WENR, June 2011: Asia Pacific
Chinese and Korean Universities Score Well in Regional Ranking
Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) in May published its Asian University Rankings, with results suggesting that Chinese and Korean universities are improving versus their Japanese counterparts.
The ranking uses a different methodology to QS’s World University Rankings. There is a more varied assessment of internationalization, with a 5 percent weighting given to inbound and outbound exchange students. The Asian rankings also include two measures of research excellence, citations per paper and papers per faculty, with a combined weighting of 30 percent rather than 20 percent for citations per faculty. The academic survey accounts for only 30 percent of the total score compared with 40 percent in the world rankings.
University World News points out that it is noticeable that the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Pohang University of Science and Technology and Nanyang Technological University have made advances this year, with the big news being that Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has overtaken the University of Hong Kong for the top spot in Asia.
– University World News
May 29, 2011
Southeast Asian e-University Set for 2012
In June, the South Korean government said it would grant US$1.8 million to Vietnam to establish the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Cyber University for e-learning by July 2012.
The grant from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), a development organization, will help the Hanoi Science and Technology University develop an e-learning and training facility. In May, KOICA also signed an agreement with Cambodia to establish an e-learning center at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia to develop IT skills. Korea will be providing technical assistance and hardware for the projects.
Other countries that will initially benefit from the project include Laos and Myanmar. It will later be expanded to other ASEAN members, according to Korean officials. According to the current plan for the e-university, an e-learning infrastructure and pilot programs will be built during the next 12 months, before the institution becomes operational in July 2012.
The project, agreed at the 2009 ASEAN summit, is designed to help the four countries acquire the technology and knowledge related to e-learning systems to help students in remoter areas access higher education. South Korea launched its first cyber university in 2001. Today some 90,000 Koreans are enrolled at 19 cyber universities in the country.
– University World News
June 10, 2011
Report Looks at Skilled Migration Policies in Australia and New Zealand
A report released in June has compared the migration policies of Australia and New Zealand with regards to skilled migrants. ‘Competing for Skills: Migration Policies and Trends in New Zealand and Australia’ was commissioned by the Department of Labour in New Zealand and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Australia.
The report charts the sources of permanent, temporary and international students and compares policies that impacted on skilled labor migration to the two countries from 2004-05 to 2008-09. It also includes employment outcomes for primary/principal applicants. The findings suggest that skilled migrants in New Zealand during that period were more likely to have found employment and to be earning more than their peers in Australia.
The report suggests that future trends will see increased competition for skilled migrants between the two countries as their immigration policies converge. Despite the competition, the report suggests that the two countries will also benefit from each other’s growing regional profile.
– Australian Department of Immigration
New English Language Test Companies Gain Access to Australian Market
Since 2008, when IDP Education Australia paid over $28 million (US$26.5 million) to become the sole owner of the International English Language Testing System in Australia, they have held a monopoly on the testing of foreign students’ English language skills for the entire country.
That has now changed with the announcement in May by Australia’s Immigration Minister Chris Bowen that three new tests – the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Pearson Test of English Academic, and the Cambridge English: Advanced Exam (CAE) – will be recognized for international student visa applications.
– The Australian
May 25, 2011
University Enrollments from Abroad Holding On; All Other Tertiary Sectors in Steep Decline
Australian universities continue to see year-on-year growth in enrollments from abroad, according to the most recent data, but all other tertiary sectors including vocational and English language saw big declines.
In the year to April, there were 58,471 higher education starts, up 1.9 percent on the corresponding period last year, according to the latest figures from Australian Education International. However, there were growing declines in new enrollments of international students to the tune of 4.3 percent in the vocational and training sector, 18.4 percent at English language colleges, 19.4 percent in the secondary sector, and 8.9 percent in other programs, including foundation courses.
Sue Blundell, executive director of English Australia, which represents ELICOS colleges, said the decline in her sector was accelerating. Starts for the year to April were 32 percent down on the same period in 2009.
“All of the top 10 ELICOS source countries are in decline with six of the top 10 declining by more than 20 percent,” she said. “Of particular concern to the higher education and vocational and educational training sectors should be the fact that AEI data shows that 44 percent of higher ed students come from an ELICOS pathway and 53 percent of VET students come from an ELICOS pathway.
– The Australian
June 14, 2011
Government to Regulate Private Universities
The government of Bangladesh has announced plans to form a national accreditation council, aimed at improving the standard of education in private universities. It also remains committed to establishing a public university in every district.
“It’ll be a separate and independent council,” Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid told parliament in June during a question and answer session. He said only nine of the 51 private universities in the country had their own campuses, and that universities that had failed to obtain temporary permission to operate “will have to fulfill the requirement by the summer semester this year. And they won’t be able to admit new students after September, but are given five years to complete the existing sessions.”
