WENR, April 2015: Asia Pacific


Private Universities to Pick Up Capacity Slack

Afghan authorities announced recently that more than 130,000 students, a third of them female, had passed exams to enter university in the upcoming academic year, bringing into focus Afghanistan’s challenges with rebuilding its education system.

With state institutions struggling to cope with increasing demand, private universities have filled a gap for the growing number of students gaining the marks required in the Kankor admissions examination. Usman Babari, the Interim Minister for Higher Education, said while announcing the Kankor results that state facilities cannot entertain all of the successful candidates.

“Out of the successful candidates, 92,000 students will be given admission in state universities and institutions for higher and bachelor level studies, while around 40,000 students will be referred to the private sector,” he said.

World Bulletin [1]
March 20, 2015


International Enrollments Grew 10% in 2014

Australian government figures show that enrollments of international students rose 10 percent last year, signaling an end to the post-2009 nosedive in overseas student numbers.

English-language colleges led the charge in 2013-14, with numbers skyrocketing 27 percent, and while the growth has stabilized to a more sustainable 9 percent this year, many students are proceeding to further study in vocational or higher education — suggesting big surges ahead for these sectors.

Australian international education is still well short of the heady days of 2009, when overseas student numbers peaked at more than 630,000. But enrollments have returned to 2007 levels, totaling about 455,000 last year. The new figures follow data from February showing that the revenue earned from international students had already overtaken 2009 earnings. International students contributed A$16.6 billion (US$13.1 billion) to the Australian economy last year, up from its previous peak of A$16.1 billion (US$12.7 billion).

Education watchers believe that India will be the main driver of enrollments moving forward, attracted by streamlined visa processing and work rights reform, in addition to changes in key competitor countries. Most notably, the UK has seen an incredibly abrupt decline in enrollments from India over the last two years after a swath of immigration and work-rights reforms.

The Australian [2]
March 25, 2015


U.S. Continues to Top the List of Study Destinations for the Children of China’s ‘Super Rich’

The U.S. is the most popular study abroad destination at the higher education level for China’s millionaires, according to the 11th annual Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey. The UK remains the country of choice at the secondary level.

The top five destinations for undergraduate and graduate study were the U.S., the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the survey by luxury publishing and events group Hurun Report [3] shows. This is the first year New Zealand has entered the top five, overtaking Switzerland.

Survey respondents also nominated their favorite study abroad education agencies, with BE Education [4] voted the best high-end overseas study brand. Shinyway [5] was voted China’s best education agency for consumers heading to the U.S.

The report found that 80 percent of wealthy families in China now intend to send their children overseas. The average age for millionaires to send their children abroad for study is 16, while the average for billionaires is 18. Now in its 11th year, the report is based on a survey of 376 Mainland Chinese ‘millionaires,’ each worth RMB10m (US$1.6m) and with an average wealth of $6.8 million.

The PIE News [6]
March 4, 2015

China to Focus Overseas Recruitment Efforts on Asia

China will focus its student recruitment efforts on growth markets in neighboring countries, with government statistics showing growth in student numbers from India and Pakistan, and stagnation in other markets. Meanwhile, the number of outbound students is on the rise.

The total number of foreign students in China reached 377,054 in 2014, up 5.8 percent versus 2013, Ministry of Education figures show. However, numbers have stagnated in some traditionally strong markets including South Korea, China’s top source country, while the number coming from the Americas has fallen by 2.5 percent. India was the seventh largest source of students coming to China, sending 13,578 (up 15 percent) students, while Pakistan rose from tenth to eight, sending 13,360 students.

“The number of students from some countries, such as South Korea, Japan and the U.S., remains stable or has started to drop,” Tian Lulu, an official at the Ministry of Education, said at a forum held by the China Education Association for International Exchanges in Beijing.

“But some neighboring countries, including India and Pakistan, are becoming emerging sources for international students in China,” she continued. “Against such a backdrop, we are considering providing more preferential policies to some border provinces and regions to help schools and other educational institutions recruit and accept more students from neighboring countries.”

