WENR

WENR, April 2010: Asia-Pacific

Study: Indian, Vietnamese Students Enamored with US as a Study Destination

The Institute of International Education [1] released two papers in February looking at how students from India and Vietnam select and perceive destinations for studying abroad. Among the Indian students surveyed, 91 percent listed the United States as their first-choice destination; among Vietnamese students the number was a little lower, but still an impressive 82 percent.

The two IIE Briefing Papers report findings from surveys of Indian and Vietnamese students that IIE conducted in the spring and summer of 2009, with support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs [2] of the U.S. Department of State. While India has been the top place of origin for international students in the United States for a few years now, Vietnam currently has recorded the highest growth rates in the number of students coming to the U.S. to study, according to IIE’s Open Doors 2009: Report on International Educational Exchange. Students were asked about their preferred study abroad destinations, reasons for studying abroad, major obstacles faced, main sources of information on studying abroad, and impressions of key host destinations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France and Singapore.

Among other findings in the India survey, it is reported that 75 percent of respondents consider the United States to have a wide range of schools and programs, a much higher percentage than for the other destinations, while 68 percent felt that the country welcomes international students, compared to between 3 percent and 23 percent for the other destinations.

For Vietnamese students there was a belief among 88 percent of students that the U.S. higher education system is excellent, with a wide range of programs (92 percent). The United States was perceived as an expensive place to study by 71 percent of respondents, however, students also felt that there were many scholarships opportunities available (72 percent).

Survey participants in India included approximately 1,000 prospective study abroad students visiting four U.S. Department of State-funded EducationUSA [3] advising centers in four Indian cities. In Vietnam, more than 700 students who either visited EducationUSA offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi or attended one of the IIE Higher Education Fairs in these cities or in Danang were surveyed.

IIE news release [4]
February 24, 2010


Top U.S. Business School Grads Look to Asia

At premier business institutions such as the University of Chicago’s Booth School [5], the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School [6], and Northwestern’s Kellogg [7], the percentage of MBAs taking jobs in Asia—including U.S. students as well as international students—has more than doubled in the past five years, from roughly 5 percent of the graduating class to more than 10 percent, reports Business Week.

For many MBAs, the prospect of making a bigger impact faster is simply too good to pass up, especially now that the pay packages offered by both domestic companies in Asia and multinational companies are competitive with those in the U.S. In addition to ambitious American-born business school grads, many Chinese who emigrated to the U.S. when they were young are looking to chase the reverse dream of their parents. And there are also the international students, who until recently would likely have stayed in the U.S. to learn the soft skills of Western management, and now are heading straight back home.

Asian companies used to rarely, if ever, come to American business-school campuses for recruiting season. Now at Wharton, Chinese firms like heavyweight investment bank China Investment Corp. and IT firm Tencent are showing up, says Wharton global careers director Sam Jones. This year, CICC played to standing-room-only crowds. At Kellogg, India-based Infosys and Tata Group are now on hand for recruiting. The University of Chicago’s Booth School is seeing so much interest from Chinese companies that it recently opened a career services office in Hong Kong.

Business Week [8]
March 11, 2010


Australia, New Zealand Building Strong Research Partnerships with China

Australia and New Zealand are exploiting their geographic location within the Asia-Pacific region to make themselves increasingly partners of choice for research collaboration with China. This is the main takeaway from a global research report from Thomson Reuters on the Antipodean countries, Global Research Report: Australia and New Zealand [9] .

The report looks at the competition posed to the research powerhouses of Europe and America, which are also seeking to cement links and extend collaborations in Asia. The report says Australia and New Zealand are “emerging from a past linked to other Anglophone nations” to become “complementary partners” to the strongly emerging nations of the Asia-Pacific region, with “marked increases” in collaborations with China.

The proportion of papers co-authored by Australian and Chinese researchers rose from 2.3 percent of total Australian research outputs from 1999 to 2003 to 4.4 percent from 2004 to 2008. This puts China as Australia’s third-largest collaborator, up from sixth position in the preceding period. Approximately 6,650 papers were co-authored by Australian and Chinese researchers from 2004 to 2008, compared with 2,650 between 1993 and 2009.

New Zealand’s collaborations with China jumped from 1.4 percent of its output to 2.3 percent between 2004 and 2009, with the result that China moved from being New Zealand’s eighth largest collaborator to its seventh largest.

