WENR, July/August 2009: Asia-Pacific

A “Truly Global” PhD

The international higher education network Universitas 21 has come to agreement on a program designed to allow PhD students to “develop a truly global perspective on their studies.” The agreement, signed by vice-chancellors and presidents from 14 universities around the world, establishes a joint PhD program that will enable doctoral students to undertake joint degrees at two universities within the group.

Designed to enhance the research and employment opportunities of PhD candidates, institutions involved are the universities of Auckland, Birmingham, British Columbia, Delhi, Dublin (University College), Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Korea, McGill, Melbourne, Nottingham, Queensland and Virginia. John Casteen, president of the University of Virginia and chair of Universitas 21, said the initiative “sets a new benchmark for international collaboration at [the] PhD level”.

Universitas 21 News
June 2009

Top B-School Accreditor Opens Regional HQ in Asia

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) opened its first regional headquarters in Singapore in June; a move that can be viewed as a sign of Asia’s growing importance in business and management education. According to a news release, the new Asia office will help AACSB strengthen its membership, professional development, and accreditation services in the region.

“In recent years management education has experienced a mercurial level of growth worldwide,” said John J. Fernandes, president and chief executive officer of AACSB International. “Today the Asian region hosts more than 5,000 business programs and is now the largest center of management education in the world.”

The association accredits 568 business schools in 33 countries. Twenty of the accredited programs are in Asia, and two of those are in Singapore.

June 4, 2009

Hong Kong, Japan Dominate New Regional University Ranking

The same British company used by the Times Higher Education Supplement to rank the world’s top universities recently published a ranking specific to the Asian continent, finding that universities from Hong Kong and Japan are, by and large, the best.

The QS Asian University Rankings found that three of the region’s top four universities are in Hong Kong (with a fourth in the top 20), while nine of the top 20 – or 33 of the top 100 – are in Japan. By volume of universities in the top 100, South Korea ranked behind Japan with 17, followed by China (11), Taiwan (9), India (7), Hong Kong (6) Malaysia (5), Thailand (4) and Indonesia and Philippines (3 each).

According to QS, Asia was chosen for its first regional ranking because of the attention and importance given to rankings there. The Asia ranking was compiled with the use of more indicators than used for the QS global rankings. In a press release QS stated that “the objectives of each exercise are slightly different – whilst the global progress of science, society and scholarship, a regional ranking should adapt to the realities of the region in question.”

The ranking offers results in the overall section, in addition to five subject areas: arts and humanities, life science and biomedicine, natural sciences, social sciences, and IT and engineering. The QS indicators place a greater emphasis on peer review than the more objectively focused Shanghai global rankings, which produced significantly different results for the Asia region.

QS Asian University Rankings 2009 – Top 20 of 200

1- University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2- The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
3- University of Tokyo, Japan
4- Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong
5- Kyoto University, Japan
6- Osaka University, Japan
7- KAIST – Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea
8- Seoul National University, South Korea
9- Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
10a- National University of Singapore, Singapore
10b- Peking University, China
12- Nagoya University, Japan
13- Tohoku University, Japan
14- Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
15a- Kyushu University, Japan
15b- Tsinghua University, China
17- Pohang University of Science and Technology, South Korea
18- City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
19- University of Tsukuba, Japan
20a- Hokkaido University, Japan
20b- Keio University, Japan

QS Press Release
May 12, 2009

Report: Internationally Mobile Students Staying Closer to Home

In July, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released the 2009 edition of its Global Education Digest, tracking trends in student mobility. The report finds that in 2007, more than 2.8 million students enrolled in colleges outside their countries of origin — representing a 53 percent increase from 1999.

The “mobile students” are broadening their range of destinations — in 1999, one in four studied in the United States; in 2007, the figure was one in five.

The report notes that students are increasingly staying within their regions of origin. In East Asia and the Pacific, 42 percent of mobile students stayed within the region in 2007, compared to 36 percent in 1999. In Latin America and the Caribbean, 23 percent of mobile students stayed in the region in 2007, up from 11 percent in 1999.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest outbound mobility rate at 5.8 percent, compared to a world average of 1.8 percent.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics
July 10, 2009


Taking on Racists

Escalating concern in the Indian media about violence directed at Indian students in Australia this summer led Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to set up a task force in June to deal with the matter.