The Ministry announced a new scholarship in March for students from the countries that will be part of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road projects [7], which aim to increase investment and trade with ASEAN and central Asian nations.

While almost 60 percent of inbound students came from within Asia, the biggest proportional increase in incoming students came from China’s smallest source region, Australasia. Students from within the region were up nearly a third to 6,272 students, while inbound numbers from Africa were up by almost a quarter to 41,677. Meanwhile, nearly 460,000 Chinese students studied abroad in 2014 – 11 percent more than the previous year, as growth returns to 2012 levels after a slowdown in 2013.

The PIE News [8]
March 27, 2015


Chinese University to Open Japan Campus

Beijing Language and Culture University will open a campus in Tokyo in April, paving the way for Japanese and other students to earn a Chinese degree without studying in China. The prestigious Beijing institution will open its Tokyo college with the aim of tapping into growing demand for Chinese language learning in Japan, school officials said. The Tokyo campus, which will target Japanese and non-Japanese high school graduates and exchange students in Japan, is the university’s second overseas branch, following one in Bangkok.

The officials said the university chose to open a branch in Japan because it wanted to tap the Japanese market and offer the same level of education as the main campus at a time when Japanese enrollment in China is declining.

Japan Times [9]
February 26, 2015

New Admissions Procedures at 2 Top Universities

The University of Tokyo and Kyoto University are scheduled to introduce recommendation-based admissions, as well as so-called admission office exams based on interviews and essays for the first time this fall.

Taken ahead of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry’s planned reform of college and university entrance examinations, the move by the two universities reflects a sense of crisis that they will not be able to survive amid international competition if they stick to conventional knowledge-based exams.

“We want students who are able to present problems by themselves and are capable of taking on those problems,” University of Tokyo Vice-President Hiroo Fukuda said at a study meeting in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, in early January.

The Yomiuri Shimbun [10]
March 8, 2015


Macau Becomes a Magnet for Mainland Chinese Students

Macau is best known for gambling and casinos, but it has also been quietly developing as a higher education hub in recent years. When the city returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1999, it was home to two universities and two tertiary institutions. Since then the total has more than doubled to 10, in a city that is home to just 600,000 people. Perhaps not surprisingly, many college and universities places are being taken up by students from mainland China.

While undergraduate applications from China fell at several Hong Kong universities last year, the reverse was true in the former Portuguese enclave. The Macau University of Science and Technology, for example, received about 7,000 applications from China last year – a 30 percent increase from 2013. Now close to half of its 7,500 undergraduate students come from China, with hospitality and tourism programs proving particularly attractive.

Macau aims to develop higher education as a major pillar of its economy and is fast catching up with Hong Kong on that front, says university president Liu Liang. Although they may not place as highly as Hong Kong in international rankings, tertiary institutions in Macau appeal to Chinese students on other levels. Lower fees and cost of living are major considerations. Mainland Chinese students pay the same fees as locals, unlike in Hong Kong where fees are four times as expensive for Mainland Chinese as they are for locals.

South China Morning Post [11]
March 13, 2015

New Zealand

International Enrollments Booming

In the first eight months of last year, the number of foreign students in New Zealand jumped 12 percent on the back of a 60 percent leap in the number of Indian students. Their annual spending reached an estimated NZ$2.8 billion (US$2.1 billion) and the sector is New Zealand’s fifth largest export earner.

It is all good news for the government’s goal of growing the annual value of international students to $5 billion by 2025. Education New Zealand, the organization charged with promoting New Zealand as an education destination, figure the 2025 goal will require about 40,000 more international students.

Grant McPherson, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand, says China is New Zealand’s biggest source of students – it provides more than a quarter of New Zealand’s overseas students – but changing demographics mean that by 2025 it will have fewer young people, and New Zealand will need to look to countries like Indonesia and Vietnam for international students.