Times Higher Education [10]
March 13, 2010

Afghanistan

Money is Good, but Qualified Human Capital is Better

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went before a congressional committee in late March to request additional funding for the State Department’s operations in Afghanistan.

“The military offensive rightly may get the headlines, but what happens behind the scenes is equally important,” Clinton said. “As our military leaders put it, after clearing, we must hold, build, and transition.”

She said her request for an extra $2 billion would be used in part to clear the way for new institutions of education. Afghan Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad told an audience at John Hopkins University [11] in Washington in March that teaching staff is also desperately needed.

“Now we are spending so much money on building these institutions without actually spending money to bring [in] qualified Afghans to lead them,” Jawad said. “Either they are not trained, or if they are trained, there is not enough incentive, financially or otherwise, for the Afghans to come and join the state institutions. They are much better off on the civilian side.”

He continued: “There is a need to build the leadership in order to make these expensive institutions functional. Otherwise, the money will be wasted.” The need to invest in “human and social capital,” Jawad said, is key to a stable and prosperous Afghan future.

As an example, university enrollment in Afghanistan has increased over the last seven years from 4,000 to 76,000 students, aided by the creation of some 15 new public and private universities. That student surge, however, has left Afghanistan in desperate need of teachers. Jawad spoke during an event to mark the establishment of a new group, the Foundation for Afghanistan [12]. With an international board of directors, the organization says it wants to act as a “switchboard and clearinghouse” — processing and funding project-based requests from the educational and social sectors in the country.

RFE/RL [13]
April 02, 2010

Australia

Government Review Calls for Reform in International Education

Australia is planning a series of reforms that would tighten regulations governing vocational colleges, after a number of low-quality providers caused damage to the Australian higher education sector by preying upon international students looking for an easy path to immigration.

A government-commissioned review [14] released in March strongly recommends more support for international students, in addition to tighter regulations to ensure that they are protected from unscrupulous operators. It also calls for tighter regulation of the international education industry in Australia, and states that unethical recruitment practices must be stopped. Bruce Baird, a former member of Parliament and author of the report, said the education industry had been harmed by institutions that have cashed in on foreigners who used education as a pathway to permanent residency. Baird estimates that 20 percent of Australia’s vocational colleges are nothing more than ‘permanent residency factories’.

The report, “ Stronger, Simpler, Smarter ESOS: Supporting International Students [15],” focuses in large part on strengthening the Education Services for Overseas Students Act [16], passed in 2000 and designed to regulate the international education industry. It suggests new legislation that would make it illegal to offer bogus courses and enact strict, routine regulatory oversight of education providers to ensure that their businesses are legitimate. Fines would be imposed on those who break the rules. Julia Gillard, Australia’s education minister, said the report was a “foundation stone” for further work in international education.

Foreign-student numbers in Australia increased from 228,000 in 2002 to around 390,000 in 2009, much of that driven by the rapid growth of vocational colleges. Some students have complained that they were tricked into paying thousands of dollars in tuition only to find that their vocational college was a storefront operation. Tensions rose further among foreign students last year when a number of Indian students were attacked over a period of several months.

The Age [17]
March 10, 2010

New Agency Launched to Monitor Standards for International Students

There are “legitimate concerns” about both the quality of education and safety for international fee-paying students, Australia’s education minister admitted as she unveiled a new agency to raise standards.

After months of controversy over the safety of Indian students, Julia Gillard announced that the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency [18] (TEQSA) would assure quality for domestic and international students. Ms Gillard, the deputy prime minister and minister for employment and workplace relations, education and social inclusion, said: “Legitimate concerns have emerged about quality, about safety, about language competency and about the support for students in the international education sector. Ultimately, TEQSA will be at the heart of any effective response to these issues by bolstering our reputation by assuring quality for all students.”

The Australian [19]
March 3, 2010

Overcrowding Threatens University Sector

A growing student-to-instructor ratio in university classes is causing student resentment and threatens to obstruct the government’s education goals, according to Universities Australia [20]. The group, which represents the country’s 39 universities, says in a budget submission that the nation’s average student-to-staff ratio has risen and is now one of the highest among industrialized countries, with almost 22 students for every tutor.

It says: “[The ratio] threatens the productivity and quality of … domestic students and undermines the global competitiveness of Australian higher education. Other countries are increasingly offering more congenial classroom conditions with more personalized and individualized teaching than Australia can currently afford, given a decline in real government funding per student of almost 30 percent over the decade to 2007.”

