WENR, October 2011: Asia Pacific

Business Professors Head East

The Financial Times reports that internationally mobile business professors are heading to Asia in increasing numbers, reversing a trend that has traditionally seen professors heading to the United States to teach.

China and Singapore have become particularly attractive destinations for top management scholars. Blair Sheppard, former dean of the Fuqua School [1] at Duke University in the US, Arnoud de Meyer, former dean of the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School [2], Howard Thomas, former dean of Warwick Business School [3] in the UK, George Yip, former dean of the Rotterdam School of Management [4], and John Quelch, former dean at London Business School [5] are just a few mentioned by the FT that have moved eastward in the last year.

One obvious reason is the growth in Asian economies and their willingness to invest in high-quality education and institutions, while those in the West are cutting budgets. But it is also about the dynamism of studying in rapidly growing economies and looking at how to manage companies with double-digit growth or in helping a country itself evolve.

Financial Times [6]
September 25, 2011

Plans for the Integration of Regional Higher Education Move Forward

At a recent symposium in Tokyo plans for the integration of Asian higher education through the streamlining of university curricula and grading systems were discussed by representatives from China, Korea and the countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The International Symposium on Exchange among Universities with Quality Assurance in the East Asia Region [7]” was hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, [8] and examined initiatives to build on the growing momentum for university collaboration within the region.

Regional education initiatives were discussed under a broader theme of fast-growing economic collaboration, a process that has set timetables for creating economic and trading blocs, including the ASEAN Community by 2015. According to the organizers, the ultimate goals for higher education integration in Asia would be to develop educated young people who are able to meet the challenges of increased economic cooperation, or find solutions to common Asian issues such as food and energy security, and also able to respond to the needs of local communities and industries. The other important goal is reversing the brain drain of youth leaving for universities in the West by encouraging them to remain in the region.

Quality assurance agencies in the three countries, however, are struggling to develop standards that can measure learning outcomes in integration activities such as student mobility and credit transfer. New guidelines are to be announced in November. Other sticking points towards greater integration include financial support, and the continued preference of Asian students to study in the West.

The symposium endorsed the notion that harmonization should not be a model for unity but rather a means of cooperation.

University World News [9]
October 1, 2011


Student Visa Reform

The Australian government has announced an immigration reform package [10] that would allow for quicker visa approvals and the right to two years of work after graduation. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans said in September that by the middle of next year, foreign students will have access to a new, fast-track visa system. The reforms are based on recommendations [11] made in an independent commission report on Australia’s education export industry by former politician Michael Knight.

Students from what are considered “high-risk” countries for immigration such as India and China will no longer have to show at least A$75,000 in a bank account to prove they can cover fees and living costs. Instead, as with students from developed countries such as the United States, they will be able to simply declare they can support themselves. Also under the reforms, specifically aimed at the university sector, foreign graduates with a bachelor’s degree will be allowed to work for two to four years post graduation without restriction on the type of job. If looking to stay permanently they will still have to satisfy stricter rules for skilled migration, which are much less generous to on-shore foreign students with low-value skills.

The reforms come after the education export industry complained of “a perfect storm” of rapid changes in visa rules and skilled migration policy, the strong dollar, more competition for students overseas and lingering reputational damage done by attacks on Indian students. Current declines in enrollments at English language colleges and college preparation programs suggest that universities will be experiencing declining enrollments, at least in the near term.

The Australian [12]
September 23, 2011


University Tuition Fees Too High

A huge 91 percent of college students in China said in a survey conducted recently by the China National Center for Students’ Assistance Administration that their tuition fees were higher than expected.

According to the survey, just 8 percent of students felt that tuition costs were reasonable. However, 85 percent of surveyed students agreed that their tuitions helped colleges improve services. An official from the education authority in Chongqing municipality said tuition for local first-tier universities is about 5,000 yuan ($743) a year, while tuition for second-tier colleges are higher. Students majoring in the arts or medical sciences spend at least 12,000 yuan a year, the report said.

