WENR, August 2006: Asia-Pacific



Australian and Chinese Institution Open Joint Facility Down Under

The new Peking University [1]Griffith University [2] Research and Learning Center opened this past June. Located on Griffith’s Nathan campus, the collaboration between the Chinese and Australian institutions will focus on academic exchange in the fields of public health, biosecurity, environmental health and language. The center will offer a joint Master of Science in Public Health.

Griffith Pro Vice Chancellor Ian O’Connor hopes that the new arrangement will help boost study abroad at his institution where currently only one in 20 undergraduates travel overseas for a portion of their studies. Peking University and Griffith first developed a relationship after Griffith helped the Chinese university implement a master of public health at the Chinese Center for Disease Control [3] following the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The Courier Mail [4]
    June 19, 2006

More Foreign Universities Set Their Sights on South Australia as State Positions to Develop as Regional Education Hub

Carnegie Mellon University [5] may have set something of a precedent when it became the first overseas university to establish a branch campus in Australia. Press reports in recent weeks indicate that up to four more foreign institutions have expressed an interest in setting up shop in Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia and home to the newly established Carnegie Mellon campus.

According to reports in the Times Higher Education Supplement [6] and The Australian Higher Education Supplement [7], at least two British universities and one U.S. institution have begun negotiations with the South Australian government to set up within the next four years. Bristol University [8] and Cranfield University [9] are believed to be the two British universities to have begun negotiating on the possibility of offering graduate-level programs. Cranfield specializes in defense subjects and is co-located with Britain’s Defense College of Management and Technology [10]. The defense industry is one of the niche professional skills markets the South Australian government is hoping to build in a broader plan to turn the state, and Adelaide in particular, into a regional education hub. Specifically, the government is trying to attract high-caliber programs in areas such as energy economics, high-technology criminology and software engineering. International student numbers in the state are already growing at three times the national average, and a majority of the 70 students that enrolled in Carnegie Mellon’s two master of science programs are from overseas. The Pittsburgh-based private school is offering degrees in public policy and management, and information technology.

In other parts of the country, Heriot-Watt University [11], a Scottish institution, has signed an agreement with Sydney-based financial services education group Tribeca Learning [12] to offer its online MBA degrees through its Edinburgh Business School. The university has already applied for licensure as a foreign university in Australia. Watford College, A British specialist school, is currently in talks with marketing group Education Adelaide to open a branch campus to offer English language and foundation studies courses later this year.

The Australian [13]
June 21, 2006

New Class of University Approved

State and federal governments agreed in July to create a new class of specialist institution. The new category of institution might include agricultural universities, mining universities or performing arts universities, while the term ‘university college’ will be used to define institutions on their way to full university status. The new class of institution has been introduced to allow for greater competition from the private sector, and to make Australia a more attractive destination for foreign universities wishing to establish in Australia.

The Australian [13]
July 8, 2006


China Pursues Exchange Cooperation with Asian Neighbors

China’s goal is to become the “most attractive destination” in Asia for potential foreign students desiring to study abroad according to the Ministry of Education [14]. The China Scholarship Council [15] (CSC) reports that 140,000 international students pursued studies at Chinese institutions of higher learning in 2005, an increase of 32 percent over 1998 figures. The CSC cited economic growth, stability, and international influence as contributors to the heightened presence of foreign students.

One neighbor in particular with whom China seeks to improve education exchange is Japan. Despite strained diplomatic relations, the two countries are forging ahead with plans to expand exchange opportunities between their respective academic communities. At the Fourth China-Japan University Presidents’ Forum in late May, officials from 15 institutions signed or renewed cooperation agreements. The Japanese government has also decided to increase the level of funding Chinese students at expensive private universities in their country receive. Of the 120,000 foreign students studying in Japan, more than 80,000 are Chinese.

China View [16]
    May 29, 2006 and May 12, 2006

Students Riot Over Discrepancy on University Diplomas

Chinese university students in the city of Zhengzhou rioted in June over the name of the awarding institution printed on the diplomas they received at graduation. Somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 students from Shengda Economics, Trade and Management College vandalized school property, nearby automobiles and a bank when they learned that under new national regulations all diplomas issued at Shengda will no longer bear the name of the more prestigious national-level Zhengzhou University [17] with which the college is affiliated.

