China: New law restricts foreign entities’ China operations; higher ed impact uncertain
In a crackdown on foreign influence, China passed a law in late April to exert more control over the work of over 7,000 foreign organizations operating in the country. Nongovernment groups from other countries, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, are now required to find an official Chinese sponsor and register with the police. The new law is expected to restrict any programs or initiatives that are considered politically sensitive, and will halt the work of organizations that cannot find a sponsor. The law’s potential impact on the higher education sector – including international partnerships – is unclear.
The New York Times 
April 28, 2016
Australia: Visa program simplified to attract greater numbers of students from China
Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull recently outlined a pilot visa program designed to make it easier for Chinese students to pursue education in Australia. Under the Simplified Student Visa Framework, the number of student visa categories will be reduced from eight to two, enrollment and financial requirements will be streamlined, and applications can be completed in Mandarin. The program comes on the heels of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, enacted last December, and is part of Australia’s effort to increase its share of internationally mobile students from China. The U.S. attracts the lion’s share of those students, but U.S. institutions saw their share of Chinese enrollments decline in 2015.
The PIE News 
April 20, 2016
Vietnam: Quality of higher education hurts local graduates
With graduate unemployment on the rise, Vietnam’s national assembly has elected a new Minister of Education and Training. In the last three months of 2015, 225,500 Vietnamese bachelor and master’s degree holders were unemployed, despite an overall improvement in employment rates. Observers fault the low quality of higher education resulting from decades of “breakneck massification.” The new education minister, Phung Xuan Nha, attended Manchester University in the 1990s and is expected to focus heavily on internationalization as one key to quality at the tertiary level. Nha was also a visiting fellow at Georgetown University in the U.S. in the early 2000s.
University World News 
April 15, 2016
India: Foreign universities may be okayed to open branch campuses
In response to a growing demand for higher education, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, a government policy think tank, has recommended that foreign universities be allowed to establish campuses in India. NITI proposed three measures to facilitate agreements with outside institutions: a new law to govern the introduction of branch campuses, an amendment to an existing law that would formally designate certain foreign institutions as “deemed universities,” and changes to regulations surrounding twinning arrangements that would facilitate joint ventures between Indian institutions and their foreign counterparts. Entry of foreign higher education providers is expected to create competitive pressures that will incent Indian higher education institutions to improve their quality.
The Indian Express 
April 16, 2016
Japan: Number of international students exceeds 200K
In 2015, the number of international students in Japan surpassed 200,000 for the first time in history. Of the 208,379 students, about three quarters were studying at the tertiary level. The most popular field of study among these students was Japanese language, which attracted over 56,000 students. This growth puts Japan on track to meet Prime Minister Abe’s goal of attracting 300,000 international students per year by 2020.
The PIE News 
April 11, 2016
India: Universities ranked for the first time
In a historic first, the Indian government released university rankings in early April. The rankings, derived from a series of objective measures and guidelines, include both publicly funded and private higher education institutions. More than 3,500 institutions under four categories – research universities, engineering institutions, management institutions and pharmacy colleges – were evaluated. India’s Human Resource Development Ministry administered the ranking process, citing a need for an empirically-backed method to compare Indian institutions with world class universities. Indian Institutes of Technology, or IITs, and Indian Institutes of Management, or IIMs, led the engineering and management rankings.
University World News 
April 5, 2016
China: New higher education partnerships with Israel
Two Israeli universities announced partnerships with Chinese higher education institutions in early April. The University of Haifa will create a joint laboratory at East China Normal University in Shanghai. The Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will establish a joint center for entrepreneurship and innovation with Jilin University, the largest university in China. These recent higher education partnerships reflect a growing relationship between Israel and China. In recent years, China has sought to expand its ‘soft power’ through higher education partnerships around the globe, For instance, in early 2016, China’s government announced the establishment of 10,000  scholarships for nationals of Arab League member states and 30,000  scholarships for students from Africa.
The Times of Israel 
April 2, 2016
Malaysia: 2020 goal of 200k international students on track
Malaysia is growing in popularity among international students. In 2014, the country debuted at number 12 on UNESCO’s list of top 20 countries for international students. It jumped to the ninth spot in 2015, when it attracted 151,979 international students to its institutions. Malaysia has a stated goal of increasing that number to 200,000 by 2020. Potential pull factors include: inexpensive tuition, low cost of living, strong cultural diversity and proximity to ASEAN countries.
Asian Correspondent 
April 1, 2016