With regards to establishing a public university in every district, the minister said: “The government will certainly implement the plan in line with the prime minister’s pledge.” He added, however, that the plan was time-consuming and needed significant funding, so the initiative would take time.
June 5, 2011
Are Chinese Students Being Misled by Agents?
A recent article in Bloomberg looks at how some agents in China may be exploiting students who are trying to enroll at colleges in the United States. The main example in the article is a student who was encouraged by an agent, whom he pays $5,000, to enroll at the University of Connecticut, based on a description of the main UConn campus. The student didn’t realize that he was actually enrolling at a small branch campus in sparse accommodations. The article also noted links between some agents and real estate developers who want to get foreign students to live in their apartments, in addition to a clause in an agency contract that requires students to pay 10 percent of any college scholarships or financial aid as additional compensation.
The UConn example reflects the most extreme result of an industry burgeoning from the fourfold rise since 2006 in the number of Chinese undergraduates at U.S. colleges. More than 400 agencies licensed by the Chinese government, and many others that aren’t, cater to families eager to see their children gain the prestige of a U.S. degree. For thousands of dollars, agents help fill out applications, ghost-write essays and arrange visas, the Bloomberg article asserts.
Fifteen schools, including Wake Forest University and the University of Maryland, have joined an alliance called CNA-USA to bypass agents and build relationships directly with Chinese high schools, said Richard Hesel, principal of Art & Science Group, a Baltimore-based consulting firm that helped set up CNA- USA last year. Representatives have visited high schools in Guangdong province, conducted application workshops for students, and provided college counseling at no cost to the families or high schools, Hesel said.
May 22, 2011
Chinese University Applications Drop
University attendance over the last decade has grown exponentially in China, driven in large part by a government mission to prepare more secondary school graduates for China’s new economy. But a recent slump in the number of students taking the college entrance examinations is leading universities to understand that they will soon have to contend with a decreasing number of students.
This year, central China’s Henan Province reported a decrease of 97,000 applicants for the national college entrance exam (NCEE). It is the largest year-on-year drop for the province after the number of applicants took a downward spiral in 2008. The province, however, after registering 855,000 applicants for the exam in June, still ranks first in China.
More alarming is that the trend is becoming national. According to a report on eol.cn, a major portal reporting on education in China, this year’s NCEE registration has dropped 10 percent in Anhui, 6 percent in Beijing and 12 percent in Shanghai. The overall number of candidates seeking to take the NCEE in China shrank 1 million in 2009 and 2010. A number of factors, including a declining birth rate, difficulties in obtaining quality education, and easier access to overseas universities, have combined to lower the pool of test takers.
May 23, 2011
Chinese Students Systematically Acing U.S. College Entrance Exams with Aid of Test Prep Companies
A recent feature-length article in Businessweek magazine details how Chinese students are gaming the U.S. college admissions process with the help of China’s test preparation companies.
For hundreds of American institutions, from the obscure to the world-renowned, Chinese students, who typically pay full international tuition, have become highly desirable. According to the Businessweek article, thousands of Chinese students have figured out how to ace college admissions exams and English proficiency tests without actually having any degree of fluency in English, largely with the help of test preparation companies that have figured out how to prepare students to take standardized tests – if not speak English with any degree of sophistication.
The article focuses on the teaching model of China’s largest test-preparation company, New Oriental Education & Technology Group, which offers intensive two-month, six-days-a-week courses designed to dramatically improve SAT and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. The test preparation company, which was once fined for stealing test questions, is frustrating college officials and faculty members, not to mention the students who end up unable to follow many of their courses, especially in the humanities and social sciences, once in the United States.
In the year ended Feb. 28, more than 200,000 students in New Oriental classrooms across China devoted weeks or months to cramming vocabulary words and learning shortcuts on English-language standardized tests—whether they understand the material or not. New Oriental’s courses, which are taught primarily in Chinese, rely on exhaustive dissection of old test questions to help inflate students’ scores.
New Oriental built its business on the TOEFL and graduate-school entrance exams, such as the GRE and GMAT, and introduced SAT classes in 2006. Twenty thousand students took SAT prep classes in China with New Oriental last year, representing at least a 90 percent share of that market. New Oriental students must learn at least 100 vocabulary words a day, as opposed to 20 or 30 at Kaplan or The Princeton Review. A typical New Oriental course lasts 60 to 80 classroom hours, compared with 20 to 30 in the United States
May 5, 2011
East Asian Women Applying to U.S. MBA Programs in Record Numbers
According to a recent article in Businessweek, women from China, Vietnam and Taiwan are enrolling at U.S. business schools in record numbers as they attempt to give themselves an edge in a crowded job market. And their numbers are driving up the overall number of women in such programs, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the GMAT test for business school applicants. Last year, a record 105,900 women took the exam, or 40 percent of all test takers. Women now outnumber men in East Asia taking the test, according to a recent council report.