The initiative follows attacks on Indians studying at Australian universities – including a stabbing which left a man in a coma – which have caused outrage in India. John McCarthy, Australia’s High Commissioner in New Delhi, said intense media coverage of the attacks had caused undue friction between the two countries. “It’s done damage. You can’t have three weeks of (negative headlines) … without the perception of Australia among Indians being damaged,” Mr. McCarthy told The Australian newspaper.

In a separate measure, Universities Australia – the vice chancellors’ organization – released a ten-point action plan for its member universities to follow. Among the recommendations, the plan called for strong law enforcement and increased levels of security with greater visibility of police and security officers in locations where international students study, work, travel and live.

The heavy international media attention of the recent spate of attacks against Asian students, and angry protests across India has seriously tarnished Australia’s reputation as a safe study destination. News reports of private colleges defrauding students or charging large sums to provide students with credentials necessary to obtain permanent residency visas have also contributed to growing government alarm about threats to its A$15.5 billion-a-year (US$12.6 billion) education industry (see below). The government and associated industries are now in full damage-control mode.

The Australian
June 13, 2009

Education Exporting Nations Look to Capitalize on Tarred Australian Image in India

With the recent spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia, the Mail Today reports that other higher-education destinations, including the United States, Canada, Britain, and New Zealand, have increased their recruitment efforts in India to promote themselves as safe alternatives.

“We will project the U.S. as a safe destination for students and highlight the liberal financial aid that is available for meritorious students in U.S. universities,” said Sunrit Mullick, regional officer of the United States India Educational Foundation.

Until the highly publicized violence against Indian students in Australia this spring and summer, Australia had been gaining significant traction in attracting enrollments from Indian nationals, edging close to the U.S. in total enrollments. An estimated 95,000 Indian students enrolled at Australian universities in the first 11 months of 2008, about the same as the 94,563 Indian students who attended American universities in 2008.

New Zealand, which came late to the Indian market, has been aggressively promoting its universities and is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the fear created by the attacks. The country has already seen a 75 percent increase in the number of Indian students since last year. Britain and Canada are also reportedly drawing more interest from Indian students.

Mail Today
June 2, 2009

The Shady World of Recruiting Agents and Professional Colleges

In a lengthy expose of the business of international student recruitment, The Age newspaper has cited numerous examples of dodgy international recruiting practices in India and China by third-party agents and also scams by colleges in Australia looking to maximize the profits garnered from international students.

According to the newspaper, “countless overseas students are being fleeced by offshore agents and unscrupulous local private college operators.”

According to Immigration Minister Chris Evans, there are a worrying number of unscrupulous private college operators in Australia, or “crooks,” as he describes them, ready to take international students for what they can.

A majority of Australia’s international enrollments are in the professional and vocational sector, or TAFE, and The Age states that “it is widely believed some vocational education and training colleges are hotbeds for scams, with operators allegedly taking under-the-counter payments for certificates, for bogus work experience references and to upgrade marks. These things may be illegal, but some foreign students see it as the fastest and easiest way to secure that most coveted of prizes: permanent residency.”

Agents, who receive tuition commissions of up to 25 percent of the program fee, are employed by most institutions of higher education in Australia, and form the linchpin of the industry as a whole. However, the Australian government has no direct mechanism to monitor or regulate them. A national code of practice puts the onus on universities and colleges to police the system.

Scams by agents include cash loans to prospective students to falsely show adequate cash reserves in bank accounts, fake English proficiency certificates from agents in their home nations, altered resumes, double dipping on commissions from both colleges and students, and the sale of bogus work-experience certificates for visa purposes. The real draw for international students in Australia is the promise of residency upon completion of studies and the requisite 900 hours of work experience, bogus proof of which can all allegedly be bought for a price.

