WENR, May 2017: Asia Pacific

Japan: International Enrollments up by Almost 15 Percent

Japan saw strong growth in international student enrollments, mostly from traditional sending countries like China, Vietnam, Nepal, Taiwan, and Korea in 2016.  The number of foreign students increased by 14.8 percent to 239,287 students. Increases were driven by a 30 percent rise in enrollments in the vocational education sector.   Despite these gains, some experts remain skeptical that Japan can reach its goal to increase foreign student enrollments to 300,000 by 2020. Improvements in the education systems of countries like China, Japan’s top source country, could erode student flows in coming years.  It is also unclear what impact recent changes in entry requirements for foreign language students will have on student mobility.

The PIE News
April 28, 2017

Singapore: Declining Birth Rates Lead to College Mergers

Singapore’s Government will merge 23 junior colleges into 19 by 2019 in the most far-reaching merger of colleges in two decades. Declining birth rates are driving the move. Between the late 1980s/early 1990s, and the period from 1993 to 2002, birth rates in Singapore declined by about 20 percent. As a result, new enrollments at junior colleges are expected to drop from 16,000 in 2010 to only 12,800 in 2019. Also slated for consolidation are a number of elementary and secondary schools.

The Straits Times
April 20, 2017

Thailand: 20 Percent of Degree Programs of Poor Quality

Thailand’s Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has reported that 2,030 out of a total of 8,949 higher education programs at Thai universities violate official OAG regulations. Among the problems cited were inadequate student-to-lecturer ratios, and insufficient numbers of qualified teachers. Of particular concern were graduate-level programs at faculties of education and various bachelor and master-level programs offered by private universities. Thailand’s Office of the Higher Education Commission will now conduct a follow-up audit and is expected to bar universities that offer substandard programs from admitting new students to these programs until quality shortcomings have been addressed.

Bangkok Post

April 20, 2017

India: Government Revamps NAAC Accreditation Procedures

India’s federal government is seeking to reform the process for accrediting institutions of higher education. The goal is to improve transparency and decrease subjectivity of processes used by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). Under the new system, the role of site inspections by outside experts will be decreased in favor of institutional self-assessments, which will be publicly disclosed online.  The NAAC has suspended the accreditation of new institutions in April, and will resume operating under the new rules in July. Reforms were initiated after complaints about quality problems and corruption in the accreditation system.

April 21, 2017


Australia: Government Tightens Visa Regulations for Skilled Foreign Workers

Australia’s government has announced that it will scrap its widely-used “457” visa for skilled foreign workers. The visa was designed to alleviate labor shortages in 650 occupations. In 2016, some 95,758 temporary foreign workers were admitted under the program. The visas, which were granted for a period of four years, offered a pathway to permanent residency in Australia. New temporary work visas will have stricter eligibility criteria, and limit permanent residency.  The number of occupations for which the visa can be used will also be cut. Australia’s prime minister described the new restrictions, which are reminiscent to recent plans by U.S. president Trump to curtail the use of H1-B visas in the U.S., as being in the “national interest of Australia.”

ABC News Australia
April 18

The Philippines: Government Promotes Transnational Education Programs

The Commission on Higher Education Development (CHED) in the Philippines and the British Council in the UK are partnering to promote the development of transnational programs offered by Filipino and UK universities. Ten Filipino universities will receive a total of £1m (USD $1.25 million) to establish joint and double degree programs leading topostgraduate degrees with UK partner institutions. The partnership will begin in the 2018/19 academic year. The participating institutions include Ateneo de Manila University, Bicol University, Central Luzon State University, De La Salle University, Miriam College, Saint Louis University, Silliman University, University of the Philippines, University of San Carlos and the University of Santo Tomas.

The PIE News
April 11, 2017

Posted in Asia Pacific, Regional News Summaries