WENR, August 2012: Asia Pacific
Slump in Enrollments May Have Bottomed Out
The Australian professional sector was the most severely impacted by the drop in international enrollments last year, with a decline of 35,000 international students (16 percent) between 2010 and 2011, according to final figures from the Department of Foreign and Affairs and Trade. In contrast, university numbers increased fractionally. However, the Indian market shows strong signs of bouncing back, with a 43 percent increase in approved student visa applications from India in the nine months to March. Chinese demand over this period has been stable.
China and India continued as the most important markets for education exports, accounting for 42 percent of international enrollments at Australian institutions. However, while enrollments of Chinese nationals dropped by 5 percent, the decline in students from India was five times that in recent years.
Indian students are concentrated in colleges, with 76 percent of them in the vocational sector compared to just 11 percent of Chinese students. By contrast, 61 percent of Chinese students were enrolled at university with another 17 percent in English language programs, generally preparing them for higher education.
– The Australian
August 2, 2012
International Graduate Scholarships Offered as Sultanate Looks to Internationalize
The University of Brunei Darussalam in the rich Southeast Asian country of Brunei is looking to bring international talent to its labs and research departments through its Graduate Research Scholarship program. The flagship institution started the generous scholarship scheme in 2010 and is reporting plans to expand its reach.
“International students bring with them a wealth of experience from all sorts of universities so they enliven our student population as well as contribute to the research in the priorities of the university,” said David Young, deputy dean of the graduate studies and research office. The university is currently short listing applicants to begin their studies in early 2013.
Over the last two years, the university has awarded over 120 Graduate Research Scholarships to Masters and PhD students from 26 countries. The scheme, launched by the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, includes a tuition waiver, travel to Brunei Darussalam and back, a BND1,500 (US$1,180) monthly stipend and allowances for field research. According to Young, international students find it easy to adapt to the university as everyone speaks English and the cost of living is low – both selling points for its plans for future expansion of the scheme.
Founded in 1985, the university is the oldest in the country and started with just 176 students. That number has swelled to 4,000 students today, 25 percent of whom are international. Young says most scholarship applicants come from surrounding Asian countries, the Middle East and Africa with a “smattering of U.S., European and Australian students.”
– PIE News
July 12, 2012
Education Reform Begins in the Private Sector
China introduced a 10-year program of education reform in 2010 that aims to deemphasize rote learning in favor of more experiential learning, with greater autonomy afforded to institutions of education. A recent New York Times article suggests that this will be a difficult process with much of the initial experimentation occurring within the private sector at experimental middle schools or colleges with ties to foreign universities.
According to the article, “one particularly encouraging entrant into this field is Xing Wei College, established outside of Shanghai by Chen Weiming, an investor and graduate of the Harvard Business School.
“Modeled explicitly after U.S.-style liberal arts colleges, Xing Wei aims to address many of the immediate shortcomings of Chinese higher education. Admission is based on essays and interviews as well as the almighty college entrance exam, and students are allowed to choose their own major rather than having one assigned to them.”
The author points out, however, that while college experimentation is a good start, real reform will have to begin much earlier, from the first grade, if students are to truly be allowed to “break free of the shackles of memorization.”
– The New York Times
July 3, 2012
International Students in Hong Kong Almost Exclusively from China
Hong Kong boasts a number of universities ranked as among the best in the world, yet the bustling, multicultural financial capital struggles to attract international students from anywhere other than China, even though they teach in English – and one could argue that Chinese students in Hong Kong are not really international anyway.
Of the 56,921 full-time undergraduates on University Grants Committee-funded programs in 2011-12, 1,057 came from Asia, outside mainland China, while 274 came from the rest of the world. Writing for University World News, Way Kuo reasons as to why this is so.
His first argument is that the ability to speak English should not be confused with internationalization. Pointing to South Korea and Japan as two economies that are as internationally dynamic as any on earth, he notes that the level of English-language proficiency in both countries is well below that in Hong Kong. South Korea’s triumph, Kuo asserts, is that it has been able “to modify its mindset and change with the times.”
“So what is internationalization in education, if it is not simply about learning English?” Kuo asks. Answering his own question, he points to cultural understanding, curriculum reform that creates space for knowledge creation, original discoveries and innovative thinking by integrating learning and research.
Universities in Hong Kong, Kuo says, need to “take full advantage of the city’s unique cultural and geographical position to enhance their influence as intermediaries between China, Asia and the West.” Internationalization, he says, “grows from our own culture. No matter which way one looks, people in Hong Kong first need to embrace Chinese culture and language, mindful that it is paid greater attention by the rest of the world than ever before.”
– University World News
July 8, 2012
Chinese National Education Introduced in Hong Kong Schools
Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Hong Kong in early August to protest the introduction of Chinese national education in Hong Kong schools, a day after the city’s education minister warned that such demonstrations would not stop or delay the process.
