WENR, May 2018: Asia-Pacific

British Council: ASEAN Countries Increasing Efforts at Internationalization and Student Mobility

In its latest report on the “Shape of Global Higher Education”, released in May 2018, the British Council has noted that ASEAN member countries have in recent years expanded their efforts to increase internationalization, despite persisting obstacles like language barriers, low foreign language competencies and scarce resources for scholarship funding in some countries. Most countries seek to promote student exchange, for example by streamlining visas procedures within the region.  All countries are trying to encourage inbound transnational education and are open to foreign partnerships. The Council found that ASEAN countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand generally compare favorably to other countries worldwide in their efforts to internationalize their higher education systems.

The British Council
May 2018

China: Number of International Students Hits New Record  

According to numbers released by the Ministry of Education, the number of international students in China has reached a record high of 489,200 students in 2017. The number of degree level students increased by 15 percent since 2016, while  graduate and postgraduate enrollments grew even further, by 18.5 percent.  Experts attribute the strong growth to the comparatively low costs of study in China and the improving quality of Chinese universities. Political support and scholarships provided by the government also play an important role. More than 60 percent of foreign students came from countries included in the “Belt and Roads Initiative”.

The PIE News
April 30

Tajikistan: High-Ranking Politicians Accused of Dissertation Plagiarism

The Russian anti-plagiarism watchdog organization Dissernet has accused several high-ranking Tajik politicians of plagiarizing their dissertations. The organization found that 25 dissertations of Tajik nationals, defended between 2004 and 2015, contained “significant elements of plagiarism”.  Among the accused politicians are the deputy prime minister, a presidential advisor, the head of one of Tajikistan’s regions, as well as a professor at the country’s top university and son of the current Minister of Education. In the latter case, the allegations have caused the dissertation council of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia in Moscow to recommend nullifying the doctoral degree.

University World News
April 28

Japan: Government Launches Scholarship Program for 1,000 International High School Students

In a bid to increase immigration and strengthen ties within the region, the Japanese government has launched a new scholarship program that will fund 1,000 high school students from 20 Asian countries over the next five years. The Kakehashi  (“building bridges”)  program will be administered by the international youth exchange organization AFS Intercultural Programs. Faced with rapid population aging, Japan has in recent years taken several steps to increase immigration and international exchange, including the implementation of a fast-track permanent residency program and the promotion of Japan as an international study destination. Japan presently hosts 267,042 international students and seeks to increase that number to 300,000 by 2020.

The PIE News
April 27

Australia: International Students Boost Population Growth  

International students contributed to strong population growth in Australia, especially in major cities like Sydney, which grew by a record-setting 100,000 people between 2016 and 2017, and Melbourne, which grew by 125,000 people.  Overseas migration accounted for 64 percent of the population growth in Melbourne and 83 percent in Sydney, with foreign students making up an estimated 43 percent of these migrants. Observers have noted that the growing influx of foreign students generates a “brain gain” for Australia and ensures that the country has some of “the best and the brightest young people from around the world”. Inbound student mobility to Australia has been growing strongly in recent years and is increasingly diversifying with countries like Brazil and Colombia, for instance, emerging as growing sending countries alongside traditional source countries like China and India.

Times Higher Education
April 24

Pakistan: Budget of Higher Education Commission Cut in Half

The Pakistani government has slashed the budget of the country’s Higher Education Commission by 50 percent for the second consecutive fiscal year. The cuts have halted important projects, such as the construction of new universities and faculty training. While funding cuts amounted to 50 percent for ongoing projects, funding for new projects has been slashed by as much as 65 percent, according to Pakistan’s Express Tribune.  Affected projects include the provision of transport facilities for female students at public universities, the creation of a National Centre in Basic Sciences and the establishment of the new University of Chitral.

The Express Tribune
April 26


Posted in Asia Pacific, Regional News Summaries