WENR, October 2015: Asia Pacific
Japan and China are Top International Education Contenders for US Parents
According to a recent HSBC survey, sixty-five percent of parents in the U.S. would consider sending their child abroad for all or part of their university education, with Japan and China seen as offering the highest quality education available outside the U.S.
When it comes to study abroad, 41 percent of U.S. parents would consider sending their children abroad for a semester or partial course of study at either undergraduate or postgraduate level, while 36 percent would consider full-time enrollment in an international college. Globally, an average of 44 percent and 53 percent of parents respectively would consider these types of international opportunities.
The Learning for Life report also examined parent sentiment on the cost of higher education. According to the findings, American parents are willing to pay an average of 27% more to provide their children with an international college education. In reality, with the cost of an undergraduate education (tuition, fees and living expenses) for a U.S. student averaging $52,366 in China and $85,960 in the United States, American parents could save 39% by choosing China for a period of study abroad.
September 23, 2015
What a New PM Means for Australia’s Higher Education
The overthrow of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier this month has led to jubilation on the nation’s university campuses. Faced with a more pragmatic prime minister, and a new education minister, vice-chancellors hope the reconstructed conservative government will reverse its planned cuts to higher education spending.
In interviews last Monday morning, new premier Malcolm Turnbull signaled that the government would review its higher education proposals. Having unseated Abbott in a swift coup on 14 September, the former communications minister announced last Sunday that his would be a government focused on the future.
Turnbull had already indicated mid-September that the proposed deregulation of university fees might be reviewed. Students enrolling in future years were facing the prospect of finishing their degrees with debts of more than US$100,000, but unless Turnbull reverses the spending cuts, vice-chancellors will have few other ways of generating revenue.
The group most unhappy at Abbott’s political execution was the Labor Party and its leader Bill Shorten, who was expecting to become Australia’s 30th prime minister following the next election. As part of his plans to show how inadequate the Abbott government was, Shorten announced last Monday that a Labor government would guarantee funding for university teaching and learning. Speaking at Monash University, his alma mater, Shorten said Labor’s education policy would result in another 20,000 students completing university every year – and those from disadvantaged backgrounds would not miss out.
– University World News
September 21, 2015
Overseas Education Still in High Demand for Chinese Students
The recent slowdown in China’s economy may have dented commodity markets across the globe, but stakeholders in the international education sector say demand for an overseas education goes untouched. The government in China has recently downgraded its growth predictions from 7.3% to 7.2%, its lowest in 25 years, and devalued the renminbi to the lowest value it’s seen in 20 years.
However, agents and educators say parents have enough secured savings to continue pursuing international education both at home and abroad. In 2012, China accounted for almost 20% of total mobile students worldwide sending 712,000 tertiary students overseas. Indeed, demand for English-medium international schools remains insatiable, according to Richard Gaskell, director for International Schools, ISC Research (part of The International School Consultancy).
“An international school sector is developing rapidly within China’s private school market, with the dual curriculum school model currently the most popular,” he said. Wealthier local families are sending their children to these new schools to give them a pathway into American, UK or Australian higher education, he added. “Even with the economic downturn, this demand is sufficient to create opportunities for school operators to move into, or expand within China.”
– The PIE News
September 21, 2015
Japan’s Opposition Between Humanities and Sciences
More than 50 Japanese universities are to close or downsize their humanities and social science departments after education minister Hakuban Shimomura urged the country’s higher education institutions to offer a “more practical, vocational education that better anticipates the needs of society”. The move has caught the attention of academics across the world, prompting many to speak out in opposition.
“It’s shocking,” says Sophie Coloumbeau, an English lecturer at Cardiff University. “The decision implies an extremely narrow, shortsighted and, I would say, mistaken view of what society’s needs are.”
British humanities departments, already thought by many to be underfunded, are also facing problems of government perception. Education secretary Nicky Morgan raised tensions last year with her assertion that “the subjects that keep young people’s options open and unlock the door to all sorts of careers are the Stem subjects”. The comment angered academics across the country, including Coloumbeau. “Morgan’s statement, and others like it, set up an unproductive opposition between the humanities and sciences,” she says.