Many Chinese women considering business school aspire to top jobs, according to The Battle for Female Talent in China, a study released in March by the Center for Work-Life Policy, a New York nonprofit group. The report was based on interviews with more than 1,000 college-educated women. About 76 percent of Chinese women aspire to a top job, compared with 52 percent of American women, the study found.
Women now hold 34 percent of senior management roles in China, excluding Hong Kong, up from 31 percent in 2009, according to a 2011 Grant Thornton International Business Report, a survey of global companies. China makes up the second-largest citizen group of GMAT test takers, after the United States. Last year, about 63 percent of Chinese examinees were women, and of that group, 70 percent were under the age of 25. The majority of Chinese women, or 82 percent, send GMAT scores to U.S. schools.
Women in Vietnam, Taiwan, and Thailand are also looking to advanced business degrees in the United States, and outnumber men in taking the GMAT, GMAC said. Last year, women made up 57 percent of all examinees in Taiwan, 59 percent in Vietnam, and 58 percent in Thailand.
May 5, 2011
More Hong Kong Students to Apply Overseas Next Year
The number of students from Hong Kong applying to study overseas next year is likely to see a double- digit increase, according to a leading education consultancy. This is because there will be two cohorts of students applying for the same number of domestic university places as a result of the new 3-3-4 education system, which reduces secondary education from seven years to six years.
Although Australian-based consultancy IDP Education was unable to give an exact figure, it said “we will definitely see a double-digit percentage increase.”
The new 3-3-4 system was introduced in March 2007. Students receive three years of junior secondary education and three years of senior secondary, followed by four years at university. University applications usually start in September for the United States and Britain, and in February and July for Australia.
– The Standard
May 18, 2011
UK-India Renew Educational Collaboration Agreement
Phase two of the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) has been guaranteed for a further five years after being launched in early June. The second phase of the agreement concentrates on four key areas: leadership from school to universities; innovation partnerships between higher and further education institutions in UK and India; skills development; and the mobility of students and qualifications.
There is confirmed funding from the UK and Indian Governments of £5 million (US$8 million) annually over the next three years. UKIERI began in 2006 with the aim of making the UK India’s education partner of choice. It supported scholarships, research, school partnerships, summer schools, work experience and student exchange.
The project takes account of India’s aim to increase its student numbers from 13 million to about 40 million by 2020, which will involve the creation of 800 new universities. The second phase of UKIERI includes “a five-year strategic plan to transform leadership and management in Indian schools, higher education and further education institutions”.
– International Unit
May 25, 2011
US-India Higher-Education Summit Postponed
A joint U.S.-India higher-education summit, scheduled for June, was postponed because of scheduling conflicts of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kapil Sibal, India’s education minister, State Department officials said in May. American and Indian college leaders were to have gathered in Washington on June 14 and 15 to talk about expanding higher-education partnerships between the two countries. The meeting, which was the result of an effort to build more-substantive educational ties between the countries, will be postponed until the fall.
– State Department
May 16, 2011
Applications to Delhi University from Overseas Soar
The number of international students attending Delhi University (DU) has been increasing in recent years, and applications for places this year are on pace for another record year.
The university has already received over 1,800 international applications for the coming academic year, including 700 applications from students applying for fellowships from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The university is expecting demand to continue, making it likely that it will again set a record for incoming international students.
Last year, Delhi University admitted a record 1,400 international students, up from 1,200 the year before, which was the previous high. Anecdotally, students are attracted to DU by its reputation and cheap tuition fees, according to students interviewed by the Hindustan Times. The university enrolls students from over 100 different countries, with most coming from neighboring countries such as Nepal, Tibet, and Afghanistan, and also from Korea and Vietnam.
– Hindustan Times
June 09, 2011
Government to Ease Work Visa Regulations to Attract International Students
The Japanese government has announced plans to ease the academic requirements for obtaining work visas in a bid to make it easier for foreign graduates of Japanese vocational schools to work in the country, according to sources cited by the Yomiuri Shimbun.
The move is aimed at attracting more foreigners to study in Japan, the sources said. The Justice Ministry plans to revise the relevant ordinance shortly, with the new policy to be implemented in late June at the earliest.
Currently, work visas are issued only to foreign nationals who hold a bachelor degree or higher. Exceptions can be made for foreign students who stay in Japan and find jobs after graduating from Japanese vocational schools, but not if the students return to their home countries after graduation. According to a survey by the Japan Student Services Organization, there were 27,872 foreign students at Japanese vocational schools as of May last year.
– Yomiuri Shimbun
May 31, 2011
Private Education Group to Establish New University
Singapore-based Raffles Education, one of the largest private education groups in the Southeast Asian region, has announced plans to establish a university in Johor, Malaysia. The new institute, Raffles University Iskandar, will be located in Johor’s Iskandar EduCity, an education hub located in the town of Nusajaya.