The Age [21]
March 19, 2010

Despite Setbacks, International Student Numbers Continue to Grow

The Australian education-export sector had a bad year last year and en even worse start to 2010, with attacks on Indian students receiving widespread attention across the sub-continent, high profile college closures and an increasingly strong Australian dollar; yet the sector continues to attract foreign students in growing numbers.

According to data published in April by the federal government agency, Australian Education International [22] (AEI), more than 160,600 international students were enrolled in higher-education programs in February, a 13 percent increase on the 142,000 enrolled at the same time in 2009. Including all institutions of education, the total rose by 6 percent to almost 390,000 in the 12 months to February. In the university sector, new enrollments were up 10 percent; however, overall commencements in the education sector were down nearly 3 percent to 98,000.

China and India were the largest source countries for both enrollments and commencements in all sectors. China accounted for 27 percent of total enrollments and 29 percent of commencements while India accounted for 17 percent and 9.4 percent respectively. In higher education, management and commerce programs accounted for nearly 48 percent of all enrollments and 50 percent of commencements.

AEI [23]
April 2010

China

A Plea for an End to Graft in Admissions Weighting

The Chinese public is urging an end to a system that encourages prospective university students to lie about their ethnic status or “buy” athletics titles to gain bonus points in the application process.

A survey found that nearly 80 percent of Chinese people want to do away with the bonus-points policy of the National College Entrance Examination. The Xinhua state news agency said that different provinces and autonomous regions apply different criteria in implementing the policy.

“For instance, a candidate who qualifies as a national second-class athlete can receive 20 bonus points on actual entrance exam scores. Ethnic minority groups are also eligible for additional points or for preferential admission consideration. Public complaints about the policy have surged since candidates were caught lying about their ethnic status or ‘buying’ a second-class athlete certificate,” said the news agency.

Xinhua [24]
March 10, 2010

Chinese Studying Abroad Up 27.5%

A total of 229,300 Chinese traveled abroad to study in 2009, up 27.5 percent year on year, according to the Ministry of Education [25]. Among them, approximately 92 percent were self-financed, with the rest traveling on national scholarships or with funding from companies and organizations, figures released in March show.

Also last year, 108,300 people returned from study aboard, an increase of 56.2 percent from the previous year. From 1978 to the end of 2009, the number of Chinese either studying or who had finished studying overseas, surpassed 1.62 million, of which 62.3 percent had returned home.

Xinhua [26]
March 12, 2010

Reforms Point to More Institutional Autonomy, Increased International Collaborations

China is looking to revamp its higher education system in a manner that would give its universities more autonomy over matters such as enrollments and international exchanges, according to education officials in March.

The new draft guidelines for education reform 2010-20 underwent public consultations that ended in April. The reforms suggest stripping away the hierarchical administration of universities and giving them more freedom to make changes as they aspire to ‘world class’ status. China already has 188 education partnerships but Vice-president of Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University [27] Professor Xie Weihe told a conference in London that many of the agreements could not be carried out and were just on paper.

Covering every aspect of education from kindergarten to postgraduate research, the 2020 reform is regarded as the most radical since 1949. It has been described by some as converting a rigid and archaic Soviet-style system into a more modern model closer to the education systems of the West. While study abroad will continue to be encouraged and financed through international collaborations, China is also looking to attract more students from East Asia. China is projecting that foreign students in China, currently about 220,000, will more than double to around 500,000.

In addition to other reforms, the much-criticized university admissions system will be revamped. Admissions currently depend entirely on examination scores in the annual high-stakes gaokao or national college entrance examination. This filters only the top 25 percent of more than 10 million students who take the exam each year. More interviews and other educational criteria would be introduced under the reform to reduce the huge stress of the gaokao on students and their families.

China Daily [28]
March 13, 2010

New Universities to Offer English-language Medical Programs

Following similar announcements made in 2008 and 2009, in March 2010 the Chinese Ministry of Education [29] stated that five more Chinese universities will be eligible to offer English-language undergraduate-level clinical medicine and stomatology programs to international students.

AEI newsletter [30]
March 24, 2010

Predicting Private Closures

Some of China’s private universities will be forced to close amid fierce competition for students, a university president has predicted. Gu Hailiang, president of Wuhan University [31] and a National People’s Congress deputy, said: “With the decline of China’s population base … some private-run universities will face fierce competition on recruitment and are likely to shut down in the next 10 years.”

