WENR, June 2006: Asia-Pacific


3 Asian Universities Team-Up to Offer Joint MBA

Korea University, National University of Singapore and Fudan University (China) reached an agreement recently to jointly offer an “Asian-style” MBA program. Students will be able to attend lectures at all three schools and will receive a certificate awarded by each university.

The Korea Times
April 27, 2006


American University Opens, Enrolls From Among the Elite

Charging an annual tuition fee of US$5,000, the American University of Afghanistan opened its doors to an inaugural class of 48 students in late March. A majority of those students hailed from the country’s richest and most politically well-connected families.

The tuition fees place admission to the private school far beyond the means of most college-age students in Afghanistan, where the average worker makes no more than $100 a month. According to a report from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, many of the students now studying at the university are sons and daughters of Afghan cabinet members and regional governors, and many spent their formative years studying at schools abroad.

The university received seed funding of almost $18 million from the U.S. government and currently offers classes in preparatory English language, and degree programs in ICT and business management. In the fall, a second class of 100 students will be admitted. According to the university president, Sharif Fayez, the university is this year giving merit-based scholarships to 90 percent of the students worth between 30 to 60 percent of tuition fees.

The Institute for War and Peace Reporting
May 12, 2006


Australia May Lose Inflow of Indonesian Students

Higher education institutions in Australia may see a large drop in the number of Indonesian students enrolled in their programs over a controversy surrounding two professors accused of endorsing West Papuan independence.

The Indonesian Ministry of National Education has suspended cooperation with RMIT University and Deakin University in Melbourne, and threatened to suspend the recognition of credentials earned by Indonesian students attending those universities due to the arguments of professors Damien Kingsbury and Scott Burchill in favor of separatism in West Papua.

There are approximately 7,500 Indonesian students studying at Australian universities, 900 of whom attend RMIT. Relations between Indonesian diplomats and Australia soured after 42 Papuan citizens were granted asylum and protection visas this past January.

The Age
May 22, 2006

Foreign Student Numbers Rebound

Australian Education International released foreign student enrollment figures last month that debunked recent predictions that foreign student numbers in the country are set to plummet in the near future. New international enrollments at Australian universities grew 6.1 percent this March the deadline for first semester enrollments over last March.  More students from India entered Australian higher education while the numbers of students from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore were down. There are 143,000 foreign students currently studying at Australian universities, an overall increase of 5.4 percent. The total number of foreigners studying in Australia, including schools and vocational education providers, is more than 264,000. China currently sends more than twice as many university students as any other country.

The Age
May 4, 2006

Indian Students Tailor Education to Residency Prospects

A report published by a Monash University journal last month states that three quarters of all Indian students who participated in an Australian university course in 2003 went on to gain a residency visa in that country following graduation. According to university researcher Michiel Bass, many Indian students plot their education strategy in Australia, with the goal of attaining permanent residency after graduation holding more priority than institutional reputation or a particular course of study. The report illustrates that many Indian students in Australia chart their university career in the fields of information technology, management, engineering and commerce to mirror specific employment gaps in Australian industry that make it easier for the future attainment of a work visa.

Mr. Bass conducted interviews with Indian students, ex-students, migration agents, professors, student advisors and Immigration Department officials to shape his research. Officials in charge of university recruiting efforts overseas often use statistics provided by the Immigration Department’s occupation-in-demand list to decide which courses to promote to international students considering Australia as an option for their higher education.

The Times Higher Education Supplement
May 5, 2006


Chinese Numbers Abroad Increase

Preliminary figures released by the Chinese Ministry of Education show that more than 120,000 Chinese students traveled overseas to study in 2005, reversing a two-year downward slide. The 2005 figure represents an increase of 6,000 students from the year prior.

Chinese Ministry of Education
    April 2006

Forbes Ranks B-Schools

Forbes China has published a listing of the best MBA programs in China. Based on a survey of graduate salaries from the class of 2002, the magazine lists the Shanghai-based China Europe International Business School as offering the top full-time program and Bejing University’s International MBA program as the best part-time program.

The survey also found that international programs launched in association with prestigious western business schools and specialized programs in specific fields are much more attractive than standard ones. MBA programs were first offered in China in 1991 and there are now more than 130 business schools offering MBA programs.

    April 6, 2006

Top US B-School Launches Executive Program

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced in March the launching of a new executive education program in China for China Minsheng Banking Corporation, the country’s only privately held bank.