Rioting students speaking out against the university’s decision said they felt cheated because they had chosen to study at Shengda after being promised they would receive a credential from Zhengzhou. Many students attending Shengda scored poorly on national college entrance exams, come from poor rural backgrounds, and have borrowed large sums of money to pay the college’s relatively high tuition in hopes that it might help them better compete in China’s tight job market.

Since the beginning of China’s economic boom, the country has seen an exponential increase in the higher education options that have been made available to students, a trend that has fueled concern among government officials that education might soon outpace the economy in terms of growth. Recently, the Chinese government has scaled back the expansion of the state higher education system in order to stem the possibility of unrest among large numbers of unemployed university graduates (see June issue of WENR [18]). In the last seven years, the number of students graduating from China’s institutions of higher education has grown fivefold to around 4 million. According to the National Development and Reform Commission [19], 60 percent of those graduates are having difficulties finding employment.

AP [20]
June 19, 2006
The New York Times
June 22, 2006

Mainland Students Applying to Hong Kong Universities in Record Numbers

Hong Kong’s eight universities will enroll approximately 1,000 students from the Chinese mainland this year; they will be enrolling them from a pool of 30,000 applicants in the first year that universities in Hong Kong officially join the mainland’s university enrollment system.

The rapidly increasing popularity of Hong Kong’s universities among mainland students has prompted Chinese higher education officials to call for urgent reform to tertiary studies in China in order to keep top students in the country, reports the People’s Daily. A recent on-line survey conducted by a Chinese Internet news source found that 67 percent of respondents would rather study at one of Hong Kong’s universities than at the mainland’s prestigious Beijing [1] and Qinghua [21] universities.  According to Lap-Chee Tsui, Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong [22], two thirds of mainland students who graduate from the university decide to stay in Hong Kong to find work rather than return to the mainland. Tsui also said that this year his university received 10,000 applications from mainland students attempting to gain admission in one of only 300 places.

People’s Daily [23]
July 15 & 19, 2006

University Presidents Voice Rare Criticism

Leaders from some of China’s most prestigious universities publicly criticized an illogical focus on research and worsening levels of academic corruption, according to reports from the state-run Xinhua News Agency. Calls were also made for the reform of the country’s centralized admissions system.

In July, a number of high-profile speakers taking part in the Chinese-Foreign University Presidents’ Forum [24] in Shanghai criticized an overemphasis in graduate education on meeting publishing quotas, and a lack of focus on engaging in worthwhile and meaningful research. Chinese graduate students must publish a set amount of articles in top journals each year, sometimes upward of 20. University presidents speaking at the forum said this has led to research papers with entirely fictitious results or gross cases of plagiarism. Much of the problem has been blamed on the way universities are assessed by local authorities, which base much of their funding decisions on research output. The outburst follows a string of high-profile dismals of top Chinese researchers amid charges of corruption and plagiarism.

Presidents also chose to level criticism against the college entrance examination, suggesting that an overemphasis on testing has suffocated innovation and left many talented students by the wayside. Rather than relying on the results of a single make-or-break test, university leaders at the forum suggested that other indicators such as high school term scores should also be evaluated.

People’s Daily Online [25]
July 15, 2006


Indian University Enters Chinese and African Markets

Indira Gandhi National Open University [26] (IGNOU) has signed a memorandum of understanding with two Chinese universities to offer distance-learning programs, according to university vice-chancellor H. P. Dikshit. IGNOU has agreed to develop teaching methodology, conduct examinations, and award degrees to their Chinese counterparts for electronic coursework towards a master’s degree in computer applications. The Indian university also plans to expand its distance learning operations to Kenya, Nigeria and other parts of Africa. IGNOU has signed agreements to provide Nigerian universities with content for 100 courses over the next five years and with Nairobi-based Kenyatta University [27] to provide content for 60 different courses.

Chennai Online News [28]
June 13, 2006

Wigan and Leigh College to Increase Presence in India

Wigan and Leigh College India [29] (WLCI), a subsidiary of Wigan and Leigh College [30], UK, has plans to establish 15 new campuses by August 2007 in the cities of Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Jharkahnd, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The college will also begin the operation of six new Indian campuses this coming academic semester in Bhubaneswar, Srinagar, Jaipur, Jammu, Ranchi and Goa. WLCI currently operates branches in 10 major Indian cities. WLCI’s campuses generally offer professional education to students in the fields of business management, fashion technology, advertising, graphic design and media studies.