The Age
May 22, 2009

Queensland Med in New Orleans

Australia’s University of Queensland School of Medicine has opened a clinical school in New Orleans in cooperation with Louisiana’s Ochsner Health System. The tie-up will see American students traveling to Brisbane for the first two years of medical school, before returning to the United States to complete their third and fourth years of clinical training at Queensland’s new campus at Ochsner. Those enrolled in the collaborative program will graduate with an Australian medical degree, a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), which is equivalent to an M.D., from Queensland.

This particular program is only open to American students and, while its graduates will be eligible to apply for an internship in Australia, the stated intent is to help address projected physician shortages in Louisiana. The first 16 students in the program began their training in Australia in January; the goal is to admit 80 students this coming January and the following year, 120 more.

Queensland’s medical school also has a clinical school in Brunei, in Southeast Asia, and is in the early stages of establishing a shared teaching site in Malaysia.

July 16, 2009


Numbers Taking College Admissions Test Drop Significantly

This year, four percent fewer students than last year participated in the three-day annual college entrance exam, which has been seen as the make-or-break benchmark for millions of young people since 1977. Since 2002, the number of students taking the gaokao, as the exam is known in China, has risen steadily to a total of 10.5 million last year. According to the Xinhua news agency, a total of 10.2 million students ended up taking the test nationwide this year.

In Shandong, a provincial economic powerhouse, education officials said they received 100,000 fewer applicants this year than they did in 2008 – a drop of more than 10 percent. The country’s most populous province, Henan, saw 29,000 fewer people sit the college entrance exam. And similar drops were reported in Shanghai municipality and Hebei, Beijing’s neighboring province.

The exam has long been considered a life-changing opportunity for high school students seeking a better education and, in turn, a better job. But the economic crisis has had an impact. “Since the financial crisis last year, the grim employment situation has broken the ’employment myth’ for those with a college degree. Some students changed their minds about getting a good job through higher education. They simply quit (taking the exam),” said an anonymous recruitment officer with the Beijing Institute of Technology.

A report in the China Daily newspaper suggested that the popularity of overseas undergraduate degrees may have been a factor, as students accepted by foreign universities do not need to take the gaokao. Most reports in the local news media, however, blame the bleak job outlook for recent graduates.

China Daily
May 22, 2009
China Daily
June 4, 2009
June 7, 2009

Ministry to Underwrite Recruitment of 2,000 Foreign Scholars

China’s Ministry of Education has announced plans to increase the nation’s research capacity at its universities by helping to underwrite the costs of recruiting and retaining 2,000 foreign academics. As many as 70 select universities, as well as ‘211 universities’ that comprise an elite 100+ universities, can apply to the ministry’s university section with proposals to expand key research positions.

Interviews and appointments have already begun with candidates largely coming from the United States and Europe. Although scholars with a Chinese background may have an advantage, China is recruiting from all nationalities.

Times Higher Education Supplement
April 30, 2009

Working to Reduce Graduate Unemployment

An official with China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said in June that stronger support policies could help 88 percent of this year’s college graduates find jobs, despite the “grim conditions” in the labor markets.

Graduates are currently facing very poor job prospects amid the global economic downturn with an estimated 7.1 million graduates currently looking for work. According to the ministry, only 45 percent of this year’s graduating class were said to have found jobs by the end of May, down 3 percentage points from the year prior.

Wang Yadong, deputy head of the job promotion department, said new support policies should be implemented by August, to make sure 70 percent of graduating students found jobs before leaving school in July. About 60 percent of the remaining students would get three-year internships. He also said more students applied for graduate school this year, and more joined the army; factors that would help reduce the unemployment rate.

The State Council unveiled in February a series of measures to boost employment of college graduates, calling on them to be more flexible. The measures included encouraging graduates to work in rural areas, in grassroots urban communities, and in smaller enterprises, asking research institutions to recruit graduates, and stepping up support for graduates starting up their own businesses.

June 16, 2009

Hong Kong

Inviting Foreign Providers

The government in Hong Kong has initiated a bidding process from overseas universities to establish campuses there as part of a drive to boost its knowledge economy. According to a June announcement, in which the government unveiled an economic development strategy, plans are in the works to reserve two prime urban sites for “self-financed” campuses, most likely to be provided by overseas institutions.

