WENR, June 2008: Asia Pacific


South Asia’s First Regional University Names President

South Asia’s first regional university will be built with initial funding of approximately US$2 million from the Indian government. This was among the comments recently made by the newly appointed president of South Asia University. G.S. Chadha also indicated that the institution would open in 2010 at the earliest.

Mr. Chadha, a former vice chancellor of New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University [1], is a well-known economics scholar in Asia and is also a member of the Indian Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council.

In April 2007, leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s member countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka — agreed to set up the South Asian University in India. Mr. Chadha said the association expected a lot of money to come from sources outside the member countries. The Indian government has yet to acquire land for the university, but it has identified 100 acres in south Delhi, close to some of the capital’s universities, that could serve as a campus.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [2]
May 8, 2008


Undergraduate Law Phased Out as Melburne U. Moves to U.S. Model

Melbourne University [3] enrolled its last class of undergraduate law students last year, and now only offers new law enrollments at the graduate level. At the moment, the university offers the undergraduate LLB and the American-style postgraduate JD, or juris doctor, which has been available since 1999.

Melbourne will be the first university in the country to adopt this approach to legal education when the undergraduate degree is phased out, and as in the United States enrollment in law programs will require that students already have an undergraduate degree in a field other than law. Officials at Melbourne interviewed by the Australian newspaper believe that they may be setting the standard for the way law is taught in the country. Law schools in Japan, Korea and Hong Kong are moving in a similar direction.

The Australian [4]
April 25, 2008


Four University Presidents Dismissed in Corruption Crackdown

Bangladesh consistently ranks as one of the most corrupt nations in the world, and higher education is one of the arenas where graft thrives. In a bid to drive out corruption from the nation’s universities, the government has engaged in a sweeping anti-corruption drive, recently dismissing the heads of four public universities for their alleged involvement in corruption and administrative irregularities.

According to a report in the Daily Star, a local newspaper, three of the four university chiefs — Mosharraf Hossain Miah of Bangladesh Agricultural University [5], Abul Khair of the Noakhali University of Science and Technology [6], and Abdul Latif Masum of the Patuakhali University of Science and Technology [7] — were dismissed in May, one week after Altaf Hossain of Rajshahi University [8] was let go.

The officials were removed on the recommendations of the University Grants Commission [9], the country’s university regulator, which uncovered financial and administrative irregularities, especially in recruiting professors, during an investigation, the newspaper reports. In April, Akbar Ali Khan, chairman of a body assigned to modernize old and ineffective laws, blamed corruption for the rot in Bangladesh’s education sector.

The Daily Star [10]
May 21, 2008


Government Seeks 50% Tertiary Participation

The government of Brunei has set a target of enrolling 50 percent of college-age nationals in some form of post-secondary education within five years, and 30 percent in degree or diploma programs in the same time period. The current enrollment rate stands at 13 percent.

The Education Minister, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Lela Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Rahman Dato Setia Hj Mohamed Taib, stated that the new education system, named the 21st Century National Education System, is geared towards “a quality education that responds and fulfils the needs of a constantly evolving society in a globalized world full of uncertainty and challenges”. New revised methods of assessment to measure students’ achievement are being introduced to support the system, he added.

Brunei Direct [11]
April 8, 2008


National Admissions Exam no Longer Required in Zhejiang

Universities in Zhejiang province in eastern China will no longer be required to use results from the National College Entrance Examination, or Gaokao, when making admissions decisions from 2009. The Gaokao is conducted nationwide at the beginning of summer each year.

With the high-stakes Gaokao no longer taking center stage in Zhejiang admissions, the state’s school leavers will face a much less stressful end to secondary schooling. Universities will be able to construct their own admissions requirements and policies, which could include criteria such as extra-curricula activities, references, and high school grades. Critics fear that corruption and political pressure may now creep into admission decisions.

Sina [12]
April 17, 2008

China Pushing for Global Education Hub Status

According to a recent report from China Daily, China is “pushing ahead in its efforts to become a leading destination for international students, riding on the wave of a growing number of foreigners coming to study in recent years.”

As part of the government’s effort to promote the nation as a study destination, it is increasing the number of scholarships it offers to international students, especially those looking to enroll in advanced degrees. A total of US$71 million is being made available for scholarships this year, an increase of 40 percent from last year.

The number of foreign students studying in China surpassed 195,000 in 2007, up 20 percent year on year, according to recent figures from the education ministry. More than 68,000 students studied in diploma programs, while 10,000 were on government scholarships, a 20 percent increase from 2006. Seventy-two percent of students were from Asia, 13 percent from Europe, 10 percent from the Americas and 3 percent from Africa. South Korea, Japan, the United States, Vietnam and Thailand were the top five sending countries respectively.

