WENR, June 2015: Asia Pacific


The Global Talent Pool Grew 45% Over the Last Decade, Led By China and India

The number of tertiary educated young people (25-34 years old) in OECD and G20 countries has grown by nearly 45 percent in the past decade and is expected to keep growing until 2030, reports the OECD.

If current trends continue, the contribution of OECD countries to the global talent pool will keep shrinking through 2030. China and India are expected to supply more than 60 percent of the G20 workforce with a qualification in science, technology, engineering and mathematics by 2030. In OECD countries, humanities, social science and education graduates dominate the global talent pool, although other G20 countries have a more balanced distribution of fields of study with a greater share of STEM graduates.

While, on average, only 14 percent of the young people in OECD and G20 countries had a tertiary qualification in 2005, more than 45 percent are expected to have a tertiary qualification in 2030 if the growth of the past decade is sustained. Non-OECD G20 countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and South Africa) have been the main drivers of the global growth in the past decade.

While in 2005 OECD countries represented 60 percent of the 94 million young people with tertiary education, by 2013 non-OECD G20 countries had closed the attainment gap and by 2030 the picture is expected to reverse completely: 70 percent of young people with tertiary education will come from non-OECD G20 countries.

Education in Focus [1]
April 2013

ASEAN Framework to Ease Credit Compatibility and Academic Mobility in SE Asia

Thailand’s Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment has announced a framework containing four principles that now apply to all institutions of higher education within the 10 ASEAN member countries – a move that aims to create equivalent education standards throughout the region and allow for university credits to be easily transferred.

The ASEAN Quality Assurance Framework in Higher Education is the new standard that all universities within ASEAN – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – now have to comply with. The framework has established four principles aimed at improving and coordinating standards in all higher-level institutions in ASEAN so they can achieve the same educational outcomes. The principles can however be adjusted to suit the learning environment of each country.

Despite the framework being newly introduced, credits cannot be transferred until the full integration of the ASEAN Economic Community, which is scheduled for December 31.

The Nation [2]
May 26, 2015


Chinese University Show Strength in Discipline Rankings

The annual QS World University Rankings by Subject [3], released in April showed that among 36 academic disciplines evaluated, seven Chinese universities made the global top 50. In total, 2,186 institutions across the globe were ranked in at least one subject. Mainland China was the fifth most represented country in the global rankings, and the top nation in Asia, followed by Japan.

Ben Sowter, head of research, said the success of China’s universities fits into a wider shift in the global balance of power, with Asian institutions emerging as genuine competitors to the U.S. and U.K., especially in the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The report also said that universities in Hong Kong displayed increased international competitiveness with a strong showing across subjects. There have been rises and falls across subjects for universities in China and Hong Kong, with not enough factors to identify broad trends in either direction, Sowter explained to Forbes. But the overall movement is clear.

“What manifests itself as a very clear trend, however, is that institutions in the region are much more strongly represented than last year, with 70 additional places across the subjects occupied by universities from China and Hong Kong,” he said.

Peking University led the pack of mainland schools within the top 50, followed by Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The University of Hong Kong (HKU) was the third best performing university in Asia, after the National University of Singapore and The University of Tokyo.

Forbes [4]
April 28, 2014


UGC Takes Action Against ‘Fake’ Universities

The Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani has stated in the Rajya Sabha, or Council of States, that the University Grants Commission is making an effort to deal with the issue of fake universities and has identified 21 fake universities across the country.

These universities are carrying out their functions in violation of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956. According to investigations by the University Grants Commission, or UGC, these 21 universities are running several undergraduate and graduate programs which are not accredited by either the state, central government, UGC or any other authority capable of granting accreditation.

In April, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry rejected the University Grants Commission’s proposal to clear 34 of 44 deemed universities from a blacklist of universities. The 44 universities were placed on the list in 2009 due to poor infrastructure and teaching standards. A government committee ruled that they should be prevented from awarding degrees. Only three of the universities voluntarily surrendered their deemed status, downgrading to institutes.

India Today [5]
April 29, 2015

Universities Resistant to National Credit Transfer System

Attempts to ensure that universities adopt the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) by September are meeting stiff resistance from universities. The system would make it easier for students to move between universities in India or to study abroad.

The University Grants Commission’s CBCS is designed to offer students greater choice in choosing courses under a common grading scheme and with less focus on end-of-semester examinations. Currently most Indian colleges and universities have their own exam-based grading. The varied grading and marking patterns makes it difficult for most students to transfer from one institution to another.

The UGC hopes CBCS will do away with these discrepancies to create a level playing field. It has set an adoption deadline beginning with the new academic year in September 2015. But the vast majority of colleges have not put in place the guidelines, which were issued last year. Only 18 central universities have made changes to implement the CBCS so far, according to University World News.