He quoted statistics showing that the numbers of students taking the 2010 National College Entrance Examination dropped by 20 percent on the previous year in Beijing, adding that enthusiasm for traditional university education was waning.

China Daily [32]
March 24, 2010

Hong Kong

City Readies for Wide-ranging, Ambitious Tertiary Reforms

Universities in Hong Kong are preparing for a transition from three-year first degrees to more generalized four-year degrees with a stress on internationalism as part of a broader set of reforms that will change significantly the higher-education landscape in the special administrative region.

The government’s New Academic Structure aims to create citizens “better prepared for the 21st century” by reshaping secondary school and university curricula. In 2012, all eight of the city’s universities will switch to four-year degrees, which will offer institutions the chance to provide more “liberal” courses not unlike the U.S. model . The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government also aims to increase the proportion of “non-local” students to 20 percent at the undergraduate level (up from a current 11 percent) .

At the secondary level, Hong Kong will replace its GCSE and A-level equivalents with a single set of examinations, including vocational electives. Under the new diploma, each student must study four core subjects – Chinese, English, mathematics and liberal studies. They must also take two or three additional elective subjects, which can include applied learning courses, and will also be required to undergo “other learning experiences”, such as moral and civic education. Students will study a maximum of eight subjects.

Times Higher Education [33]
April 8, 2010

India

Government Approves Plan to Allow Foreign Universities to Operate in India

The Indian government in March approved a plan to allow foreign universities to establish campuses and offer degrees in the country. The bill, which needs to be passed by parliament, is designed to benefit students that might otherwise travel abroad to study.

Some analysts project that India’s growing economy will face a shortfall of half a million qualified graduates over the next five years. Federal Education Minister Kapil Sibal described the bill, Foreign Education Providers (Regulatory) Bill, as “a milestone which will enhance choices, and increase competition and benchmark quality”.

It is thought that top foreign universities could be attracted by India’s large number of English speakers and its growing middle class. India has allowed foreign investment in education for a number of years, but foreign institutes have not been permitted to grant degrees. The bill had been opposed by some political parties, particularly those from the left, on the grounds that it will benefit only elite Indians with poorer students unable to afford to pay high fees. The chances for the bill becoming law this time are greater than in the past because the left is no longer a part of the ruling coalition. It is likely to go before parliament in May.

About 160,000 students a year leave India to study abroad, according to the National Knowledge Commission [34], an advisory group to the prime minister. More than 100 foreign educational institutions offer programs in India, but most are vocational or technical and run for only a few weeks or months. According to the bill, foreign colleges and universities will be granted “deemed” university status, which will enable them to also offer degree courses in India.

Wall Street Journal [35]
March 15, 2010

World Bank Backs Primary and Engineering Education

The World Bank has approved two education projects worh $1.05 billion, aimed at expanding the reach of primary schools and the quality of engineering education in the country.

In a statement, the World Bank praised the progress India has made in meeting its elementray education for all goals. Through its 86th constitutional amendment in 2002, India mandated elementary education as a fundamental right of every child. The same year, the government also launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a nationwide program to expand access to quality elementary education to all children. The Bank has supported the SSA with total grants of USD 1.1 billion since 2003, it added.

“SSA — now the largest ongoing Education for All (EFA) program in the world — has been remarkably successful, particularly in achieving greater access to elementary education,” said Roberto Zagha, World Bank Country Director for India. Between 2003 and 2009, the number of children enrolled in elementary education in India increased by 57 million to 192 million.

The Hindu [36]
March 19, 2010

Right to Education Act Takes Effect

Education reform has become central to the reform agenda of the current Congress Party-led government, and part of that agenda, the federal Right to Education Act (passed by parliament last year), took effect on April 1. The act focuses on expanding free and compulsory education to Class 8, lowering teacher ratios and a host of other goals, even as the government continues to separately push forward on a major school construction program. The act provides free education to students aged six to 14 and especially focuses on bringing back 8.1 million children from this age group who have dropped out of school.

Indo-Asian News Service [37]
March 31, 2010

800 More Universities Needed

India will need at least 800 more universities within the next decade if it is to meet demand and broaden access as the government would like, according to Kapil Sibal, minister for human resource development, in a speech at a meeting of education ministers at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization South Asia Cluster.

