WENR, April 2014: Asia-Pacific
Government Uses Social Media To Spread News About Student Visa Rules
The Australian government has launched a social media campaign to inform international students about its visa conditions after backing off from a crackdown in January on students who changed programs.
The campaign has been rolled out on the government’s social media platform and website in order to raise awareness in the international student community that if they were granted a visa by a provider authorized to offer streamlined visa processing (SVP) then they are only allowed to change programs to another SVP institution. The government sent out 1,416 letters in January warning students they had breached their visa conditions by transferring to non-SVP providers and could be sent home.
The government made a u-turn on the threat on February 11 saying it will take no further action against students who transferred from SVP to non-SVP programs before January 14 after protests from non-SVP providers and students. It will continue with its social media campaign in order to communicate to students the consequences of “course hopping.”
Visa rules stipulate that students must complete six months of study at the highest qualification for which their visa was granted before being able to change to a different education sector. If students decide to change their level of qualification, from an SVP provider to a vocational training program for example, they must apply for a new visa.
Since March 2012, SVP has successfully been available to students who apply to participating universities. They are treated as low-risk immigration applicants regardless of their country of origin and have to provide less evidence of funding or previous study. In November of last year, the government extended invitations to participate in SVP to 22 “low-risk” non-university providers, with an official list of the 19 new providers with SVP authority released in January.
– The PIE News
February 26, 2014
Universities in Australia Heavily Reliant on Chinese Enrollments
More than 230,000 international students were enrolled in Australian higher education institutions at the end of last year and, amazingly, more than 40 percent of them were from China.
The extent to which China dominates Australia’s foreign student market is also evident when compared with the second largest source country, Malaysia, whose higher education students comprise a mere 7 percent of the total enrolled in universities.
This is a potential cause of some anxiety for Australian institutions, as a heavy reliance on just one country poses significant dangers for universities whose budgets have been boosted by the fees that the Chinese and other students pay. When their numbers have fallen in the past, several universities faced serious financial problems.
International student enrollments are also concentrated within a small number of fields of study. For each of the top 10 nationalities, and for all nationalities combined, management and commerce is the most popular higher education field, followed by engineering and related technologies, IT, and ‘society and culture’. Almost one in four foreign university students take one or more STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and more than half the international students enrolled in graduate research are in STEM-related programs where again Chinese dominate.
– University World News
February 5, 2014
Universities Not Meeting Student and Employer Needs
Cambodia currently has more than 100 universities, approximately 40 of which are public and 60 private. At over 200,000, tertiary enrollments are at an all-time high, however there is concern among stakeholders, including employers that institutions of higher education are not meeting the needs of students.
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s said recently that a significant gap exists between the quality and relevance of degrees taught in Cambodia, resulting in the system not producing the type of graduates required to meet workplace needs.
According to a 2011 UN Development Program report on future economic growth in Cambodia, graduates of the Kingdom’s universities are often “found to be lacking in the essential skills and practical experience required for employment in the field for which they were supposed to be qualified.”
Furthermore, data from UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics shows that Cambodia is lagging behind its ASEAN neighbors when it comes to overall funding of education. A comparison of the countries made in 2010 showed Cambodia spent the equivalent of 2.6 percent of its GDP on education, below Laos (2.8 percent), Thailand (3.8 percent) and Vietnam (6.3 percent). Most Western countries fall between 5.5 and 6.4 percent.
The lack of funding for higher education means teaching standards are often poor due to low salaries and inadequate infrastructure to train qualified professors. Currently, many of the country’s brightest minds are traveling overseas to pursue graduate training and not returning home.
– Phnom Penh Post
Feb 25, 2014
Chinese R&D Output Rises Rapidly
China is catching up as a top global player in research and development in technical higher education, according to the findings of the 600-page Science and Engineering Indicators 2014 report by the National Science Board.
