WENR, March 2018: Asia-Pacific

China: Brain Drain is Slowing Down

According to Wei Yang, President of National Natural Science Foundation of China, the outflow of talented academics that China experienced  in past years has slowed down to the extent that “the brain drain is almost over”.  Chinese students and scholars are increasingly returning home, while growing numbers of foreign scientists have begun to work in China. The country now brings up about 70,000 Ph.D. students each year and government spending on science and research has reached such high levels that funding agencies need to recruit foreign academics in order to spend their funds. China is intent on becoming a “powerhouse of higher education” and to have 42 world class universities by 2050. China is already the country with the sixth largest number of institutions in the top 200 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, with Peking and Tsinghua Universities ranking among the top 30.

Inside Higher Ed
March 2, 2018

China: China’s equal status policy causes Taiwan brain drain

The Chinese government has taken a number of actions in service of its equal status policy granting Taiwanese easier access to mainland China universities and jobs. The new measures include provisions allowing professionals to sit for 53 new qualifications, and fewer restrictions on where they are allowed to work in the country. Additionally there are further changes that allow easier investment in mainland China business and easier processes for work and residence permits. With salaries for college graduates in Taiwan stagnating and a slightly higher than average rate of unemployment among that same group, many Taiwan government agencies are worried about the effect of potential brain-drain from the new policies.

University World News
March 1, 2018

Afghanistan: Government Now Recognizes Degrees Awarded by Private Universities

Afghanistan’s Higher Education Minister has announced that the government will recognize degrees awarded by private HEIs and allow private providers to issue degree certificates. In the past, graduates from private HEIs were unable to obtain official degree certificates, since the government did not permit the issuing of these certificates. The move comes amidst a boom in private higher education in Afghanistan. There are now 131 private HEIs operating in the country, enrolling approximately 555,266 students in 2017. This compares to only 36 HEIs in the public sector, which is overburdened by increased demand for education, and can absorb less than 50 percent of all students seeking admission. In light of these realities, pressures had mounted to place private education on an equal footing with public education, even though concerns remain about the quality of education at private HEIs. Many private providers continue to have inadequately trained teaching staff, for instance, and there have been claims that private institutions have been admitting students who had failed the national admissions test.

University World News
February 24, 2018


International Student Enrollments in South Korea Grow Strongly in 2017

International student enrollments in South Korea have increased by 18.8 percent in 2017. The country now hosts 123,850 foreign students – 20,000 more than in 2016. Strong increases in international enrollments follow a decline of enrollments between 2012 and 2014, and the government now aims to have 200,000 foreign students in the country by 2023. The inflow of international students helps South Korea to ease the impact of declining domestic enrollments due to population aging. To make the country more attractive to foreign students, Korea has increased the number of English-taught programs, eased visa restrictions, ramped up funding for scholarships and marketing, and now also allows universities to run programs exclusively for foreign students. Most foreign students come from China, which accounts for more than half of all enrollments, as well as Vietnam and Japan.

ICEF Monitor

February 21, 2018

Vietnam: Academic Research Output Still Low

Vietnamese education experts have noted that Vietnam’s research output is still low despite the fact that the number of Ph.D. holders in the country has grown 23-fold since 1970. According to government statistics, Vietnamese scholars published only 5,738 articles in international scientific journals between 2011 and 2016, even though there were about 9,000 professors, 24,000 Ph.D.s and 100,000 masters’ degree holders in the country. Scholars at agro-forestry-fishery universities, for example, published an average of 0.74 articles per scientist during that time period. 2,000 Ph.D.s at Pedagogical universities meanwhile published only 804 articles within five years. One of the reasons cited for the low output is that academics are not required to have published in international peer-reviewed journals before assuming professorships or associate professorships in Vietnam.


February 18, 2018


Australia: Doubts about Sustainability of Growth in TNE

Transnational education is big business in Australia. About 30 percent of Australia’s foreign students were enrolled in offshore programs in 2015 and the industry took in AU$ 382 million (USD $295.9 million) from TNE in 2014 alone. But a recent analysis by Australian academics casts doubts about the sustainability of growth in Australian TNE, arguing that the TNE market in Asia is increasingly competitive and that domestic universities in “maturing markets” like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong will increasingly accommodate demand. Opportunities for Australian providers in markets like India, Vietnam or Indonesia remain hampered by restrictions and bureaucratic obstacles, while Chinese universities are enrolling ever-increasing numbers of foreign students. Demand from China is also expected to slow due to a declining youth population.

The Australian

February 15, 2017


Vietnam: Government Eases Admissions Quotas For Universities

The Vietnamese government has eased caps on university admissions that restricted universities to a total enrollment of 15,000 full-time students (8,000 in the case of medical schools and 5,000 at arts schools). Going forward, admissions quotas are instead expected to be based on student-to-teacher ratios and academic offerings per student. Admissions quotas will also be tied to quality assessment with institutions that have not undergone quality assessment remaining barred from raising admissions quotas for existing programs. The new regulations also removed caps on the employment of foreign lecturers, which the government had regulated with a set numbers of foreign instructors for each institution. The new regulations instead stipulate a maximum quota of 5 percent of foreign lecturers among all teaching staff (30 percent in art-related fields).


February 2, 2018

Posted in Asia Pacific, Regional News Summaries