While the UGC move will eventually facilitate easier mobility for students within domestic institutions in India, it is hoped that the CBCS will also give them better leverage with foreign universities when seeking to take joint degrees that include transnational education. At present each institution that has a tie-up with a degree-awarding college abroad follows its own rules in conjunction with the awarding university.

University World News [6]
May 8, 2015

Number of Indian Students Overseas Outgrows Chinese Numbers

The growth rate in the number of students from India heading to universities abroad has outpaced China for the first time, according to a new report on Indian student mobility trends to the main English-speaking countries – the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

These five destination countries account for nearly 85 percent of outbound student mobility from India. Although overall student numbers from India heading abroad are still behind China – crossing the 300,000 mark in 2014, compared to more than 650,000 from China – big rises in Indian students going to the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand point to a revival of interest from India after a four to five year drop. This is a trend that will have implications on all receiving countries, according to a recently released report by New Delhi-based MM Advisory Services entitled Indian Students Mobility Report 2015: Latest trends from India and globally.

While China saw a growth rate of 8 percent in student numbers to the five destination countries between 2013 and 2014, for India the increase was just over 10 percent during the same period, according to the report which brings together statistics from government departments in the main receiving countries.

Among destination countries for international students overall, Australia led with growth of 12 percent between 2013 and 2014 compared to increases of 8.1 percent for the U.S. and 2.4 percent in the UK. Most of Australia’s rise was driven by growth in the number of students from India, which jumped 28 percent compared to 2013, according to the report.

University World News [7]
May 7, 2015


Government Earmarks Funding for ‘Soft Power’ Push in U.S. Universities

New government funding has been allocated this year to support Japan’s ‘soft power’ programs in foreign universities, a move viewed by experts as aimed at countering the growing cultural influence of China and South Korea internationally.

During his official visit to the U.S. in April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited three universities – Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University – reaffirming during his visit to MIT his government’s plan to fund university chairs for professors of Japanese studies.

Japan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has announced it will extend some US$15 million this fiscal year starting in April to support Japanese studies in nine selected U.S. universities, including MIT, Georgetown University and others still to be announced. This follows a Japanese endowment of US$5 million to Columbia University, New York, announced in January, to fund a professor of Japanese politics and foreign policy – the first such donation to a U.S. university in 40 years.

University World News [8]
May 1, 2015


NYT Article Leads to Raid on Alleged Mega-Diploma Mill

Following an investigation by The New York Times into an alleged global fake degrees business, Pakistan law enforcement agencies have raided the offices of Karachi-based IT company Axact and have also begun probing the company’s accounts. During the raid, records, computers and electronic devices were seized for forensic investigation.

At a press conference on Wednesday, the interior minister said: “I have ordered an inquiry into the NYT allegations; it is a sensitive issue and it will take some time to reveal the facts.”

In its investigation published on May 17, The New York Times [9] suggested the Pakistan-based Axact company ran a “vast education empire” selling online degrees and diplomas from a large number of schools, colleges and universities which apparently did not actually exist, charging US$350 to US$4,000 for various diplomas and degrees.

According to The New York Times the software company headquartered in Karachi, and employing more than 2,000 staff, reaped tens of millions of dollars from clients globally in an education business that appears to span at least 370 websites.

University World News [10]
May 21, 2015


Government Discourages University Enrollment

Leaders in Singapore are trying to discourage students from enrolling at universities, a recent Bloomberg article has reported. Speeches by government leaders and articles in local newspapers focus on the value of apprenticeships, and how people can earn a lot of money without a university degree.

While Singapore has invested considerably in its universities, officials fear a worker shortage in many industries. The article notes that many parents seem to remain intent on their children earning a degree. Six out of 10 Singaporeans between 25 and 29 years old have completed tertiary education, the highest [11] proportion in the world and just ahead of South Korea, according to the latest World Bank figures from 2010.

Under Singapore’s earn-and-learn program, technical school leavers would receive on-the-job training while they study for an industry qualification, according to the government’s budget for this fiscal year. Each Singaporean who is placed in the program will receive a S$5,000 bonus. A pilot plan [12] next year will place some graduates from the technical institutes in apprenticeships in sectors including aerospace, logistics and information technology.

Bloomberg [13]
May 3, 2015

South Korea

Aberdeen University to Open South Korea Campus

Aberdeen University is to become the first British higher education institution to open a campus in South Korea.

The university’s new campus will specialize in teaching engineering relating to the offshore oil and gas industries and is being created with “establishment funding” from the South Korean government. Seth Kunin, Aberdeen’s vice-principal, said: “As part of its economic strategy, the South Korean government is keen to develop its offshore industry, and it is a testament to the academic expertise that exists here that we were chosen as a partner in this project.”

Aberdeen’s South Korean campus is due to open in September next year in the Gwangyang Bay Free Economic Zone in Hadong District in the south of the country. Mr. Kunin said that it would provide new opportunities for students at Aberdeen and help raise the university’s profile in “a key region of the world.”

The Independent [14]
May 17, 2015