Many of the protesters felt the changes had been rushed through without public consultation. The new curriculum is similar to the so-called patriotic education taught in mainland China. The materials, including a handbook titled “The China Model,” describe the Communist Party as “progressive, selfless and united” and criticize multiparty systems, even though Hong Kong has multiple political parties.
Critics liken the curriculum to brainwashing and say that it glosses over major events like the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square crackdown. It will be introduced in some elementary schools in September and be mandatory for all public schools by 2016. Foreign-run international schools will be exempt from the new national education.
– The Associated Press
July 29, 2012
Plans for 100 Community Colleges
The Indian government and its university regulator have said that they want to open as many as 100 community colleges within the next year or so to help alleviate the country’s extreme skills shortage. The effort is being aided by American community colleges.
“We’ve been supportive and encouraging of the Indian interest in implementing a community-college system that’s right for India,” said Stephanie Forman Morimura, the cultural attaché for education and exchanges at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.
A team of education ministers from seven Indian states recently visited the United States to understand its community colleges and submitted a report in May. As part of the first step in the process, Indian states have been asked to submit proposals to the ministry.
– The Indian Express
July 10, 2012
Parliament Passes Higher Education Bill with Regulations on Foreign Providers
Indonesia’s House of Representatives endorsed a higher education bill in July that allows some public universities increased financial autonomy, while also allowing foreign universities of ‘good quality’ to be allowed accreditation. Foreign providers must be non-profit and can only set up campuses in cooperation with an Indonesian university.
Opponents of the controversial bill complain that increased autonomy would pave the way for the commercialization of higher education and unaffordable tuition fees. The government says that the bill will increase access to higher education, and would ensure access by setting quotas of 20 percent for poor students.
Foreign universities, according to government officials, will be restricted on where they can set up and on what programs they can offer.
– Jakarta Globe
July 13, 2012
An article in The New York Times reports on Japanese universities such as Akita International University that are bucking tradition by implementing innovative internationalization strategies. Such strategies are particularly timely, as “Japanese corporations need more graduates capable of helping them globalize, and as the universities themselves look to draw more students as the Japanese population ages.”
The university has partnerships with 130 overseas universities and 14 percent of its student body is foreign. AIU was founded in 2004, joining a handful of others with internationalization goals. The problem is that they are a glaring exception rather than a trend in Japan, The New York Times reports.
These new schools are producing more students and graduates with international experience and who are likely to be multicultural and multilingual than their bigger and older peers. They are also drawing the attention of corporate recruiters. At The University of Tokyo, only 53 undergraduates took part in its exchange program in 2011, or 0.4 percent of the student body of 14,100. Keio University, another leading name in Tokyo with an undergraduate enrollment of 29,000, sent only 133 students overseas in 2010, or 0.45 percent of the total student body. Reasons cited include low enthusiasm among students for study abroad, as well as a lack of drive and commitment on the part of universities to internationalize their programs. Still, most large universities see the urgency of increasing overseas exchanges.
“We would like to see Japanese universities become more open internationally,” said Toshimitsu Iwanami, senior executive vice president of NEC Corp., a major information technology services provider. Mr. Iwanami heads a committee on education at Keidanren, Japan’s leading federation of large corporations, which has voiced concerns about a lack of international higher education.
At Akita International University half of the faculty are non-Japanese and all classes are taught in English. Today, the university ranks among the nation’s top schools, like Osaka University and the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, in competitiveness of admissions. A relatively small university with total enrollment of 834, AIU has become a magnet for corporate recruiters.
Another institution with a successful international program is Ritsumeikan Asia-Pacific University, which was founded in 2000 in Ooita Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu. Today, the university has the highest number, as well as the highest ratio, of foreign students working toward a degree in Japan: 2,692 from 81 countries who represent 43 percent of the total body. It achieved a 95 percent job placement rate in 2011 and, like Akita International University, is frequently visited by recruiters from leading companies.
– The New York Times
July 29, 2012
Universities Face Bankruptcy
The chair of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr Javaid Laghari, warned in August that universities are about to go bankrupt due to shortages of funds.
He was delivering a presentation at a meeting of the National Assembly standing committee on professional and technical training. Laghari stated that the HEC has not received funding from the Ministry of Finance for the past four months.
He stated that Peshawar University, two universities in Punjab province, and one university in Sindh province were getting loans from banks, in order to pay the salaries to teachers and other staff. He said the number of universities in Pakistan had grown from 98 to 139 in the past nine years.
– Pakistan Observer
August 10, 2012
U.S. State University to Establish MBA Program
California State University, Sacramento plans to launch an MBA program in Singapore in November. The program would be the first of its kind for the university.
Sacramento will join a number of other U.S. universities that run programs in Singapore. The University of Chicago and the City University of New York’s Baruch College both have business programs in Singapore. Chicago’s 21-month program costs $150,000, compared with Sacramento’s 12-month, $24,000 program.
Sacramento State will offer the program in partnership with Aventis School of Management, which has a Singapore campus that hosts other U.S. programs, including the Baruch College Executive MBA program and an MBA program offered in conjunction with Arcadia University. The CSU MBA program in Singapore will be identical to the one at the Sacramento campus, according to officials, and will be taught by CSU faculty using the same curriculum.