He said: “India has about 480 universities and about 22,000 colleges. If we were to increase the figure of 12 percent (higher education participation) to 30 percent, we would need another 800 to 1,000 universities in the next 10 years.” He added: “I think that if we recognize the facts, we will realize how important education is for a developing economy.”

Times Higher Education [38]
April 1, 2010

Government Plans to Ease Verification of Degrees Through Online Clearinghouse

The government has appointed a task force to create a national database of academic qualifications to ensure confidentiality, authenticity, online verification and easy retrieval of degrees. The team, which submitted its report on the e-certificate project at the end of March, will contract either the National Securities Depository Ltd or the Central Depository Services (India) Ltd to create and manage the clearinghouse.

According to the website of the ministry of human resource development [39] (HRD), there are a total of 490 government-recognized universities in the country, enrolling approximately 2.54 million graduate students alone. According to First Advantage Pvt. Ltd, a background screening firm, at least 15 percent of resumes they checked last year had false information, creating the need for such a database.

The database will not just stock documents virtually, but also create a system for storing hard copies, said Sanjay Dhande, chairman of the government-appointed task force and director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur [40] .

“We have prepared the road map of implementation, of which the first and foremost is that a law needs to be enacted to give legal standing to the database,” Dhande told Mint. “Technology is the least important part according to me, given the expertise in the field available.”

Academic certificates from school to graduate levels, including professional degrees, would be required to register with the depository through the respective boards, universities and other institutions once the legislation is passed, with information retrievable on payment of a fee.

Mint [41]
March 24, 2010

Indian and Australian Ministers of Education Ink Cooperation Agreements

Australia’s Education Minister Julia Gillard and India’s Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal signed a Joint Ministerial Statement in April that seeks to strengthen educational cooperation between the two nations.

According to the statement [42], Australia and India will look to build on existing education exchange programs to achieve greater cooperation between the two countries’ schools, higher education, vocational education and training sectors. The meeting was the first of what is to become an annual dialog between the two ministries and followed efforts by Australia to counter widespread condemnation in the Indian media over attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney.
The ministers agreed to look into the establishment of an India-Australia Education Council to improve collaboration on education-related issues. The council would consist of academics, policy-makers and industry representatives and would be asked to explore new partnership opportunities in key fields such as skills demand and education resources.

A total of 135 institutional partnerships are already in place between the two countries and the ministers agreed to initiate a joint faculty development program that would allow regular exchanges in mutual areas of teaching, research and curriculum development.

Australia Education International [43]
April 8, 2010

Malaysia

Three Top-tier Polytechnics Named

Three polytechnics have been selected as the Malaysia’s premier polytechnics. Politeknik Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah [44] in Shah Alam (Selangor), Politeknik Ungku Omar [45] in Ipoh (Perak) and Politeknik Johor Baru [46] (Johor) have all been selected under the ministry for education’s Polytechnic Transformation Plan, which seeks to upgrade polytechnics to polytechnic universities by 2015.

The scheme is designed to increase public confidence in local polytechnics, especially in in-demand technical fields, which address the needs of the service industry. The three institutions will be eligible to enroll foreign students as part of their new status and it is hoped they will foster internationalization of local knowledge, innovation and technology applications to other countries – especially in developing nations.

The ministry has also introduced a “star rating system” which identifies the strengths and weaknesses of polytechnics. The transformation plan will also see the ministry upgrading the enrollment capacity of polytechnics. To upgrade the quality of polytechnics, diploma and higher diploma programs will be given priority and certificate-level courses will no longer be offered from the July 2010 academic intake.

The Star [47]
February 25, 2010

Pakistan

Students Protest GRE Requirement

Students in Pakistan are campaigning against being forced to pay for an examination that has “no worth”, but without which their degrees are not recognized. Members of the Scholars Welfare Association (SWA) in March demonstrated outside the Higher Education Commission [48] in Islamabad, the Daily Times newspaper reported. They are angry that the commission does not recognize their MPhil and PhD degrees without the $200 (£130) Graduate Record Examination [49] (GRE).

Jabir Hussain Syed, SWA general secretary, told the newspaper: “GRE is a US-based testing system that has no worth for Pakistani students. Instead of honoring the decision of the academic council, which also rejected its policy on GRE, the commission has not reversed its decision, which is causing unrest among faculty members and students.”