China Daily [13]
April 24, 2008

Government Calls a Halt to Development of New Doctoral Programs

The Chinese Ministry of Education [14] announced in April that it wishes to see a slow down in the number of new doctoral programs being created at universities across the country. According to an article published by the Xinhua news agency, China is now producing more PhDs annually than the United States.

Yang Yuliang, who heads the office of the State Council Academic Degrees Committee, told Xinhua that China produced about 50,000 doctors in 2006, a similar figure to the United States. The national expenditure on research and development, however, was roughly one ninth of the U.S. federal R&D spending in the same year, according to government statistics.

The number of people who earned doctoral degrees in 2007 is not currently available; however, an estimate of 60,000 was quoted by Xinhua based on a 26.7 percent average annual growth rate of PhD admissions from 1999 to 2003. At 60,000 newly minted doctorates, China is currently the number one producer of PhDs in the world.

A majority of China’s Ph.D holders take government jobs after graduation, as opposed to positions at academic institutions. Because tuition and living expenses for doctoral candidates are covered by tax revenues, Yang told Xinhua that it is a waste to produce so many doctors for non-academic organizations, and thus the ministry is setting a policy aimed at keeping the rate of doctoral admissions growth at under two percent each year while setting aside more resources for professional graduate training, such as masters of business administration, law and education.

Xinhua [15]
May 1, 2008

Private Universities Enroll 6.6% or 1.34 Million

Over the last decade, the private sector in Chinese higher education has expanded dramatically, and today the sector is responsible for 6.6 percent of all university-level enrollments, or approximately 1.34 million of the 20.2 million students enrolled in formal higher education in 2006. These figures were quoted in the spring edition of International Higher Education, [16] the journal of the Boston College Center for International Higher Education by Ruth Hayhoe of the University of Toronto [17] and Professor Jing Lin of the University of Maryland [18].

Not included in the figures quoted above are enrollments at second-tier colleges, affiliated to major public universities yet operating under a for-profit model. These colleges are able to generate income while also benefiting from the university’s self-accrediting status and its qualified faculty. These colleges, which are private in all but name, enrolled 1.47 million students, or 7.3 percent of the total.

In the independent private university sector, there are just 24 that have been accredited to offer degree programs, with more than 1,250 others focusing on teaching at the sub-degree level.

International Higher Education [19]
Spring 2008

Foreign MBA Providers Leaving Town

Foreign business schools are ceasing to offer executive MBA programs in China because of frustrations related to red tape, local partners, and limited demand, according to a recent BusinessWeek article.

Not unlike foreign companies, enticed by a market equal to a quarter of the world’s population, European and U.S. M.B.A. programs have faced many problems, such as having to operate as a joint venture with a local partner, intense scrutiny from China’s Ministry of Education [14], and perhaps the biggest frustration is that very few Chinese have the language skills needed to survive in an English-language academic program.

According to BusinessWeek, several universities have scaled back or halted their programs in China over the past two years. They include the China Europe International Business School [20] and the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland [21]. The State University of New York at Buffalo [22] closed its joint-venture program in 2004.

Even as Western universities retreat from China, the number of Chinese-run business schools has grown, said the magazine. Some 30 Chinese universities have been approved by the Ministry of Education to offer executive M.B.A. programs.

BusinessWeek [23]
May 15, 2008

American Law School to Begin Classes in China This Fall

The first American-style law school in China is set to begin classes this fall at the newly created School of Transnational Law at Peking University’s campus in Shenzhen [24], a special economic zone just north of Hong Kong. The campus is headed by Jeffrey Lehman, former president of Cornell University [25], and will offer a three-year J.D. program.

Despite the existing presence of 600 law schools in China, backers of the school say there is an immediate need for a China-taught J.D. program as none exists in the country, and students looking for legal employment with a mulitinational firm invariably require one, regardless of how well their Chinese alma mater is regarded. And not all students wanting a J.D. can afford the expense of studying for it in the United States.

In a talk at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars [26], where Lehman is a fellow, he also suggested that the introduction of a new legal pedagogy in China might produce students who in the future will work to strengthen China’s rule of law and its institutions.

The school is getting ready to admit its first class of 55 students this fall, from an application pool of approximately 210. Eventually, the school plans to seek accreditation from the American Bar Association [27] so that graduates can take the New York State bar exam. The freestanding school will operate independently of Peking’s existing, Chinese-style law school. Like any American law school, the courses will be taught in English, the cases will be from American law – and most of the professors will be from American law schools. As in the United States, students will be required to have completed a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than law. Tuition will be set at $10,000 a year, a bargain compared to a similar education in the United States, but about twice that of a regular Chinese legal education.