China Daily [13]
September 16, 2011

Nottingham University Ningbo Gets Large Government Research Grant

The Chinese government has awarded research grants worth more than US$19 million to the China branch campus of a British university to produce “at least 100 new scientists,” as the country seeks to raise its global research profile.

Under the scheme announced in September, the University of Nottingham Ningbo [14] will award at least 100 full PhD scholarships in the fields of energy, manufacturing and the digital economy. The scholarships are part of an ambitious multi-million dollar science and technology project based at the university’s new International Doctoral Innovation Centre [15] in Ningbo.

Nottingham Ningbo’s innovation team will work with at least 50 companies on new low carbon technologies. It will also develop new business models to enable Ningbo city’s manufacturing sector to become sustainable and environmentally friendly. The University of Nottingham [16] will also invest at least US$9 million in the project.

University World News [17]
September 17, 2011

Duke to Wait a Semester Before Opening China Campus

Duke University [18] will delay the opening of its campus in Kunshan, China by a semester, to the spring of 2013, reports [19] The Chronicle, the Duke student newspaper. In a meeting in September with faculty members to discuss the controversial project, the university’s provost, Peter Lange, said bad weather had delayed construction.

The planned campus has faced fierce questioning from Duke professors, who have raised concerns about its financial feasibility, academic freedom in China, and how open administrators have been about its development. In June faculty members at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business [20] postponed a vote on proposed courses to be taught on the China campus before approving in October the first degree that would be offered there. The degree, a master’s in management, still requires approval by the university’s Academic Council and other university bodies.

The Chronicle [19]
September 16, 2011

Sichuan and Missouri to Collaborate on New University

The University of Missouri-St. Louis ( [21]UMSL) in September announced that it would be collaborating on the establishment of a new university in China. Sichuan Missouri University would be set up by UMSL, the Missouri University of Science and Technology [22] and China’s Tianfu College [23]. The English-language university could open as soon as the fall of 2013, pending approvals from the Chinese government.

Already, the university has an agreement, signed earlier this year, with Tianfu allowing Chinese students to start their education in China before transferring to Missouri to finish the final two years of their degrees. UMSL sees the new school as a way to produce a stronger presence in China for the University of Missouri. The school would be situated in Chengdu, a city with a population of 14 million.

The agreement calls for the two Missouri schools to contribute to the curriculum, with UMSL handling business, nursing, graphic design, social work and gerontology. Missouri S&T would handle four different engineering degrees, including mining. The costs of the new school would be covered by the Chinese partners, with the Missouri schools assigning a faculty member in each academic area to work on curriculum.

St. Louis Today [24]
September 22, 2011

10 U.S. Universities to Build Cultural Centers in China

The U.S. Department of State in September announced that it will award 10 grants to universities to establish American cultural centers and programs in China, including one that will go to Ohio State University [25] which will be working in concert [26] with Wuhan University [27], and one that goes to the University of North Dakota [28] which will be establishing a center [29] on the campus of the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology [30].

“The U.S.-China relationship is one of the United States’ most important bilateral relationships. A great deal of work remains to be done in fostering mutual understanding between the peoples of the two nations,” says the grant announcement [31].

The grant announcement mentions the presence of the more than 60 Confucius Institutes [32] on American college campuses, as well as the fact that despite Chinese national education policy requiring the study of English, “there is no equivalent understanding and appreciation for the strength and diversity of American culture and society.”

The State Department has allocated $1 million to support the new American centers and/or virtual programming in its bid to “help promote greater understanding of the United States among the Chinese public.”

Ohio State News Release [26]
September 26, 2011


U.S. Government Official Calls for India to Open Education System to Foreign Universities

Suresh Kumar, a U.S. Commerce Department official who was in New Delhi in October on an education-focused trade mission, said that India needs to open its system to foreign universities as it looks to meet a target of sending 30 percent of graduating high-school students to college by 2020, up from 13 percent now.

