that it will recognize Master’s degrees earned through online coursework. The Computer Center of the ministry will accept applications from universities for approval of the online classes they plan to offer up until May and release a list of recognized programs in September. The ministry’s decision is part of a strategy to encourage the workforce to pursue lifelong learning opportunities.
The Ministry of Education stipulated that half of all credits required for graduation from a Master’s course could be recognized as online course credits, up from the previously mandated one third. At present, there are 60 Taiwanese schools running online courses and around 40,000 students participating in e-learning.
— Taiwan News
Mar. 24, 2006
State to Fund Overseas Study
Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) will fund graduate education abroad for 290 students this year. The number of scholarships available for students pursuing doctoral degrees will be 120, while 80 students seeking master’s degrees will receive funding. The remaining 90 scholarship opportunities will go to students that participate in combined courses, which can take place both abroad and in Vietnam.
Students will be sent to universities in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan to engage in various fields of study. Students pursuing degrees in biotechnology and materials technology will receive top priority. Candidates for the scholarships are lecturers, scientists, and technicians from state-owned universities and enterprises.
Feb. 21, 2006
Professor Faces Jail Time for Accepting Bribes in Landmark Decision
A former information technology professor at Ho Chi Minh City Open University has been found guilty of accepting bribes from students in exchange for passing them on examinations. Phan Thi Ngoc Son, who accepted gifts valued at around US$60 from students in exchange for passage on a data-management systems final, was sentenced to three years in prison. The ruling is a landmark as no other Vietnamese teacher has ever received prison time for taking bribes from their students.
Intense competition in Vietnam’s degree programs has made cheating on exams and the bribing of professors commonplace in the nation’s universities. Many students do not hesitate to pay professors off or pay another student to take an exam in their place, attributing the expense to the greater cost of their education. Despite government regulations such as signed identity cards designed to curb cheating, the government has been unable to curtial the frequency of fraudulent test results.
— The Chronicle of Higher Education
Feb. 17, 2006