InsideHigherEd [28]
May 22, 2008

China/Hong Kong

British Universities Showing Strong Presence in Hong Kong, China

According to a recent report from the British Council, the number of new degree programs offered by British institutions of higher education in China and Hong Kong has grown exponentially in recent years. The report, UK-China-Hong Kong Transnational Education Project [29], states that more than 40 percent of joint initiatives in Hong Kong were initiated before 2003, and British institutions are responsible for 63 percent of non-local programs.

Further statistics compiled by the Hong Kong Education Bureau [30] in January 2008, and cited more recently by GlobalHigherEd, show that there were over 550 degree programs run by British institutions in Hong Kong. The GlobalHigherEd report states that British institutions work as “independent operators,” offering programs to local students registered with the Hong Kong Education Bureau under the ‘Non-local Higher and Professional Education (Regulation) Ordinance.’ In addition, British institutions of higher education are permitted to operate through collaborations with local institutions. These collaborations are exempted from registration under the Ordinance. In January 2008, there were over 150 registered- and 400 exempted-programs run by 36 different UK institutions in Hong Kong.

Aside from former colonial ties, British involvement in Hong Kong has been helped by the Memorandum of Understanding on Education Cooperation [31] signed on May 11, 2006 by Arthur Li, Secretary for Education and Manpower HK, and Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning UK.

While involvement in China is relatively less than in Hong Kong, British institutions of higher education reported to the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education [32], in 2006, that there were as many as 352 individual links with 232 Chinese institutions or organizations of higher education. Nearly half (82) of all British institutions of higher education reported they had some form of involvement with higher education provision in China. In 2005-06, there were approximately 11,000 Chinese students studying for a British qualification in China. Three thousand of those programs require that the students complete their studies in the UK.

GlobalHigherEd [33]
April 23, 2008

Ministry Official Calls for Greater Private Sector Involvement in Hong Kong

Hong Kong needs more private universities to compete with regional rivals, a government official has said. Daniel Cheng Chung-Wai, Principal Assistant Secretary of Education, pointed out that private higher education institutions produced about 70 percent of all graduates in Japan and South Korea, Hong Kong newspaper The Standard reported. “Of the 57,000 students pursuing degree programs in Hong Kong,” he said, “only 5,000 are studying in a private university or a self-financing degree program. There is a big area open to private participation.” Despite calling for more private provision, Mr Cheng also warned that quality must be maintained and admitted that developing the sector would take time.

The Standard [34]
April 14, 2008


More Qualified Indians Returning Home to Academia, Industry

According to recent newspaper reports, more overseas-trained Indians are returning home to work in academia and industry. An April report from the Hindustan Times talks of a ‘reverse brain drain’ that has brought at least 35 foreign-trained Indian teachers to the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi [35] in the last 18 months. According to those interviewed for the article, the IIT reputation, India’s growing technological reputation, and increased research grants appear to be the main drivers.

According to a report from the Observer newspaper in the U.K., increased professional salaries have also helped lure professionals back to India to work in industry. The newspaper talks of Indian politicians who are beginning to highlight the emerging phenomenon of ‘brain gain’, as large numbers of Indian-born executives decide that job opportunities and living conditions are as good, if not better, in India than abroad. The newspaper cites a survey released in April showing that graduates from India’s most prestigious universities, the Indian Institutes of Technology, increasingly see India as the best place in the world to base themselves, especially over the last five years.

Between 1964 and 2001, 35 percent of India’s best graduates moved abroad, according to research conducted by the Delhi-based organization, Evalueserve, but from 2002 onwards only 16 percent chose to leave. Now, the research suggests, the West no longer seems synonymous with wealth and opportunity. Asked to predict which country would ‘hold the most promise for success’ in 10 years’ time, 72 percent of the 677 IIT graduates surveyed named India, with only 17 percent citing the US, 5 percent Europe, and just 2 percent China. The number who feel the US offers a better standard of living than India has fallen since 2001 from 13 percent to almost zero.

Both anecdotally, and according to this study, it appears that while India’s best students and graduates continue to seek their fortunes abroad, the flow may be slowing and even set to reverse in the coming years as India’s economy continues to surge.

Hindustan Times [36]
April 12, 2008
The Observer [37]
April 20, 2008


Admissions Fraud Abounds

In a country where corruption is widely considered as endemic, it should come as no surprise that higher education falls prey to widespread graft. According to a recent article in University World News, 28 percent of the 34,000 prospective students sitting entrance examinations at the country’s oldest university, Gajah Mada [38], paid large ‘brokerage’ fees to middlemen who promise a ‘guaranteed’ place at the institution.