“Just about all of the modelling that we’ve done in terms of student attraction, you’re looking at around 140,000 students in New Zealand and that’s quite consistent to the peak of about 10 to 15 years ago, which was up around the 120-130,000.”

Radio New Zealand [12]
March 22, 2015


8 UK Law Schools Dropped by Singapore Bar

Law degrees from eight universities in England will no longer be recognized for admission to the Singapore Bar, according to an announcement by the Singapore Ministry of Law in February, in a move seen by some as protecting graduates from Singapore’s own universities in an over-supplied market.

On the recommendation of the Singapore Institute of Legal Education, Singapore’s Ministry of Law said in late February that the universities of Exeter, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and the School of Oriental and African Studies University of London will be dropped from the list of 19 recognized UK universities, starting from the 2016-17 intake.

There would be no change to the ten Australian, four U.S., two Canadian and two New Zealand universities on the list. The review follows the recommendations of a special committee on the supply of lawyers, which in 2013 noted the rising numbers of Singaporeans going to law schools overseas and then returning to practice in Singapore.

The aim of the review was to ensure “quality control,” the committee said. It proposed that the list of UK law schools be “reviewed and updated to better reflect the current rankings of UK law schools,” revealing that it had used international university rankings lists to cull universities in a bid to manage the supply of legal professionals despite a stated aspiration to becoming a hub for international legal services in Asia.

The Ministry of Law said the total number of Singaporeans studying law in the UK had more than doubled between 2010 and last year, when it was 1,142. Another 386 Singaporeans were studying law in Australia, the second-largest destination for law programs.

University World News [13]
February 27, 2015

South Korea

Korean Students Seek Value Closer to Home as Overseas Student Numbers Decline

Data released by Korea’s Ministry of Education early in 2015 show a three-year slide in the number South Korean students studying abroad. The Ministry identified 219,543 Koreans studying abroad in 2014. That number was 3.3 percent below the 2013 figure. While the number of outbound students has declined, some destinations have lost favor and a few closer to home have gained appeal.

The Korean press recently reported that on aggregate students going abroad in 2014 expended the lowest sum on out-of-country tuition in nearly a decade. Of the Korean students still going abroad for college, an increasing number are staying closer to home in Asia. Why? One possibility is that the Korean middle class appears to have become increasingly price sensitive to the once favored high-tuition countries.

This evolution in Korea’s student mobility has also been influenced by demographic changes that have taken nearly two decades for their impact to fully emerge. In the years since 2003 there has been a steady decline in the pool of college-age citizens in the general population, a pattern that looks set to continue and which will likely result in even fewer Koreans traveling abroad for higher education.

A development reflecting Korea’s commitment to globalization may also further decrease the number of its outbound students. Plans for the Incheon Global Campus [14] (IGC) include a university city accommodating up to 10 foreign institutions. There are four institutions presently operating in the IGC – the State University of New York, the University of Utah, George Mason University and Ghent University.

University World News [15]
February 27, 2015


Ministry Announces University Merger Plans

Taiwan’s Ministry of Education has warned universities that they need to prepare for shrinking enrollments due to falling birth rates in the country. The ministry is working on plans to merge or close universities, predicting that 12 of the 51 public universities in the nation and 20 to 40 of the 101 private universities will be merged or closed by 2023.

The ministry estimates that student numbers will drop by a third by 2023 after years of low birth rates, putting tremendous pressure on universities and colleges as revenue drops. The ministry plans, which were announced in late March, call for cutting college enrollment quotas by 40 percent by 2023, while encouraging school mergers. If a university fails to fill 70 percent of its enrollment quota for two consecutive years, the quota will be cut automatically, according to government officials.

While the ministry wants to encourage mergers of public universities, it would allow private closures to follow a natural course, only forcing closures in cases in which the universities are unable to meet ministry educational standards. As private schools generally have lower enrollment rates than public schools, they are expected to be hit the hardest by falling student numbers.

Taipei Times [16]
March 28, 2015