Various higher education funding mechanisms in the UK have come in for criticism in recent years and the Research Excellence Framework has been accused of bias against the humanities. The philosophy department at Middlesex University was threatened with closure later that year. A Save Middlesex Philosophy campaign was launched, along with a Facebook group that amassed more than 10,000 members, but the department was relocated and downsized in 2013. Martin Daunton, head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Cambridge University, argues that philosophy and science are intrinsically linked – and must remain so.
– The Guardian
Teachers Begin Negotiations with Ministry of Education
Following two months of continuous action, Nepalese teachers have been invited by the Ministry of Education to discuss crucial issues such as the public education system and rebuilding works after the earthquakes.
The Minister of Education, Ms. Chitra Lekha Yadav, agreed to meet with representatives of the Confederation of Nepalese Teachers (CNT), led by the two national Education International (EI) affiliates, the Nepal Teachers’ Association and the Nepal National Teachers’ Association, in Kathmandu on September 8th, a day that marks both Nepal’s Education Day and World Literacy Day.
During earlier labor action, teachers were not given the chance to cooperate and participate in ministry-related works, with their role restricted to teaching in classrooms. Nonetheless, during the latter part of their activism, a series of sit-in programs were held in front of the Ministry of Education, the Department of Education and District Education Offices nationwide. This perseverance in their action has led the unions to the re-establishment of negotiations with the Ministry.
The teachers’ demands are related to the status of public education after the promulgation of the national constitution, the implementation of agreements signed between teacher organizations and the Ministry, as well as the rebuilding of the education sector after the devastating earthquakes which struck the country in April this year.
– Education International
September 22, 2015
Universities Serving Singapore
The key performance indicators (KPIs) of universities in the Republic should not be about how high their rankings are, but how well they serve Singapore. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this on Friday (Sep 18) at a reunion dinner to mark the 30th anniversary of the pioneer batch of graduates from the former Nanyang Technological Institute, now known as the Nanyang Technological University.
Mr. Lee added that there are many challenges ahead as globalization changes the way people work and live. He said the next phase of nation building continues to require engineering expertise, whether it is for upgrading infrastructure or turning Singapore’s vision of a Smart Nation into reality.
He said universities in the Republic provide a good foundation and that NTU will continue to play an important role in educating Singaporeans and giving them a good foundation to launch their careers.
– Channel News Asia
September 26, 2015
South Korean University Evaluations Spark Discontent
As South Korea’s Ministry of Education announced the result of its national evaluation of universities last month many universities are dissatisfied with the results and most oppose the ministry’s reform plans. Since the end of last year, the ministry has been carrying out the Structural Reform Evaluation to assess the quality of 298 higher education institutions. However major organizations including the Korea Federation of National University Professor Associations, Korea Professor Union, Professors for Democracy, and the Korea Association of University Professors have spoken out against the evaluation process and its results.
This year’s evaluation, carried out by specially constituted evaluation teams independent from the ministry, is the first phase, with recommended cuts of around 47,000. But the universities – and not just those in the Grade D and E group – are criticizing what they say is a poor evaluation. The evaluations guidelines were changed four times after the first announcement, leading to widespread confusion within universities.
Legislation problems have also muddied the process. The assembly will try to discuss the bill after October. Meanwhile professors’ groups say there is currently no legal basis for the evaluation or the cuts in student enrollment quotas being demanded by the ministry.
– University World News
September 25, 2015
Three Tier Ranking for Vietnamese Universities
Vietnam will rank all universities in one of three tiers from October as part of the education ministry’s bid to improve quality at each level. The top tier will be designated ‘research’ universities, the second tier ‘applied’ and the lowest tier ‘professional and vocational’.
The ranking criteria will include the ratio of undergraduate to graduate courses, the ratio of faculty and staff with PhDs, and proportion of full-time faculty staff compared to part-time faculty staff. Subject and training disciplines will also be taken into account, according to Vice-minister for Education and Training Bui Van Ga. Each (group) will be aiming for higher national standards, he explained at a Vietnam-UK Education Cooperation Forum in London on September 11.
Evaluations will be undertaken by an independent quality assurance agency with prior approval by the Ministry of Education and Training. The idea of stratification was first proposed in 2012 by Martin Hayden, a professor from Southern Cross University in Australia, and Lam Quang Thiep, a former director of higher education in the Ministry of Education and Training, in a report they wrote for the World Bank on reform of Vietnam’s higher education. Vietnam has some 207 universities, 214 three-year professional colleges and more than 1,000 two-year vocational schools with shorter programs.
– University World News
September 26, 2015