According to Sacramento officials, the university is looking to compete for middle-tier students, a market that is dominated largely by Australian and British universities in Singapore, which is host to offshore programs from around the world.
– Sacramento Bee
August 1, 2012
International Students Finding South Korea This Summer
South Korean universities are enrolling increasing numbers of students from Hong Kong, Singapore, France and elsewhere this summer. The students are reportedly attracted both by educational opportunities and an interest in Korean pop culture. Asia News Network describes the phenomenon as being part of the Korean Wave, or hallyu, with several other factors, such as local colleges’ continued efforts to revitalize their summer programs also being at work.
Jang Dong-hyun, program manager of the International Summer Campus at Korea University, said K-pop is one of the key factors prompting foreign students to register for summer schools in Seoul, with particular interest from students in Hong Kong and Singapore, reflecting the popularity of Korean pop culture in the two Asian neighbors. There has also been a surge in interest among French students whose numbers rose 30 percent from summer 2010 to summer 2011. France is one of the major European countries where Korean musicians have held concerts.
Korea University began its summer school program called “the International Summer Campus” in 2004 with 250 international students. The number climbed to 1,040 students this year. Yonsei University has signed up 1,274 summer-course students this year, and Sungkyunkwan University 760.
– Asia News Network
July 30, 2012
Developing a National Knowledge Hub
A report by John Fielden and Jane Knight, commissioned by the World Bank, exploring how Sri Lanka can promote itself as a knowledge and education hub in the region is now available online.
The report, Sri Lanka as an Education Hub for International Students, describes how Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and the UAE have developed their plans to be regional hubs. The lessons from these countries are that hubs cannot be developed without government funding upfront; that they need a concerted program by several government departments as supportive policies are needed on matters such as visas, the qualifications framework, quality assurance and work permits; and the overall objectives of the hub strategy must be clear.
– World Bank
Government Pushes University Mergers
Facing a steady decline in student-age citizens and to better integrate university education resources, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education has said that it will actively move to promote mergers among national universities.
According to officials, the ministry has worked out regulations governing the mergers of universities, and will set up a merger screening committee to screen merger plans filed by national universities. Ministry officials said that Taiwan boasts the highest density of universities in the world, with a total of 162 universities, including 53 national universities and 109 private ones.
– China Post
July 5, 2012
Government Offers $5 Million in Overseas Scholarships
A US$5million public-private scholarship initiative has been launched in Taiwan aimed at reversing a decline in the number of students studying abroad. The Overseas Technology Talent Recruitment Program, run by the government’s National Science Council (NSC) and private research institute Academia Sinica, will allow 116 doctoral and postdoctoral students to attend the world’s top 30 universities from 2013 to 2016.
The move comes after the number of Taiwanese studying abroad hit a 10-year low of 24,000 in July, falling of a cliff from 33,900 in 2010. This has coincided with a shortage of highly skilled knowledge workers.
– China News Agency
June 14, 2012
Facing Tough Odds, Many Uzbek Students Forced to Cheat on University Entrance Examinations
This year, approximately 431,000 Uzbek students competed for just 56,000 places at the country’s universities and institutes on university entrance examinations August 1, meaning just one in eight will earn a seat.
In an effort to beat the odds, many turn to dishonest methods, such as employing “soldiers,” paid test-takers who work for Uzbekistan’s numerous education-cheating rings. The rings provide a range of services for fees rising as high as $10,000. In addition to providing test-taking “soldiers,” such outfits also concoct elaborate schemes for providing ordinary test-takers with hidden mobile phones, cheat sheets written in code, pen-scanners, and other methods for smuggling information in and out of test classrooms.
Corruption has been a long-standing vice in the education systems of Central Asia and other countries in the former Soviet Union, where university space is limited and test scores paramount, reports RFE/RL.
For high-demand schools like the Ferghana branch of the Tashkent Medical Academy, applications outnumber spaces 21-to-1. The ratio at Tashkent Islamic University is 13-to-1. Unlike students in the West, applicants in Uzbekistan and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union are able to apply to just one school a year. Their August 1 exams -multiple-choice, computer-graded forms in three specialized subjects -are the main determining factor in whether they get in. Failure means a yearlong wait, followed by a new exam with equally uncertain results; hence the temptation to cheat.
August 07, 2012
Number of Test Takers for University Entry Drops Dramatically
According to statistics from Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training, the number of candidates who sat for university entrance examinations this year has decreased by 27.2 percent compared with last year, down to 662,096 candidates from more than 900,000.
Initial figures show that the number of candidates sitting for exams for technology universities amounted to 70 percent of those who had applied. This was slightly higher than in previous years. And the rate for those who turned up for exams for provincial universities was higher at 80 percent. However, the attendance rate for those arriving for tests at universities covering foreign trade, economics and banking-finance fell to a low of 50 percent of those who applied. This is seen by some as a reflection of the state of Vietnam’s economy.
July 5, 2012