WENR, March 2015: Asia Pacific
International Enrollments Continue to Boom
According to data released recently by Australia Education International, year-to-date (YTD) enrollments for November 2014 were up by 12.3 percent versus November 2013, with a total of 583,714 enrollments by full-fee paying international students in Australia on a student visa.
By comparison, the average YTD November growth rate for enrollments over the last 10 years is 5.4 percent. There were 347,591 new enrollments (commencements) YTD November 2014, representing a 17.4 percent increase over the same period in 2013 and suggesting continued near-term growth in overall enrollments. This compares with the average YTD November growth rate for commencements of 6.1 percent per year over the preceding 10 years.
The largest volume of enrollments and volume of commencements were in higher education (42.8 percent and 31.3 percent respectively). Enrollments and commencements in the sector increased by 8.6 percent and 14.7 percent respectively on 2013 figures for the same period. China and India accounted for 36.3 percent and 10.5 percent respectively of enrollments by international students in higher education.
International Students Worth US$13 Billion to the Australian Economy
International students contributed a record A$16.6 billion (US$13 billion) to the Australian economy in 2014, up from a high of $16.1bn in 2009, with figures expected to continue growing as the lower Australian dollar and fast-tracked visas attract increasing numbers of students to Australia.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the numbers underlined the importance of international education to the economy. It is Australia’s fourth-largest export industry behind iron ore, which contributed more than $80bn to the economy in 2014, coal ($40bn) and natural gas ($20bn) according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
In 2014, there were nearly 600,000 students enrolled in Australian education institutions – mostly universities – generating about 100,000 jobs nationally. The sector started regaining ground in 2013 after it was hammered by a “perfect storm” of negative factors in 2009, including historically high dollar, complex and expensive visa arrangements, racially motivated attacks of Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney, increased competition from the U.S., Britain and Canada and a proliferation of sham colleges.
– The Australian
February 4, 2015
University College London to Close Branch Campus
University College London (UCL) announced in February that it would shut the campus that it had opened to much fanfare five years ago in South Australia’s capital, Adelaide. UCL established the campus as a school of energy and resources to become part of the South Australian government’s strategy to create a university hub in the city. The government promised to provide A$4.5 million (US$3.5 million) in support over the first seven years, while Santos, a leading oil and gas producer, offered A$10 million over five years.
This made the UCL campus the only international university offshoot in Adelaide to attract corporate investment. In 2011, UCL signed a A$10 million deal with the giant mining company BHP Billiton to set up an Institute for Sustainable Resources in London and an International Energy Policy Institute in Adelaide. That agreement expires next year. The university has 100 local and foreign masters of science students enrolled in Adelaide and the campus has been described as “research-led with a strong emphasis on postgraduate education and training in which teaching is informed by the research being undertaken by staff.” UCL says it will honor its commitment to the students.
In its announcement about closing the campus, UCL said “academic and financial risk and a change to its international strategy” were responsible for the decision. But Mathew King, a local writer familiar with the situation, says the real reason was the university’s “utter dissatisfaction when Labor Premier Jay Weatherill walked away from the project.”
A report on the closure by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education says UCL’s other branch campus in Doha, Qatar, “appears not to be affected by this change in strategic direction, nor is its partnership with the Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan.”
UCL is not alone in abandoning Adelaide. In 2010, Britain’s Cranfield University closed its campus after signing a memorandum of understanding with Adelaide University and the University of South Australia in 2007 when it officially opened the Cranfield University Development Centre. In 2011, the global education provider Kaplan announced plans to accredit its online courses in partnership with the University of Adelaide. Kaplan expected to admit 5,000 domestic and international students with many more enrolled online but the deal collapsed.
The one success in terms of hanging on is the branch office of Carnegie Mellon University which is still operating despite years of trial. The Pittsburgh-based university set up its H John Heinz III College in the city center in 2006 as the first U.S. higher education institution to establish a campus in Australia. Carnegie Mellon, too, has struggled to attract students and appears to have lost millions of dollars. But it is reported to have become financially viable for the first time last year, nearly a decade after it opened.
– University World News
February 20, 2015
U.S. to Send 1,000 Academics a Year to India
The United States is to send 1,000 academics a year to India after President Barack Obama, on his recent trip to India, firmed up education-exchange initiatives proposed last year during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s U.S. visit.
The Indian government-sponsored Global Initiative of Academic Networks, or GIAN, hopes to help students across streams get exposure to the best faculties from abroad. As per the proposal, at least 1,000 U.S. academics will be invited and hosted every year to teach on stints of varying length in centrally funded A grade universities and colleges in India. According to officials of the Indian Ministry of Human Resource Development details of the program are still being finalized but emphasis is being placed on offering a good package to attract the best talent.
– University World News
January 30, 2015
Billionaire Puts Pressure on Government to Open India’s Education System to Foreign Universities
G P Hinduja, co-chairman of the Hinduja Group, a UK-based conglomerate valued at US$25 billion, has urged India’s government to pass legislation allowing foreign providers to establish universities in the country. In a letter to Union HRD Minister, Smriti Irani, Hinduja said that to improve the quality of higher education in India, international universities must be allowed to set up campuses.
“The Hinduja group has been approached by several prestigious educational institutions for working together here,” he said in the letter. “We are willing to do so, but a policy framework is needed for foreign institutions to operate.”
“There is interest from foreign universities who sense the demand and the potential,” wrote Hinduja. “There is a felt need to bring in legislation to allow credible and high ranked foreign universities and institutions to bring in their academic and research culture into our education system.”
The “Foreign Education Providers Bill” proposed in 2010 which would open doors to foreign providers has been stuck in limbo for the last five years. Government policy currently does not allow foreign universities to set up a base in the country. Rules require foreign education providers to set up campuses as non-profit companies.
