WENR, April 2018: Asia-Pacific

Australia: Controversy over Chinese Influence on Australian Campuses

New laws proposed by the Australian government to curb foreign influence in Australian politics have caused a debate among Australian academics about the growing Chinese influence on Australian campuses. The Australian government has warned of Chinese interference and proposed, among other measures, to ban foreign political donations.  Some academics side with the government and argue that activities of China’s Communist Party, such as the establishment of government-backed organizations on university campuses to monitor Chinese students, are an unacceptable interference into Australian academia. On the other side of the spectrum, academics are concerned that the new laws are racially biased, will endanger research cooperation with China and hamper objective scientific debate on China-related issues.

University World News

March 29, 2018

Bangladesh: Outbound Student Mobility Is Growing

According to UNESCO, 60,000 Bangladeshi students are currently studying in other countries and outbound mobility is on an upward trajectory. Half of the country’s population is under the age of 24, economic growth is strong and the middle class is expected to almost triple to about 35 million people by 2025. The tertiary student population is expanding and amounted to approximately 2.7 million students in 2016. More than half of Bangladesh’s international students study in Malaysia, but the number of Bangladeshi students in countries like the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada is also growing. China is become an increasingly popular destination, especially in medical sciences and IT fields.

ICEF Monitor

March 28, 2018

India: Greater Autonomy for Top Universities

India’s Ministry of Education has announced that some of India’s top higher education institutions will receive greater autonomy, including the right to establish new departments, off-campus centers and distance education programs, as well as the right to determine their own curricula and admissions criteria, and the freedom to set up academic collaborations with the top 500 universities in the world. The chosen institutions include five central universities, 21 state universities, 26 private and deemed universities, as well as ten other colleges. In an attempt to advance internationalization, the 25 top-ranked universities will also be able to hire foreign faculty and enroll foreign students up to 20 percent of the student body and faculty without having to seek prior government approval. Critics, including teachers associations, have derided the decision as a step towards the privatization and commercialization of publicly-funded institutions.

University World News

March 22, 2018


India: Government Seeks to Make India a More Attractive International Study Destination

India, one of the largest sending countries of international students in the world, seeks to become a more important international study destination itself. The government has launched a “Study in India” campaign with the goal to increase the number of foreign students in India to 200,000 by 2023. Funding has been dedicated to fee waivers for foreign students and promotion campaigns in 30 target countries to attract more students.  In all, the initiative targets 35 countries, including a number of African countries, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Malaysia, China, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as other countries with sizeable Indian populations. India presently hosts 35,000 foreign students with Nepal being the biggest sending country (23.6 percent), followed by Afghanistan and Bhutan. There are also sizeable numbers of students from African countries like Nigeria and Sudan.

The Print

March 15, 2018.

Australia: New Record in International Student Enrollments

The number of international students in Australia is now more than half the total number of international students in the United States, making Australia the third most popular destination country for international students worldwide. Foreign student enrollments increased by 13 percent between 2016 and 2017 compared to an average growth rate of 4.5 percent over the past decade. There were 624,000 foreign students in Australia in 2017, more than of half of which came from China, India, Nepal, Malaysia and Brazil, with China being the largest sending country by far.  Emerging markets like Pakistan, the Philippines and Indonesia are expected to send increasing numbers of students to Australia by 2020.

ICEF Monitor

March 13, 2018

Pakistan: Sindh Government Curtails Freedom of Universities

In a controversial move, the government of Pakistan’s Sindh province, which includes the mega city of Karachi, has placed public universities under more direct state control.  The government will now appoint the staff for key management positions like vice-chancellors, pro-chancellors, and finance directors and determine the admission policies of public universities. The government stated that that the goal of the new law was to maintain consistent standards at public universities and degree-awarding institutions. It reserved the right to conduct far-reaching inspections and remove staff found guilty of fraud or corruption. Opposition parties and teachers associations have criticized the move as an undemocratic power grab, curtailing academic freedoms in Pakistan.

The Express Tribune

March 10, 2018


Bangladesh: UGC adds new Mandatory Courses to University Curricula

Bangladesh’s University Grants Commission has added two compulsory courses, “History of the emergence of independent Bangladesh” and “Bangla Language and Literature” as compulsory subjects to university curricula beginning this year. The move comes amidst concerns that younger generations know too little about Bangladesh’s history, language and culture. Students are expected to take at least two classes in these subjects each week.

Dhaka Tribune

February 27, 2018

Posted in Asia Pacific, Regional News Summaries