Business Standard [31]
    July 21, 2006

Demand for Executive Business Education Being Met by Overseas Providers

Two overseas business and management education providers have established programs in India in recent months, both pointing to an unmet demand in India for executive business training.

In June, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad [32] (IIM-A) signed a memorandum of understanding with US-based Duke Corporate Education [33] to provide customized corporate education programs in India and the Middle East. Programs will reportedly be tailored to individual corporate needs and will generally be no longer than a few months in duration.

In August the Auckland University of Technology [34] (AUT) will begin offering an 18-month fulltime flexible MBA program for working business executives in association with the Institute of Finance and International Management, a business school based in Bangalore and operated by the not-for-profit Centre for Developmental Education.

AUT news release [34]
June 2, 2006
The Times of India [35]
June 19, 2006


Enrollment at Private Universities Dismal

Japan’s private universities had their worst ever enrollment season this year, according to an annual survey conducted by the Promotion and Mutual Aid Corp. for Private Schools. The survey revealed that 222, or 40 percent, of Japan’s 550 four-year private institutions of higher education failed to meet admission quotas this year, 62 more than last year.

The private university sector has been deregulated in recent years and as a result many new universities have opened around the country. According to the Promotion and Mutual Aid Corporation, eight new universities and 41 departments were created this spring, excluding those opened by joint-stock companies and those offering correspondence only courses. With falling birth rates and enrollments many private institutions face dire financial straights. According to officials from the private university lobby group, declining birthrates have caused an increase in competition for potential students while universities have not rationalized falling enrollments by eliminating under-utilized departments. In 1992 4.43 million secondary school leavers applied to private universities while only 2.95 million applied for this academic year.

The Japan Times [36]
July 27, 2006


Three Colleges Approved for Upgrade to University Status

Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education has approved bids from Cosmopoint [37], Inti College Malaysia [38] and Taylor’s College [39] to be upgraded from private colleges to the status of university college. The three colleges received conditional approval from the ministry and an invitation to upgrade their campuses after an exhaustive evaluation process overseen by the government. Minister of Higher Education Datuk Mustapa Mohamed called attention to the colleges need to maintain high quality at the public announcement of their upgraded designation.

The Star [40]
    June 11, 2006


Malaysian and Thai Cross-Border Initiatives

Lim Kokwing University College of Creative Technology [41] is to offer a diploma course in information and communication technology and business development at centers in Yangon and Mandalay. The Malaysian university reportedly offers diploma courses in 28 countries.

In related news, Thai education authorities are offering scholarships for qualified students from Myanmar to study at Thai universities.

People’s Daily [42]
August 1, 2006


France to Help Develop Engineering University

As part of a package of agreements designed to enhance bilateral cooperation between France and Pakistan, it was announced in July at a joint press conference of the countries’ two foreign ministers that France would provide backing for the establishment of a university of engineering and sciences in Karachi. The new university will constitute one of six engineering universities that will form a network of such institutions across the country, according to official statements made earlier this year (see February issue of WENR [43]). All six institutions will reportedly be built in cooperation with international partners.

DAWN [44]
    July 6, 2006

USAID Signs Agreement with Pakistan to Invest in Education

Last month, officials from Pakistan and the U.S. signed a bilateral agreement under which the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide $62.7 million for the improvement of primary and higher education. Of the total amount, $40 million will be earmarked for teacher and administrative training, school construction, and the development of community interest at the level of primary education. The remaining $22.7 million will go towards funding the postgraduate study of Pakistani students in the United States through the Fulbright program, and need-based scholarships at 11 universities the country over.

DAWN [44]
    July 24, 2006


Berkeley, NUS to Partner in Establishing Center for Risk Management

The National University of Singapore [45] (NUS) is to partner with the Haas School of Business [46] at the University of California, Berkeley to establish the Berkeley-NUS Risk Management Institute (RMI). In addition to generating and disseminating knowledge on risk management through financial research, the institute will offer executive education and certificate programs beginning in August of this year.

ASCRIBE Newswire [47]
    June 30, 2006

MIT Announces Plans to Establish First Research Center Abroad

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology [48] (MIT) and the National Research Foundation of Singapore announced in July plans to set up a major new research center in Singapore in 2007. The initiative, known as the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), will be the Boston-based university’s first such research center of its kind outside the United States and MIT’s largest international research project ever.