The findings came from a survey of the university’s executive board. Payments were as high as US$22,000 and were distributed in part to university administration officials. This is reportedly played out across the nation every admissions season.

University World News [39]
April 27, 2008


Egyptian University to Open Campus in Malaysia

Al-Azhar University [40], one of the world’s oldest, has begun construction on it first campus outside of Egypt, in Kota, Malaysia. The 1,000 year-old university is hoping to enroll its first class of students next year, offering classes in Islamic studies. Current plans would see the university’s offerings expand to medical and science-related programs. A pool of lecturers from the Egyptian campus will teach at the branch campus. Currently, 25 percent of Al-Azhar’s 28,000 students are from Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Star [41]
April 20, 2008

New Zealand

Chinese Students Returning to NZ Universities

Between 1999 and 2004, the number of Chinese students enrolled at institutions of higher education in New Zealand rose from a just under 1,000 to almost 30,000. However, those numbers have been dropping ever since, and new enrollments have been dropping since the 2001-02 academic year, when nearly 20,000 enrolled for mainly English-language courses. Now, the rot appears to have stopped and new Chinese student enrollments increased for the first time last year since 2002. This year, new enrollments are expected to rise again, according to export education industry body Education New Zealand [42]. The organization’s communications director, Stuart Boag, said new Chinese enrollments were likely to exceed 3,500 for 2007-08, an increase of 20 percent on the previous year.

Boag said despite several years of decline in overall numbers, Chinese students were still the single largest bloc of long term international students, with most in the university sector. They were closely followed by Japanese and Korean students who were concentrated in short-term programs at English-language colleges and primary and secondary schools.

NewZealandEducated [43]
May 8, 2008


Closed NSW Campus Looses US$46 Million All Told

The University of New South Wales [44] lost US$46 million through the closure of its Singapore campus, according to the first official figures revealing the extent of the financial fallout from the failed enterprise. The stand-alone campus was the most expensive ever constructed by an Australian university, and lasted less than a year.

The NSW Auditor-General’s annual report on the state’s 10 public universities reveals that the University of NSW was forced to repay approximately US$29 million in loans, $13.8 million in grants and $3.5 million in staff payouts when it made the decision to close the campus to its 148 students just 10 weeks after it opened early last year. The Singaporean Government had contributed nearly $26 million in loans and grants towards its establishment, resulting in a dispute over liability of costs when the university pulled out. The audit showed the university was forced to reimburse Singapore the full amount.

Sydney Morning Herald [45]
May 15, 2008

South Korea

Top Korean Cram Schools Sending Students to U.S. Ivy League Schools in Large Numbers

Studying up to 15 hours per day, all but a few of the 133 graduates from Daewon Foreign Language High School [46] who applied to selective American universities won admission. Ivy League universities have become the Holy Grail of high achieving Korean high school students. Daewon is rivaled by only one other school in Korea. The Minjok Leadership Academy [47], three hours east of Seoul, also has an unparalleled admission record to Ivy League colleges, even among elite U.S. prep schools.

The impressive admission records are achieved by taking the nation’s top-scoring middle school students; putting those who are looking for an American university education in intensive English-language programs, taught by highly paid Korean and foreign teachers; emphasizing composition and other skills crucial to success on the SATs and college admissions essays; and then drive them to study hard.

Both schools supplement South Korea’s required, lecture-based national curriculum with Western-style discussion classes. Their academic year is more than a month longer than at American high schools. Daewon, which costs about US$5,000 per year to attend, requires two foreign languages besides English. Minjok, where tuition, board and other expenses top $15,000, offers Advanced Placement courses and research projects.

South Korea sends approximately 103,000 Korean students to study at American schools of all levels, more than from any other country, according to American government statistics. In higher education, only India and China, with populations more than 20 times that of South Korea’s, send more students. Korean applications to Harvard [48] alone have tripled, to 213 this spring, up from 66 in 2003. Harvard has 37 Korean undergraduates, more than from any foreign country except Canada and Britain. Harvard, Yale [49] and Princeton [50] have a total of 103 Korean undergraduates; 34 graduated from Daewon or Minjok.

New York Times [51]
April 24, 2008

Government Provides University Funding to Help Recruit World Class Academics

The Korean Government recently announced a US$165 million funding package to help Korean universities become more globally competitive by employing high profile overseas academics in key areas of research.

AEI [52]
May 21, 2008