– The PIE News
February 18, 2015
Japanese Universities Intensify Recruitment Efforts in India
Japanese universities are looking to give their American and European counterparts a run for their money when it comes to recruiting from India, reports The Hindu. Their unique selling proposition: study in a top notch university in Japan for nearly half the cost of studying in the West.
And backing their efforts are a clutch of top Japanese brands, such as Sony, Canon, Toshiba and Mitsubishi, which are sweetening the offer by promising placements in Japan or in their Indian subsidiaries. More than 1,200 Japanese companies are operating in India today, but there are currently only 500 Indian students attending Japanese universities.
As a next step, 10 Japanese universities, led by the University of Tokyo along with Japanese businesses, will be holding a series of Japan Education summits in India. “We intend to double the number of Indian students in Japan from the current level of 500 in the next five years. Today even, Nepal and Bangladesh have more students in Japan than India,” Miki Matsuo, Project Coordinator, Japan International Cooperation Agency, told BusinessLine on the sidelines of the Japan Education Summit.
The new initiative gained momentum with the ratification of the Tokyo Declaration for Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September last year.
– The Hindu
February 4, 2015
Performance in University Admissions Examinations Drops Precipitously
Schools and universities across New Zealand saw an unexpected slump in pass rates on university admissions examinations. Results released in February show that only 58 percent of students who last year completed Year 13 – the final year of schooling – achieved a university entry score, down from 70 percent in 2013.
The drop means only 20,578 teenagers gained the qualification generally required by universities and polytechnics for entry to degree programs this year – about 4,400 fewer than normal. Universities are now dealing with hundreds of applications from students who narrowly missed out on gaining university entrance and are hoping to be accepted anyway. Schools are also helping former students gain enough credits to get over the bar.
The 2014 cohort was the first to face a revised university entrance standard, aimed at ensuring students are better prepared for higher education studies. The standard is slightly tougher than before and requires more credits. Previously, students had to get 14 credits in each of two subjects, but last year’s students had to get 14 credits in each of three. Nonetheless, when the New Zealand Qualifications Authority announced the changes to university entrance in 2011, it predicted a minimal impact on the pass rate – not the big fall that has occurred.
– University World News
February 6, 2015
Spending on Overseas Education Hits 9-Year Low
Spending by South Korean students on international study has hit a nine-year low after falling 14 percent in the last year to US$3.7 billion. Not surprisingly this has been perpetrated by declining numbers of internationally bound Korean students, down 3.3 percent in the year to April 2014, according to Ministry of Education statistics, and marking the third consecutive year of falling outbound numbers.
The number of Koreans students overseas has dropped in all the major receiving countries, most notably in the UK which has seen a 50 percent decline over the last three years. The number going to Australia dropped by nearly a quarter to 14,139 in the same period. Meanwhile, the number heading to the U.S. – the most popular destination for Korean students abroad – fell from 72,295 in 2013 to 70,628 in 2014. Education New Zealand recently published its own data on incoming international students, which showed falling Korean numbers across all sectors of New Zealand’s education industry, despite notable increases from other markets.
A declining birth rate and a shrinking middle class, a drive by the Korean government to retain students and expand the delivery of education domestically, and Korea’s desire to become a globally competitive education destination, particularly for English language training, have all contributed to the decline in outbound students, according to industry watchers.
– The PIE News
February 6, 2015
Four Universities Barred from Enrolling International Students
Four universities will be banned from accepting foreign students for one year, starting with the fall semester as punishment for poorly managing international students.
According to the Ministry of Justice, they are: Hansei University, Jeonbuk Science College, Gyeongnam National University of Science and Technology, and Taegu Science University. Those universities will not be able to issue visas for foreign students including freshmen, transfer students and those for language training programs. Foreign students who are currently enrolled will not be affected.
This move follows the evaluation by the justice and education ministries of all colleges that had foreign students in 2014 under the foreign student certification system which was introduced in 2011.
– Korea Times
February 16, 2015
Taiwan to Reform University Entrance Exam in a Bid to Promote Innovation
Taiwan’s annual university admissions exams took place in February for tens of thousands of students looking to get into top schools. But the exams that depend exclusively on memorization of high school class content are in their final years as officials worry they put Taiwan at a competitive disadvantage, reports Voice of America.
To improve the country’s prospects for innovation, the Ministry of Education will roll out a new screening process for university students so top schools can accept more enterprising people. The new system, effective from 2018, will include personal interviews that let high school graduates show they excelled outside class, not just memorized material as taught.
The education ministry plans to replace today’s standardized written exams between 2018 and 2021. That would make Taiwan an outlier in East Asia, where university enrollment systems still rely heaviest on tests of memorization. The ministry said Taiwan will switch to a Western-style scheme that rewards extracurricular work and activities.
– Voice of America
February 02, 2015
Graduate Unemployment Remains High as Colleges Upgrade to Universities and Quality is Questioned
Dozens of junior colleges have been upgraded to universities in recent years, but the training quality has not matched the expansion, according to some. Observers believe the recent upgrades are contributing to Vietnam’s current high unemployment rate, according to a recent article in VietNamNet Bridge.
According to data from the ministry of education, 133 universities and junior colleges were upgraded from junior colleges and intermediate schools (two-year training), respectively, in 2007-2013. Of these, 59 institutions were upgraded to junior colleges, and 49 to universities. There are currently 433 universities and junior colleges in Vietnam, and of these 347 are public and 86 private.
Quality of instruction at the upgraded schools has been called into question by observers who say schools have failed to invest in facilities and teaching staff. Recent ministry investigations have found that many schools do not have enough lecturers with minimum academic qualifications, while many others were found “borrowing” the names of lecturers from other schools.
– VietNamNet Bridge
January 30, 2015