India: UGC Eases Restrictions on Online Degree Programs
India’s University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced that a number of Indian universities will be allowed to offer online degree programs beginning in the 2018/19 academic year. However, there are still a number of restrictions in place: Programs that involve lab courses or other practical components will not be offered in distance education mode. Online courses can only be offered in subjects already taught by universities. In addition, online degree programs will be offered only by accredited universities that have been operating for at least five years and which were included among the top 100 in national rankings for two out of the last three years. Online programs are also mandated to combine video lectures with discussion forums. The UGC considers the expansion of online programs an important step in increasing the country’s tertiary gross enrollment ratio from 25.2 percent to 30 percent by 2020.
Times Higher Education 
June 6, 2018
Taiwan: Taiwanese Students Enroll in Mainland China Universities in Growing Numbers
According to the Global Times, the number of Taiwanese high school graduates heading to mainland China for higher education is growing rapidly. The growth is spurred by improvements in China’s higher education system and better employment opportunities on the mainland. The increasing popularity of Chinese universities is not limited to top-tier universities like Peking University or Tsinghua University, but is also seen at less well-known institutions. Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, for example, witnessed a four-fold increase in applications from Taiwanese students since 2017. Driving the trend is the fact that graduates from top-tier Chinese universities can earn higher average incomes in China than in Taiwan, where incomes have stagnated over the past 16 years.
Global Times 
June 4, 2018
China: International Students Are Returning to China in Increasing Numbers
A new survey of 5,000 international students from China found that they are increasingly likely to return to China instead of seeking to immigrate to host countries after graduation. According to the Chinese Students Overseas Study White Paper, published by the private education service provider New Oriental Vision Overseas, 46 percent of Chinese students plan to return to China after graduation, compared with 39 percent in 2017 and 35 percent in 2016. China has in recent years witnessed a wave of returning students; return rates have increased by more than 11 percent between 2016 and 2017. The tighter immigration policies of several countries may be driving the trend, as is China’s own economic growth. The Chinese government also increasingly incentivizes returnees by offering funding and research opportunities. Furthermore, Chinese favorability ratings of the U.S. and other Western countries have declined – a trend that is likely to continue given recent student visa restrictions  imposed by the U.S. government that affect Chinese students.
University World News 
May 31, 2018
Indonesia: First Foreign-Branch Campus Said to Open in 2018
After years of deliberation and apprehension, the first foreign branch campus in Indonesia is expected to open this year after about 10 foreign universities, including the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, and the University of Cambridge, expressed interest in operating in Indonesia. Foreign branch campuses are a controversial issue in Indonesia, and foreign universities continue to face a number of restrictions. Only universities ranked above position 200 in international university rankings will be invited to Indonesia, and they must operate in partnership with domestic institutions. The government decides which programs can be offered and where universities can operate. The entry of Australian universities into the Indonesian market is also contingent on the realization of the “Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership,” a free trade agreement expected to be signed by August. Indonesia is seeking to improve its education system and hopes to have at least five world-class universities by 2019. Indonesia’s five highest-ranked universities in international university rankings — Universitas Indonesia, Bandung Institute of Technology, Gadjah Mada University, Airlangga University, and Bogor Agricultural University — currently receive additional funding to further advance in the rankings. The funds are used to expand research and hire more professors to increase student-to-teacher ratios and academic journal citations.
University World News 
May 25, 2018
New Zealand: Recent Data Reflect Declines in International Student Enrollments
According to the latest data released by New Zealand’s government, the number of international students in the country decreased by 7 percent between August 2016 and August 2017. Most of the decline is due to a 30 percent decrease in enrollments in non-university private training centers by students from India and the Philippines. Foreign enrollments at universities, on the other hand, increased by 7 percent and government officials have described the downturn as part of a “planned rebalancing.” China and India are by far the most important sending countries, accounting for 50 percent of all foreign students. There were a total of 106,000 foreign students in New Zealand in August 2017.
ICEF Monitor 
May 9, 2018
India: Government to Increase Requirements for University Lecturers in Attempt to Boost Quality
The Indian government will require all university instructors, including assistant professors, to hold PhD degrees by 2021. In addition, instructors will have to complete a one-month induction program and pass the standard National Eligibility Test (NET) if they graduated after 2009. Foreign instructors can be exempted from the NET if they hold doctoral degrees from one of the top 500 universities in international university rankings, such as the QS, Shanghai, or Times Higher Education ranking. University instructors in India can presently teach with a master’s degree as long as they pass the NET. Other planned measures to improve the quality of teaching and research are a simplified teacher evaluation grading system and the adoption of a research score for universities. Promotions will be based on teaching-related and research-related scores.
Hindustan Times 
May 2, 2018