The sites will have a minimum floor space of 200,000 sq ft each, and each will accommodate at least 2,000 students. More details will be released later this year.

Hong Kong, with a population of about 7 million, currently has eight universities – one of which is private. According to recent reports, the government is seeking to expand the private sector as a means of growing university enrollments from abroad. Under a plan unveiled in 2007, the government is already pushing ahead with proposals to develop Hong Kong into a “regional education hub” and attract more non-local students. Admission quotas for non-local students have been increased from 10 percent to 20 percent of local numbers.

Times higher Education Supplement
July 2, 2009

Institute of Education Gets Nod to Upgrade to University

As part of a mission to enhance its tertiary sector, the government of Hong Kong is investing HK$22 million ($2.8 million) to expand the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd).

Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee has agreed to fund an extra 120 “first-year, first-degree” students each year, on top of the existing 500 students. It will also finance 30 research-postgraduate students a year to allow HKIEd to offer research-degree programs.

HKIEd will seek formal status as a university. While education will remain its focus, it will offer a range of “complementary” disciplines, starting with three degree programs: language and literature; creative arts and culture; and humanities and social sciences.

HKIEd news release
June 28, 2009


Ministry Appointment Makes Increased Cooperation with Foreign Universities Likely

Following the national elections in May, and the large margin of victory for the Congress Party, the Indian government has appointed a new, much more reform-minded minister in charge of higher education under its vastly strengthened public mandate. The new Human Resource and Development Minister, Kapil Sibal, is a strong believer in opening the Indian education market to foreign universities and to the private sector. In stark contrast, his predecessor, Arjun Singh, had blocked attempts at university reform at every turn during his tenure.

The new minister, and Harvard Law School alumni, has pledged to move quickly on legislation regulating foreign university operations in India. While a draft of the legislation has been lingering in committee for half a decade, it has never passed through parliament.

At a news conference following his appointment, Mr. Sibal stated, “we have to march forward to be able to compete at the international level,” citing outdated curricula as a major hindrance in preparing India’s university graduates for a 21st century economy. He was also very critical of the current set of higher-education regulators, saying they have “destroyed our entire efforts to take education forward.” The new minister is a firm believer in greater institutional autonomy.

A few weeks after his appointment Mr. Sibal met with William Burns, the U.S. under secretary of state for political affairs, and agreed to set up a working group to monitor plans to expand educational partnerships between the two countries. The group will meet once a year and will include partnership efforts in secondary, postsecondary, and vocational education.

Mr. Sibal also announced in June that his ministry will put together an apex panel on higher education. Sibal told reporters that the autonomous National Commission for Higher Education and Research would be formed within the first 100 days of the new government. It will encompass the existing professional councils and regulatory agencies, including the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Medical Council of India and the All India Council for Technical Education. The new body is the product of recommendations of a government appointed reform committee headed by well-known educationist Professor Yashpal. The Yashpal committee has also recommended a much greater degree of autonomy for universities and the bodies that regulate them. Mr. Sibal has said he will work to implement the recommendations within his first 100 days in office.

The committee submitted its interim report in March this year. The committee was set up in February 2008 with the mandate to study the functioning of various agencies in higher education and suggest measures to restructure the system of higher education.

June 24, 2009
Economic Times
June5, 5009

University Accreditation Should be Mandatory Recommends High-Level Committee

Currently the accreditation process for universities in India is voluntary and many of the nation’s top universities have chosen to forgo the National Assessment and Accreditation Council’s (NAAC) rating process.

Now, a sub-committee of the Planning Commission headed by Nasscom chief Som Mittal has drawn up accreditation guidelines for all 378 universities in the country, reports The Times of India. Among other things, the guidelines state that new colleges will not be permitted to begin admissions if they do not obtain accreditation, and institutions that do not undergo the accreditation procedure within a stipulated time will be closed.

“The major consequence of making accreditation indispensable is to ensure all institutions meet basic quality standards and produce students who are globally employable. An independent accreditation with consequences for non-performance is the need of the hour for shaping the future of the Indian educational eco-system,” said Mittal, the committee’s chairman.