Between March 2006 and May 2007, three cohorts of 60 senior executives from the Chinese bank will complete eight modules specifically designed to train professionals in the banking industry. The program will be taught in Shanghai by Wharton faculty with translation into Chinese.

Wharton School news release
April 5, 2006

American University to Open Campus in Wenzhou

Kean University, an American institution based in the state of New Jersey, has signed an agreement with the Chinese government to open what will be the first full-scale university operated by an American university  in China.

Wenzhou, a city on China’s southeastern coast, will host the new Kean University campus abroad. Affiliated with local Wenzhou University, the institution will accommodate around 4,000 students and offer a complete curriculum including both bachelor’s and master’s degrees when it opens in 2007. Classes at the Kean campus will be taught completely in English by American professors, and students will have complete Internet access to the New Jersey campus library system. Wenzhou University is assisting Kean with the Chinese licensing process, providing temporary facilities, and assisting with a marketing campaign to recruit students. As part of the 50-year agreement signed by Kean, the Chinese government will fund the construction of the new US$62.5 million campus.

A 21st century boom in the demand for higher education in China has prompted the emergence of numerous foreign providers utilizing joint degree agreements with local universities and distance education programs. According to the International Finance Corporation, there are currently more than 700 foreign academic programs operating in China. England’s University of Liverpool and the State University of New York at Albany in affiliation with other institutional partners are both planning to establish Chinese branches in the near future. The University of Nottingham opened a branch campus in Zhejiang two years ago.

May 5, 2006
The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 19, 2006

Government Seeks to Slow Growth in University Enrollments

After six or seven years of unparalleled growth in tertiary enrollments at Chinese institutions of higher education, the government has decided to apply the breaks saying that campuses are overcrowded, professors overworked and graduates underemployed.

The growing student population can be attributed to a combination of government initiatives and a booming economy which has made secondary and tertiary education affordable to many more families. Greater flexibility in admissions policies, adopted as a government initiative in the late 1990s, has accounted for an enrollment increase of nearly 500 percent since 1998, bringing to more than 23 million the number of students at the nation’s colleges and universities.

With the National Development and Reform Commission estimating in May that 60 percent of this summer’s college graduates will have trouble finding employment, the government has decided to act. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s office announced in May that the government will seek to lower the rate of university enrollments by revaluing vocational training and high school diplomas, making the need to go on for university studies seem less pressing. The government will also inspect admissions departments to make sure that they adhere to the new standards.

Large numbers of well-educated yet unemployed youth is a prospect that makes the government nervous, especially considering political protest in the past has often been incited by students. An estimated 4.1 million students are expected to graduate this year, an increase of 22 percent over 2005. It is estimated that the current job market can absorb 1.6 million new graduates.

Washington Post
May 12, 2006


Recent Visits and Announcements from New Zealand, UK Underscore Importance of Indian Market 

In early May, New Zealand’s Minister for Economic Development Trevor Mallard led a delegation to India, aimed at promoting New Zealand’s education and research industry to Indian institutions and students. The visit is a follow-up to a trip he made in 2005 as Education Minister. Mr. Mallard’s visit came on the heels of an announcement in April by British Prime Minister Tony Blair drawing attention to a new UK-India Education Research Initiative designed to strengthen academic ties between Britain and India. Mr. Blair originally announced the new program during a visit to India in the fall of 2005.

According to Mr. Mallard, the Indian education market in 2005 was estimated to be worth almost US$40 million to New Zealand’s economy, compared to less than one-third that figure five years ago. In 1998, there were approximately 164 Indian students in New Zealand compared to more than 3340 in 2005. In addition to trumpeting the study and research opportunities available at New Zealand’s institutions of higher education, Mallard also signed an agreement between the Auckland University of Technology and an institute in Bangalore to deliver the Auckland University of Technology ’s MBA program in India.

The new British-Indian research tie-up will provide financial support for research projects and academic exchanges, including joint-Ph.D programs between the two nations. Almost US$30 million in financing will be provided by the British government, the British Council and business interests.

April 28, 2006
The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 19, 2006

Government Announces Establishment of 5 New Health Institutes

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced in late April that five public-health institutes are to be established to improve health education in the country.