“In the last two decades, China has been rapidly raising its research and development, or R&D, intensity by devoting more money to science and technology” the report states. “It is now the world’s third largest producer of peer-reviewed research articles after the European Union and United States.”
According to the report, out of the world’s 827,705 articles published in 2011, researchers in the combined 28 European Union countries produced 254,482 articles (31%), the United States 212,394 (26%), China 89,894 (11%) and Japan 47,106 (6%). Together, the four countries accounted for 73 percent of papers in science and engineering published in peer-reviewed journals in 2011.
Whereas the proportion of papers authored by scientists from the European Union, the U.S. and Japan declined marginally in the 10 years between 2001-11, those written by Chinese researchers grew at an average of about 15 percent annually during the same period; from 3 percent of global research output to 11 percent. Asia as a whole published more than twice as many engineering articles as the United States and 50 percent more than the European Union in 2011.
Interestingly, between 1991 and 2011, more than 63,000 Chinese students were awarded doctorates in science and engineering from leading research universities in the United States, accounting for 27 percent of 235,582 such awards to foreign students. Only 57 percent of U.S. doctorates were earned by U.S. citizens and permanent residents in 2011, with temporary visa holders obtaining the remainder.
– National Science Board
Record Number of Domestic and International Graduates Could Fuel Unemployment Rates in 2014
Graduate competition for jobs in China will be even tougher in 2014 than in 2013 as large numbers of Chinese students are expected to return from overseas studies, according to Chinese officials. Overseas graduates will join a record 7.27 million students who graduate in June from China’s own universities – an increase of almost 280,000 from last year’s record of 6.99 million, according to statistics from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.
Already 2013 was the “hardest year for finding a job,” according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, or CASS, which put the unemployment rate for new graduates as high as 17.6 percent in 2013. In 2012 it was pegged at approximately 10 percent six months after graduation – a figure that is not considered reliable as universities themselves report employment rates of their graduates up to six months after graduation.
Graduates from a rural background who are not studying at the best universities face a jobless rate of almost 30 percent compared to 12 percent in cities, according to the CASS survey released in late December.
An overhang estimated at 600,000 students who graduated last year and who have not yet found employment, will add to the number of graduate job seekers overall, according to official estimates. Meanwhile, the 2013 Blue Book of Global Talent, an annual report on Chinese studying abroad, said the percentage of Chinese students returning from overseas increased by over 46 percent in 2012.
– University World News
March 9, 2014
China’s Super Rich Prefer to Send Kids to UK for High School, U.S. for University
According to the findings of a recent survey of China’s high net worth consumers, Britain is the preferred destination for overseas study at the secondary level, while the U.S. fits the bill at the tertiary level.
According to the tenth annual release of the Hurun Best of the Best Awards and Hurun Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey in January, 29 percent of China’s wealthiest families prefer the UK as a destination to educate their children at the secondary level, slightly ahead of the U.S. at 26 percent, Canada at 12 percent, and Australia at 9 percent. At the undergraduate level, 36 percent favor the U.S., followed by the UK at 24 percent, Australia at 11 percent and Canada at 8 percent.
Millionaires send their children abroad to study at an average age of 18 years old, whereas among the ‘super rich,’ the average age is 16.
– Hurun Report
January 16, 2014
African Students Make Up 13% of Foreign Student Population
In 2012, Sudan was the second largest source of international students in India after Afghanistan. Totaling 4,759, Sudanese students outnumbered Americans who were the most numerous in 2011. Over 10,400 students from seven African countries now study in India, accounting for 13 percent of the entire foreign student population.
A report in The Telegraph newspaper cites “enhanced activities with African institutions in the last five years, projecting the country as an ideal destination for higher studies.”
After Sudan, the top sources of African students in 2012 were Nigeria (2,339), Kenya (1,038), Ethiopia (930), Uganda (654), Somalia (490), and South Africa (224). There has been particularly strong growth in recent years from Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Ethiopia.