The report states that the National Accreditation Authority for Education will audit and set out accreditation guidelines for all programs, colleges and universities.

The Times of India
June 21, 2009

Work to do in Making India a Destination for Foreign Students

Indian universities have not historically done much to attract foreign students, or to aid the few that did come in adjusting to Indian life. In recent years, more universities have begun to look overseas to recruit, while the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has introduced the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to attract foreign students. It comes as part of a long-term strategy to transform Indian higher education into a global knowledge hub. The road will be a long one.

In academic year 2007-08, there were less than 22,000 tertiary students from foreign countries at Indian universities, according to the Association of Indian Universities. Regionally, Australia attracts more than 460,000 foreign students, China more than 200,000 Japan approximately 120,000, Singapore close to 80,000, and South Korea 50,000. It is quite clear that India has its work cut out.

According to Indian academics, the first steps in advancing India as a study destination is to improve the quality of higher education, promoting the country’s academic programs more professionally, and creating more short-term cultural immersion courses.

One success story is the private Vellore Institute of Technology, which this year will welcome almost 700 students from China under a joint degree program in which Chinese students study for two years in China and two years in India. The program was initiated by the Sino-India Education & Technology Alliance, which has arranged similar agreements between 12 universities in India and 18 universities in China, and is currently bringing in 2,500 Chinese students to India annually.

Considering India’s strengths in information technology, and that most tertiary instruction takes place in English, the country has great potential as an international education hub. In assessing why this has not happened already, academics point the finger squarely at the government for not making internationalization a priority, something the Chinese government did very successfully after its entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Mr. Singh’s new government – now with a much stronger mandate from the people – has taken steps to open Indian universities to the rest of the world. Last year, he laid out a strategy for foreign-student recruitment that involves both government and universities (previously it had been the exclusive domain of the ineffectual University Grants Commission). He has directed all Indian embassies and universities to provide detailed and factual information about India’s educational system, the courses provided, eligibility criteria for foreign students, and details of documentation required to apply for admissions and visas. Previously, not all these items have been publicly available.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 10, 2009

Higher Education to Get Huge Increase in Government Funding

The government is promising more money for higher education than the already promised 21 percent increase in the interim budget from February. According to a news release, the sector will receive an unprecedented 40 percent increase, amounting to a total of US$3.1-billion, for 2009-10.

The prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology have been allotted an extra $435 million, while $170.5 million has been allocated to open 16 central universities in states that lack one. The government has also announced interest-free loans for disadvantaged students to take technical and professional courses.

Government News Release
July 6, 2009


Government Restates Regional Hub Ambitions

Malaysia has been trying to position itself an educational services hub for foreign students from the region and the Muslim world for a few years now. In a recent announcement this was restated by one of the nation’s largest universities, which said that it will increase its international student intake by up to 40 percent.

The University of Malaya, which currently enrolls approximately 2,500 overseas students, said the move was part of a broader government strategy to make Malaysia a hub for higher education. Although it faces fierce regional competitors for foreign students, including neighboring Singapore, Malaysia has the advantage of being a majority-Muslim country, making it an attractive and affordable destination for Muslim students worldwide.

Mohd Amin Jalaludin, the university’s deputy vice-chancellor, said: “One of the thrusts of the National Higher Education Strategic Plan was to enhance internationalization to turn Malaysia into a leading education hub. We are moving towards that.”

New Straits Times
June 11, 2009

English-Language Instruction in Science and Math Classes to End

Malaysia will abandon the use of English in science and mathematics classes starting in 2012, and revert to using its national language, Bahasa Malaysia. This will bring to an end a six-year English policy that the government said had failed to improve student grades.

Malaysia has taught science and math in English since 2003, when former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad implemented the English-language policy in an attempt to help graduates improve their English and employability. However, the government has found that academic grades in science and math have fallen since English was introduced.

New York Times
July 9, 2009


US Backs HEC Scholarship Program

According to a report in the Dawn newspaper, the United States will provide US$4 million to expand the Higher Education Commission’s financial aid program, which was launched at a national conference on public-private partnership for higher education in Islamabad in May. The program aims to expand and improve financial aid for higher education in Pakistan.