The five Indian Institutes of Public Health, each with the capacity to train 5,000 professionals annually, are to be set up by the recently established Public Health Foundation of India, a public-private initiative that will also advise the government on health-policy issues. So far the foundation has raised US$44 million from private donors – just over a third from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – and will also oversee the training of a further 5,000 health professionals a year at existing facilities. The new institutes will award master’s degrees in public health.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
    April 14, 2006

Regulatory Body Cuts Number of Engineering Seats Over Quality Concerns

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) reduced the number of seats by 22,722 at more than 300 colleges over concerns of too few faculty, poor infrastructure and lax academic standards. AICTE hopes that the reduced enrollments will help institutions meet the necessary teaching requirements.

At approximately 200 other institutions meeting AICTE requirements, 16,357 seats were added to help meet demand. Although demand for engineering places is at an all time high, AICTE deemed the measures necessary to maintain standards and international respect for Indian engineering graduates.

The move comes as India pushes to improve quality standards at technical institutions following India’s failure last year to gain entry to the Washington Accord, which represents agencies that accredit engineering programs in eight countries and accept one another’s standards as an equally high standard. India plans to reapply in 2007. India graduates 350,000 engineering students annually compared to 100,000 in the European Union and 70,000 in the United States.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 19, 2006


6-Year Pharmacy Program Introduced to Increase Number of Skilled Specialists

The Ministry of Education has introduced a new six-year program in pharmaceutical sciences in an effort to increase the number of professional pharmacists and to draw a line between the training of professionals and the training of researchers. From the beginning of the new academic year, which began in April, universities can offer both (or either) four- and six-year programs.

The four-year undergraduate program will continue to be offered for those wishing to pursue a career in pharmaceutical research or as medical representatives. Those wishing to train as pharmacists will now be required to enroll in and complete the new six-year program before being eligible for professional licensure examinations. The new longer program includes a 24-week internship, which is considerably longer than the two-to-four week internship requirement in the four-year program. Those graduating from the new program will be awarded the title gakushi (yakugaku – doctor of pharmacy).

Until 2017, students graduating from four-year programs will still be eligible to take board examinations upon completion of extra courses and a practicum at a graduate school in pharmaceutical sciences. Graduates from the old program will continue to be awarded a bachelor’s in pharmaceutical sciences, which gives access to master and doctoral programs. Graduates of the long program will be eligible for direct entry into a doctoral program.

Ministry of Education
April 2006

Government Adopts Controversial ‘Patriotic’ Revision to Education Law

Japan’s cabinet approved a bill in April to emphasize “love of country” and “public spirit and Japanese traditions” in the education of the nation’s school children; a change sought by conservatives who believe patriotism should be encouraged in schools, but opposed by those who fear it could lead to a revival of the kind of nationalism that led to militarism before World War II.

The revisions which would be the first to the 1947 Fundamental Law of Education since it was enacted during the U.S.-led occupation would undoubtedly be frowned upon by China and South Korea, where memories of Japan’s military occupation still bubble close to the surface. Japan’s relations with its two neighbors have been soured in recent years over textbooks that critics say ignore completely Tokyo’s past aggressions and by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s annual visit to the Yasukuni shrine for war dead, where some convicted war criminals are honored.

The revisions would make it a goal of education policy to cultivate “an attitude that respects tradition and culture, loves the nation and the homeland that have fostered them, respects other nations, and contributes to peace and development of international society.”

Conservatives have long been unhappy with the U.S.-drafted law, which they say eroded the pride of Japanese in their culture and history, and undermined legitimate patriotic sentiment. Whether the bill will be enacted in the current session of parliament ending June 18 is unclear, although the ruling camp has a majority in both houses. Other amendments contained in the bill would delete laws specifying nine years of compulsory education, in an effort to address a change in social conditions stemming in part from the rapidly falling birthrate, and add articles on lifelong learning, home education and a basic plan for promotion of education.

    April 28, 2006

Grad Schools to be Reorganized

A five-year program to create a better study environment for graduate students and young researchers, a government-identified prerequisite for boosting Japan’s international competitiveness in business and technology, has been announced by the Education, Science and Technology Ministry.

While the number of students continuing into post-graduate study has rapidly increased in recent years, many graduate schools have been criticized internationally and by the business sector for poor academic standards. According to the ministry, the number of students enrolled nationwide in graduate programs rose from approximately 87,000 in 1988 to 254,000 in 2005.

Toward the end of March, the ministry eliminated what is known as the academic unit system, which allows faculty deans free rein over assistant professors and other research staff regarding personnel affairs and research methods. Criticism of the apprenticeship-like system has increased among graduate students and other young researchers who say they feel like they are treated as low-paid employees of professors. Effective from the next academic year, the post of assistant professor will be abolished and replaced by the new post of associate professor. Associate professors will be capable of exercising discretion in educating students and undertaking research activities, officials said.