Daily Times [50]
March 17, 2010

Singapore

New National Institute of Technology to Have 6 Campuses and Multiple International Partners

The Singapore Institute of Technology [51] (SIT) will have a total of six campuses across the island nation by 2014, it has been reported. Five of the campuses will be co-located within Singapore’s five existing polytechnics while its headquarters will be set up at an as-yet-undecided location. This follows the signing of an agreement between SIT and Singapore’s polytechnics.

The new Singapore Institute of Technology has been touted as a more convenient and cheaper pathway for polytechnic graduates seeking a university degree, with students able to obtain degrees in just two years. Ultimately, the institution has plans to become the state’s fifth university. Tan Chin Tiong, head of SIT, told the news website Today Online: “It will take a while, so we will leverage on the foreign universities first … When we have the capacity, our end point is that we want to offer dual degrees.”

So far, five overseas universities have agreed to offer degree programs through SIT: Technical University of Munich [52] , DigiPen Institute of Technology [53] , Newcastle University [54] , University of Nevada [55] , and the Culinary Institute of America. [56] The long-term plan is to offer degree programs from 15 international institutions, and to have 50 percent of faculty from overseas. The first eight degree programs are scheduled for launch in August.

Channel News Asia [57]
March 15, 2010

South Korea

Serious About Improving Tertiary Education

In a country where access rates are already among the highest in the world, the Korean government continues to invest heavily in higher education, believing that it will pay dividends even as the population declines and the sector continues to be saturated with private institutions.

The 2009 budget for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology [58] was up 8.2 percent from the previous year, and the budget for higher education grew by 2.5 percent.

Key state-funded projects include the World Class University project, which was launched in 2008 with the aim of recruiting world-class talent to Korean universities from abroad to collaborate with Korean scholars in key growth-generating fields and contribute to enhancing the international standing and competence of Korean universities. The Brain Korea 21 project continues to get significant funding, with its focus on improving graduate education (including incorporating English into key courses to attract talent), and strengthening industry-university partnerships. The New University for Regional Innovation project is part of an effort to develop local economies outside of Seoul, while 548.5 billion won has been allocated to provide more university students with loans. In addition, the government initiated a higher education evaluation and accreditation system in January 2009.

University World News [59]
March 21, 2010

Foreign Student Welcome Center Opened

South Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology [58] has established a center to support the 75,000 foreign students enrolled in the country’s 400 colleges and universities. The center, which is located at the National Institute for International Education in Seoul [60] , was created to address foreign students’ needs such as complaints about lack of cultural awareness among Koreans, shortage of English language programs, and limited dormitory space.

In addition to the center, the Ministry of Education plans to launch an online consulting section on its international student website [61] , and publish a student guide.

Korea Times [62]
April 6, 2010

Taiwan

Sports College Upgraded to University

The National College of Physical Education and Sports [63] (NCPES) was upgraded to become the National Taiwan Sport University (NTSU) in August of last year. It was originally established in 1987, and according to current plans the university will be comprised of four colleges: College of Sports and Athletics, College of Sports Science, College of Sports Education, and College of Sports and Recreation Management.

NTSU news release [64]
August 2009

Schools Compete for Children As Birth Rates Continue to Decline

As the Taiwanese birth rate falls, both private and public middle schools are becoming increasingly desperate to attract students.

Public middle schools are faced with shrinking class sizes, and the Department of Education [65] is making plans to control employee numbers as class sizes drop. In the interim, schools are doing everything possible to retain students and attract new ones by sending head teachers and recruiters to local elementary schools to try and attract students. Those schools that fail to attract students are either being downsized or closed.

According to the Taipei County Department of Education, shrinking family sizes are gradually impacting middle schools, and current plans are to reduce classes by one student per year, with average class size going from 35 to 34 in the 2009 school year, and down to 30 by the 2013 school year.

Liberty Times [66]
March 11, 2010

Taiwan, China to Establish Joint Labs

Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University [67] and China’s Tsinghua University [27] are planning to establish joint laboratories on both campuses to enhance cooperation between them, an NTHU official said in March. The labs will be funded by both sides, with NTHU contributing NT$20 million (US$628,000) and Tsinghua four million yuan (US$586,000) annually. The lab plan was discussed during a visit to NTHU by Tsinghua President Gu Binglin. A dual degree program was also discussed.

Under the plan, an NTHU master’s candidate, after completing the required number of units and a thesis in Taiwan, would be eligible to apply to Tsinghua and obtain another master’s degree there within a year.

Focus Taiwan [68]
March 17, 2010