The program, HEC-FAD, will build the capacity of the Higher Education Commission and 11 Pakistani universities to establish financial aid offices, develop skills and knowledge for fundraising, and establish international linkages.

“USAID’s HEC-FAD programme will provide Pakistani universities with useful, practical advice on fund-raising,’ said the United States Agency for International Development Deputy Mission Director in Pakistan, Joseph Williams. “We are developing a culture and system for raising private resources to improve the quality and reach of higher education institutions.”

The Dawn
May 31, 2009

HEC Release Rankings

Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission released a ranking of the nation’s universities in June, based on the number of articles published by academics in peer-reviewed journals indexed by the Thompson-Reuters ISI Web of Knowledge (2007-08).

Quaid-e-Azam University topped the list with 544 publications in 2008 and 409 publications in 2007. The University of Karachi came in second with 419 publications in 2008 and 276 publications in 2007. Aga Khan University was the only private university in the top five universities on the basis of research publications, coming third with 311 publications in 2008 and 186 publications in 2007.

The databases used for this analysis were Science Citation Index, Social Science Citation Index, and the Art and Humanities Citation Index.

Daily Times
June 14, 2009

South Korea

University Presidents: Do Away with Grades-oriented Admissions!

The presidents of 200 four-year universities in Korea have issued a joint declaration on reforming the university admissions system to move away from Korea’s grades-oriented admissions culture.

If enacted, it is hoped the reform will end reliance on college entrance exam scores and high school grades, both of which are believed to contribute to memorization rather than creativity in the learning process.

JoongAng Daily
June 11, 2009

Internationalization Plans Take Shape

Why wouldn’t South Korea want to boost its internationalization efforts? It has some of the best universities in the region, a declining college-age population and proximity to nations sending huge numbers of students overseas each year.

The problem, however, is that the vision of becoming a regional hub for international education is shared by three, if not more, of its neighbors. Singapore and Malaysia were the first to express goals of becoming educational powerhouses, and Hong Kong detailed that desire in a recent statement from the provincial government. Both Hong Kong and Singapore have quality universities to rival those in South Korea, while Malaysia is focused more on recruiting from the Islamic world.

In line with Singapore’s strategy, South Korea is looking to attract branch campuses of well-respected Western universities, American ones in particular. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the country has already signed pledges of cooperation with American colleges and has succeeded in bringing in hundreds of foreign professors.

Among other initiatives, the government plans to build a public “global” university from scratch that would operate in partnership with as many as six U.S. universities, as well as propel existing universities into the top 50 in the world, while also stemming the flow of Korean students going abroad. To this effect, the government has pledged approximately US$600 million of the next five years to its World Class University project – an initiative aimed at raising the quality of research at the nation’s top 30 universities.

The task is not an easy one. By most measures, The Chronicle reports, including numbers of research publications and research citations, South Korean universities do not perform as well as many Western universities. Further, last year alone, well over 200,000 Korean students went abroad to study.

However, in 2007 and 2008, the government relaxed regulations to make it easier for local universities to build partnerships with foreign universities. Since February of last year, Korea University alone has signed agreements with 50 foreign partners – largely focused on student-exchange and study-abroad programs. An enrollment target of 50,000 foreign students by 2012 was reached three years early, and now the government wants to double the number to 100,000 by 2012 through aggressive recruiting, especially in China (which accounts for 70 percent of overseas enrollments).

Currently, 15 foreign universities are seeking to open branches on the Songdo Global University Campus. All but one, the University of Pavia in Italy, are American. Among them, Duke University, Columbia University, Boston University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of California, San Diego have not yet signed memoranda of understanding with the IFEZ Authority and are still in negotiations. The city government’s support programs for foreign universities include giving US$1 million to each foreign university if it sets up a branch. Among the seven universities that have already signed MOU’s for undergraduate programs, North Carolina State University and State University of New York at Stony Brook have reportedly made the fastest progress. North Carolina is to begin recruiting freshmen in Songdo for fall 2010 or 2011. Stony Brook will start recruiting students for its school of business administration in the fall of 2010, open an English-language institute in spring 2011, and recruit freshmen in earnest in fall the same year.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 26, 2009
The Chosun Ilbo
July 17, 2009

1 in 8 Chinese Students Undocumented

According to the Justice Ministry, 13 percent of an estimated 60,444 Chinese students in Korea are there illegally. In April, Chinese students accounted for 77.7 percent of the estimated 77,743 foreign students in Korea. Mongolia was a distant second with 3,152 students, Vietnam third with 2,096, Japan fourth with 1,827, and the United States fifth with 1,101.