The SMART center will serve as a hub for interactions between MIT and global science and technology researchers from the Asia-Pacific region. The center will be the first of a series of centers that the government-backed National Research Foundation plans to establish under the international Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE).

MIT news release [49]
    July 7, 2006

French Business School Inaugurates New Campus

Paris-based ESSEC [50] business school officially inaugurated in May its third campus in Asia, the ESSEC Asian Center located on the 13th floor of the Singapore National Library. With backing from the Economic Development Board of Singapore [51], the new center is offering ESSEC students the chance to take courses with a focus on Asian business and management, which include language training and the option of study trips and short-term work placements. In addition, the center offers executive training programs.

In establishing itself in Singapore, ESSEC joins other high-profile international business schools such as the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business [52], INSEAD [53], and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business [54] that have chosen the city state as their Asian base of operations.  Other international institutions of higher education that have established operations in Singapore include MIT [48], Johns Hopkins University [55], Georgia Institute of Technology [56], Technical University of Eindhoven [57], Technical University of Munich [58], Shanghai Jiao Tong University [59] and Stanford University [60].

ESSEC news release [61]
May 13, 2006

Johns Hopkins Research Center Shuts its Doors for Good

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research [62]  (A*STAR) has reported that the Johns Hopkins University [55] biomedical research facility in the country will close within the year. The joint venture between the U.S.-based university and the Singapore government failed to meet eight of its 13 proposed performance benchmarks since opening in 1998, despite over US$52million in funding from the government of Singapore.

According to media reports published in late July, the university accused its Singapore partner of not fulfilling its “educational and monetary obligations” to the research collaboration. The project failed to attract top international scientists to the facility, a prior goal of the union. A clinic tied to the project, Johns Hopkins Singapore International Medical Center, will remain open.

Houston Chronicle [63]
July 25, 2006

South Korea

Number of Students Studying Abroad Increases

Figures issued recently by the Korean Government reveal that there were more than 190,000 South Koreans studying abroad in 2005, an increase of 2.44 percent on the previous year. The most popular destinations were the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia respectively.

Australian Education International [64]
    June 7, 2006

Ministry to Change Regulations on Academic Credits Earned Overseas, Award of Joint Degrees

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development [65] announced plans in July aimed at increasing cooperation between Korean and foreign universities.

The ministry plans to revise the current higher education law to allow individual universities to set their own regulations concerning the recognition of credits earned overseas. The current law only allows half of the credits gained at a foreign university to be counted toward the total credits required to graduate from a Korean institution of higher education. Revisions to the law could be in place as soon as next year, reports the Korea Herald.

Other ministry plans include changes to the laws governing joint degrees between foreign and Korean universities that would allow for the award of joint degrees in cases where instruction has taken place outside Korea.

The Korea Herald [66]
July 13, 2006

Universities to Introduce English-Taught Programs to Attract Foreign Students

Nine universities have been selected by the Ministry of Education [65] to introduce classes taught in English and to increase beginning Korean language instruction, in order that they can better serve foreign students studying in the country. The initiative is part of the Study Korea Project enacted by the ministry in 2005 to encourage foreign students to travel to Korea and to aid in their adaptation to life in the country.

Gyeongsang National University [67], Dongyang Technical College [68], Soongsil University [69] and Incheon University [70] will each receive US$55,000 from the ministry of education to begin teaching classes in English. Kimpo College [71], Daegu University [72], Yonsei University [73], Pusan University of Foreign Studies [74] and Soonchunhyang University each received US$44,000 each to open classes in beginning Korean language. Twenty-nine universities and colleges applied for the program.

The Korea Herald [75]
July 18, 2006


Two New Universities Approved by Government

The Vietnamese government has approved the construction of two new university campuses capable of accommodating 200,000 students.  According to Tran Hong Quan, President of the Association of Non-State Universities and Colleges, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai has agreed to the project which will create universities near Hanoi in the Bac Ninh province and in the Long An province near Ho Chi Minh City. The US$350million endeavor is being implemented to increase student enrollment in Vietnam from 167 students per 10,000 people to 200 by the year 2010. There are currently 311 universities and colleges in Vietnam, 37 of which are private.

Voice of Vietnam [76]
May 21, 2006