However, he said that current governmental proposals to achieve this would not work because they impose too many restrictions on foreign universities. India’s proposed higher education bill would create a route for foreign universities to legally set up in India, but it would prevent them from repatriating profits back to their home countries. The government could regulate tuition fees, but foreign institutions would still be required to ensure what they offer is of “quality comparable, as to the curriculum, methods of imparting education and the faculty employed,” of what they offer on their main campuses.

Mr. Kumar, Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion in the U.S. Commerce Department, says such provisions are counter-productive.

Wall Street Journal [33]
October 11, 2011

Education Officials and Leaders from India Discuss Higher Education Collaboration with US Peers

The first U.S.-India Higher Education Summit [34] was held at Georgetown University [35] in October and was attended by more than 300 academics, business leaders, and government officials. The meeting highlighted the desire for greater collaboration from both sides, but also revealed the many roadblocks to deeper, broader and more sustained educational ties between the two countries.

India needs resources and talent as it seeks to dramatically increase tertiary participation rates, while American colleges are keen to develop partnerships with Indian universities focused on global research projects, joint-degree programs, and student and faculty exchanges. Whether American institutions are interested in, or capable of, helping meet India’s vast demand for education remains to be seen.  However, there did not appear to be much appetite among U.S. institutions represented at the summit for campus building activities, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education report.

Since the announcement of the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative [36] two years ago, and the joint commitment of $10 million to further academic collaboration and exchange, the two governments have nearly tripled the number of Fulbright-Nehru [37] scholars moving between the two countries and encouraged American universities to visit and explore India for partnership opportunities.

However, the many roadblocks that remain to be figured out include the high price of a US education, a solution to which might include technological advancements in cross-border delivery, according to attendees. Richard C. Levin, president of Yale, was among several high-profile American university leaders in attendance. He encouraged people to think about “less obvious” forms of engagement and mentioned two of Yale’s key India projects. The first is to build deep India expertise within Yale’s faculty, across disciplines. The other is to work with Indian universities to provide advanced leadership education.

Another point of concern was the imbalance in the number of students traveling to each country. More than 100,000 Indian students are seeking degrees in the United States, while roughly 2,700 American students travel to India each year, and then only for short periods of study.

Financing has also been a major roadblock, and few Indian officials seemed to expect that American universities would be prepared to capitalize the building of branch campuses in India. However, in the closing session, Kapil Sibal, India’s minister in charge of higher education, asserted that Indian investors could supply the land and infrastructure for whatever operations U.S. institutions might wish to set up.

The Chronicle of Higher Education [38]
October 14, 2011


World Bank Issues $300m Higher Education Loan as HEC Regains Regulatory Authority

The World Bank in September agreed to release US$300 to Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission [39] for the improvement of the higher education system after having previously withheld the funds upon learning that the federal HEC was to be disbanded and educational authority devolved to the provinces.

In April the commission was stripped of its financial and administrative responsibilities, putting the loan in jeopardy; a clause in the organization’s agreement with the World Bank states that any change in the legal status of the former would end the deal.

The money will support efforts to enroll more students in doctoral programs in Pakistan and abroad, hire foreign faculty members, and improve universities.

Pakistan Today [40]
September 29, 2011

South Korea

Outbound Academic Mobility Grows by a Third in 5 years

The number of Korean students studying abroad has grown by more than 32 percent over the past five years. A total of 251,887 students were reported to have studied overseas in 2010, up from 190,364 in 2006, according to recent Education Ministry [41] figures.

Growth in outbound academic mobility resumed in 2009 after a drop of 1,092 students in 2008. Between 2009 and 2010, the number of Korean students abroad grew by 4.5 percent. Of the total, 60.7 percent went abroad to pursue degrees, with the remaining 39.3 percent on shorter programs.

Among students studying degree programs, the U.S. and China were the two most popular destinations, accounting for 29.8 and 25.5 percent of the total overseas body, respectively. Of students who went overseas for language study, 67 percent chose Asia-Pacific countries including Australia, New Zealand or the Philippines, followed by Europe with 18.7 percent and North America at 13.4 percent.

Korea Herald [42]
September 19, 2011