However, the number of foreign students in Korea, excluding those from China, has skyrocketed 270 percent from 6,350 in 2004 to 17,299 in April this year. From China the increase over the same period has been 550 percent from 10,988 to 60,444. The ministry said the number of Chinese students who overstayed their visas, including the D-2 visa for studying abroad and the D-4 for training, grew 11.7 fold from 685 to 7,999 over the same period.

June 22, 2009


Scholars Protest Decision to Open Universities to the Mainland

Nearly 150 academics signed a petition in early June protesting a recent government proposal to recognize Chinese degrees and the opening of Taiwanese universities to students from mainland China. They argue that the decision-making process leading to the proposal was undemocratic and catered too much to Beijing’s wishes, stating that academics were not consulted.

Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei presented the list of 146 signatories at a press conference. In the statement, the petitioners said that existing problems in Taiwan’s education system, such as an insufficient number of students and unsatisfactory school competitiveness, should be addressed without relying on China.

Huang said the Ministry of Education would fail in its stated aims of attracting the best students from China to enhance the competitiveness of Taiwan’s universities and, simultaneously, it would not solve the problem of private schools’ inability to attract enough students. He stated that the decision to recognize Chinese degrees would only worsen the problem of insufficient enrollment and would exacerbate widespread unemployment among university graduates.

Taiwan currently has more than 160 universities and colleges, but lacks demand to fill available places. The plan to recognize Chinese academic degrees and open local schools to Chinese students might help fill those vacant seats. Although Taiwan does not recognize Chinese degrees, it has not been an obstacle to academic exchanges, according to the petitioners.

Taiwan Today
June 2, 2009

Medical Students Educated Abroad Now Must Take Test Before Sitting Licensing Exam

The Taiwanese government passed an amendment to the Physician Act in June that requires all medical students who received training abroad, and who wish to take the physician licensing exam, to first pass a qualifying test, and then successfully complete their internship training at designated hospitals in Taiwan, before they will be allowed to take the exam.

Liberty Times
June 5, 2009


Entry Requirements for Doctoral Studies Stiffened

The Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training has stiffened its doctoral admission requirements. Taking effect from February 2009, Thanhnien News reports that all PhD candidates will now require letters of recommendation as part of the admission process, in addition to submitting two letters of recommendation from two professors or PhD holders in relevant subjects, said Tran Thi Ha, head of the Ministry’s higher education department. Currently, PhD applicants only need to take an examination and submit two scientific reports.

The ministry will require that the new letters of recommendation include a detailed appraisal of the candidate’s individual professional ability and his or her ability to work in groups. In addition, all doctoral applicants must have worked with the professors or doctors writing their recommendations for at least six months.

While some academics oppose the new requirements, Ha said they were supported by most. The regulations were not too strict and were in compliance with international norms, said Ha, adding that most Vietnamese students studying at international universities were required to submit letters of recommendation from prestigious academics.

Thanhnien News
May 31, 2009

Moving to a Modular System

Vietnamese institutions of higher education are getting ready to switch from a semester-based to a module-based system in order to improve their compatibility with other major national and international systems and improve the quality of training. The move is slated for completion by 2020.

Vietnam News Service
May 18, 2009

Planning New Universities to Meet Skyrocketing Demand

With student numbers growing exponentially in recent years, and risks of overcrowding at some institutions, the Vietnamese Prime Minister has asked for a zoning plan to achieve a more balanced institutional and demographic distribution of higher education provision by 2025. Criteria for relocations and creations of new university areas will be on the agenda by the end of the year.

Vietnam News Service
May 6, 2009

Posted in Asia Pacific, Regional News Summaries