The business community also has criticized the system for lacking flexibility in allowing academic knowledge to be applied for industrial purposes. In response, the ministry plans to introduce an evaluation system by a third-party organ of individual graduate courses, effective this academic year.

The Daily Yomiuri
May 1, 2006


Government Announces Details of $2billion Research Subsidy Aimed at Boosting University Competitiveness

The Ministry of Education announced in April the award of US$2.2 billion in grants to 568 research teams from 74 universities as part of an initiative aimed at encouraging research at the university level.

The initiative, known as the ‘Brain Korea 21’ initiative, was launched in 1999 to boost the international competitiveness of Korean universities. The newly announced grant program is to run until 2012 with an end goal of producing 18,500 first-rate researchers in the fields of science and technology, and 2,500 in the humanities and social sciences. Seoul National University, Yonsei University and Korea University were the top three recipients.

The Korea Herald
April 27, 2006

One-Year MBA Program Piloted

Seoul National University (SNU) will begin offering European-style one-year MBA programs beginning next semester, following provisional approval from the Education and Human Resources Development Ministry in March.

Students with a four-year undergraduate degree will be eligible for entry into the English-taught program, with preference given to those with two years or more of work experience. SNU has reportedly recruited foreign professors to teach some of the classes.

Traditionally, MBA programs have been taught over the course of two years at Korean universities; however, it is expected that the Ministry of Education will approve the opening of one-year programs at institutions across the country after fully reviewing SNU and other schools’ proposed MBA offerings.

The Korea Times
April 27, 2006


Private Schools Threatened with Closure for Flouting Visa Rules

Government officials announced in March that any private college caught breaking student-visa regulations would be closed down. The move comes at a time of increased concern in Malaysia that many Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are applying for student visas in order to enter the country to work illegally and with no intention of studying.

The home affairs ministry recently cited figures suggesting that up to 70 percent of students enrolled at some private colleges in Malaysia are from Bangladesh alone. Malaysia has been trying in recent years to establish itself as a regional education hub, especially for students from majority-Muslim countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The government plans to review all foreign student visas, and says that any school found to have knowingly enrolled illegal workers will be forced to close.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 31, 2006


Chancellors’ Committee Sets Sights on Eliminating Illegal Universities

The President, the Prime Minister, and the Provincial Governors of Pakistan decided at a meeting of the Chancellors’ Committee last month to advise the provinces to prohibit the operation of any illegal universities within the next three months. All universities that are not following criteria outlined by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) run the risk of having their status downgraded to college level in March 2007. The HEC is funding an advertising campaign in national newspapers cautioning potential students against illegal universities that charge high tuition fees for degrees with marginal merit.

Delegates at the Chancellors’ Committee also agreed to expedite the development of nine new engineering universities scheduled to be developed over the next ten years with assistance from Austria, Germany, Japan, Italy, France, China, South Korea, and Sweden. The project is part of a strategy the Pakistani government enacted to increase the country’s participation in a knowledge-driven international economy with a focus in the field of engineering.

May 12, 2006


NUS Sets Up Fifth Overseas College in India

An agreement reached between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) will result in the establishment of an NUS college in Bangalore. As part of the agreement, NUS graduate students choosing to come to India will be able to take classes at Bangalore-based IISc, while also taking on internships at information technology companies located in Bangalore, considered India’s “IT capital”. At the undergraduate level, NUS has similar arrangements in the United States (Philadelphia and Silicon Valley), Shanghai and Stockholm, Sweden. Students spend one year as interns at technology-based start-ups and attend entrepreneurship and discipline-based courses at partner universities concurrently.

NUS news release
March 16, 2006


New University Admissions Test Rocked by Scandal

Scoring errors on Thailand’s new university entrance examinations left 300,000 students unsure over their academic future, led to the resignation of two senior officials, and delayed the beginning of the new semester at several universities this year.

Problems with the test scores, which are being used for admissions purposes for the first time this year, became evident in early April as students began to check their results online. Thousands protested that they had received erroneous results. After two rounds of reviews, the Higher Education Commission took over the test and ordered a third rescoring in late April. At least 10 universities announced that they would have to delay the start of the new academic year by a week as a result of the scoring blunders.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 28, 2006