The cost-effective nature of Indian institutions and the lack of adequate opportunities in some of the African nations are said to be the prime factors behind the enrollment surge to India.
Among Indian institutions, the University of Pune enrolled the highest number of foreign students. Out of 76,000 foreign students pursuing higher studies in India, 18,000 are currently enrolled at the University of Pune.
Pankaj Khare, former director of the international division at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), said that most African students pursue graduate programs as their countries did not have an adequate number of graduate institutions.
– The Telegraph
January 23, 2014
Government Pushes for Greater Economic Returns In Higher Education
Higher education institutions in New Zealand need to be more connected to the world through academic collaborations, cross-border education and business relationships in order to deliver long-term economic benefits the government has announced. The government’s blueprint clearly targets improving economic outcomes of the sector and encourages strong links between educators and industry.
New Zealand’s institutions of higher education are being encouraged to increase the economic value of onshore enrollments as well as offshore delivery by providing a “high quality education experience” for international students. And by focusing on “mutually beneficial education relationships with key partner countries,” so that institutions can create “enduring economic, social and cultural benefits” in key and emerging markets.
The strategy also identifies the increased movement of people and ideas between New Zealand’s HEIs and those of institutions in “key trading partners in Asia” as an indicator of success over the next five years. The strategy notes that the downward trend of international students since 2003 “has been arrested” and last year international education was the country’s fifth largest export valued at NZ$2.59 billion (US$2.23 billion) – nearly 70 percent coming from the tertiary education system.
To support institutional efforts the strategy says Education New Zealand will assist by recruiting international students, while also delivering “education products and services offshore through authoritative information, advice and services.”
– The PIE News
March 7, 2014
Universities Ready for Demographically Induced Cutbacks, Mergers and Closures
South Korea has unveiled plans to drastically cut the number of university places over the next decade because of a declining population. This comes at a time when higher education is already facing major restructuring including university closures and mergers.
Minister of Education Seo Nam-soo said in February that the government planned to cut 160,000 university places by 2023. The ministry calculates that there are 772,000 undergraduates in South Korea at present, with a “sharp” drop in high school graduates expected over the next decade, according to Seo.
According to the ministry, in 2013 there were 613,000 high school graduates, but by 2018 the number is projected to be only 549,000 and it is set to plummet by 2023 to 397,000 before recovering slightly to 409,000 by 2025.
Dongha Kim, a representative of the office of university planning and development at Yonsei University, said the proposed reforms had generated uncertainty in higher education. While it was clear that the government wanted to shrink the size of the sector, there was less clarity over what aspects of higher education it wanted to preserve and promote: “The government hasn’t defined what specific standards of quality education they are aiming for,” he told University World News.
According to the government’s three-stage plan for the coming decade, 40,000 university places will be cut by 2016. In the second stage 50,000 university places will be eliminated between 2017 and 2019, and finally 60,000 will go between 2020 and 2022. Officials believe this will lead to major staff cutbacks at universities outside major metro areas and the closure of smaller and less well-funded provincial institutions.
– University World News
March 9, 2014
Universities Struggle with Ph.D. Staff Requirements
Universities have complained that the requirement of the Ministry of Education and Training of having one lecturer with a Ph.D. and three with masters for every university major is untenable.
The ministry has forced universities to cease offering 207 majors because they do not satisfy requirements regarding teaching staff. The institutions, while admitting a lack of lecturers, have replied that there is no way to obtain enough lecturers as requested.
According to Nguyen Dinh Luan, president of Hanoi University, the ministry has told the university to stop training students majoring in Portuguese, Italian languages, accountancy and Vietnamese culture. “How can we find the lecturers with doctorates for Portuguese and Italian languages, if the two countries don’t train PhDs in the majors?” he said. Luan said the ministry was being too “rigid” when setting the same requirements for different majors.
– VietNamNet Bridge
February 11, 2014