Raffles Education will partner with state-owned Iskandar Investment in the US$82 million project over the next few years. The university plans to enroll 400 students for its first intake in October, and have about 5,000 students within five years. The institution has been awarded university status by Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education and will offer bachelor and masters degrees in subjects ranging from design to art and business. Raffles Education is the second Singapore private education group to set up a campus at EduCity after MDIS announced in June last year that it had the go ahead to establish a private university college.
– Malaysian Insider
June 1, 2011
New Qualifications Framework Descriptors
The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has published new level descriptors and qualification type definitions for the ten-level New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). They were added to the Requirements for listing and maintaining qualifications on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) policy document that was released last winter. A consultation confirmed that these additions introduced greater clarity and transparency, notably as regards the differentiation of diplomas and certificates.
Students Choosing to Stay Home
An increasing number of students who left the country at a young age are returning home to continue their university studies because they find it difficult to get jobs abroad, while the number of secondary school children going abroad is on the decline.
Kim Young Academy, a private cramming institution that prepares students for transfer between universities, saw enrollment by foreign-educated students jump from 134 in 2007 to 215 last year, and until April this year 70 had signed up. The number one reason for staying or returning home, according to a recent Chosun Ilbo article, is to have a better chance in the job market. With the number of students going abroad to study on the increase, overseas degrees are no longer passports to success, and many believe it is easier to establish personal connections and find jobs if they study in Korea. Meanwhile, the enthusiasm for early overseas education is also diminishing. The number of young school children going abroad to study rose in the early 2000s but has been on the decline since peaking in 2006.
May 29, 2011
Cabinet to Move Forward with Higher Education Hub Plans
Taiwan is launching a four-year plan aimed at boosting foreign student numbers and positioning the nation as a regional hub for higher education in East Asia. Taiwan’s Cabinet approved a four-year NT$5.68 billion (US$196 million) plan at the end of May that promises to boost education-sector competitiveness and promote the country as a hub of advanced learning in East Asia.
“The scheme focuses on creating a friendlier environment for international students while marketing Taiwan’s higher education credentials,” Ministry of Education official Tony Lin said during a news conference in Taipei.
“Taiwan aims to more than double its number of international students to 95,000 by 2014,” Lin said. “We expect foreign nationals to make up 7.48 percent of the country’s student population, a rate comparable with Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea.”
Under the plan, Lin said, Taiwan’s universities will offer more degree programs in English, develop a support system for international students, and expand an internship program for talented overseas university graduates seeking local employment. Currently, there are approximately 40,000 international students in Taiwan, many there to study Mandarin Chinese. Taiwan’s 165 universities have the capacity to absorb many more students. As in Japan and South Korea, Taiwan faces a shrinking population, leaving many vacant places in college classrooms.
– Taiwan Today
May 26, 2011
Disappointing Enrollment Numbers from the Mainland
Graduate schools in Taiwan admitted only a little more than one third of the quota they had been granted by the government in the first year that they have been allowed to enroll mainland Chinese students. Only 248, or 38 percent, of the total 653 spots in masters and doctorate programs allocated to Taiwanese universities were filled, according to figures released in June.
Of the 248 enrolled, 220 will be studying in master’s programs and 28 were admitted to doctoral programs. According to Tai Chien, President of Southern Taiwan University and head of the Mainland Chinese Joint Admissions Committee, high standards for admission, especially among top-tier universities such as National Taiwan University, National Cheng Kung University and National Tsing Hua University, are the main reason behind the low enrollment rate. A second reason, cited by the China Post is that most mainland students applied only to prestigious schools, resulting in a low overall admission rate.
– China Post
June 9, 2011
Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi Universities to Relocate
The Ministry of Education and Training made a decision in May to relocate two-thirds of universities and colleges from the center of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to the suburbs, in a bid to improve infrastructure and public transport options.
The ministry asked city authorities to give priority to developing public transport to cater for students and workers that would be affected by the decision. It said the universities and colleges in question would be announced soon.
According to ministry statistics, there are 69 universities and colleges with 516,000 students in HCM City, excluding schools managed by the armed services and socio-political units. The size of the city has increased by 138 percent since 1975, while the number of universities and colleges has increased by 700 percent and the number of students has increased by 1,900 percent.
– Vietnam News
May 21, 2011
Colleges Upgraded to Universities
Three colleges have been upgraded to university level. The Vinh Yen College of Transport under the Ministry of Transport will become the University of Transport Technology, while HCM City ‘s Nguyen Tat Thanh College, a private school, will become Nguyen Tat Thanh University, and Thanh Hoa Art and Culture College will become Thanh Hoa Culture, Art and Tourism University.
– Vietnam News
April 28, 2011