WENR. August 2018: Asia-Pacific:

China: Government Seeks to Boost International Enrollments by Allowing Students to Work Part-Time

The Chinese Ministry of Education has announced that it will allow international students in Beijing and Shanghai to work part-time. The measure follows last year’s decision to allow international students at “well-known” universities to obtain a Chinese work permit after graduation. Until now, it was almost impossible for international students to obtain authorization to work in China. The change is designed to make China a more attractive study destination and help the country achieve its goal of hosting 500,000 international students by 2020.  Students must obtain approval from their academic institutions and administrative authorities before taking up work.

The PIE News [1]
August 9

Australia: Volume of Australian Education Exports Reaches New Record High

A new report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the volume of Australia’s education exports increased by 14 percent to a record A$32 billion (USD$23.64 billion) in 2017/18 as international student enrollments increased to more than 800,000. The continued growth of international student enrollments generates tremendous benefits for Australia’s overall economy, but comes amidst new political controversies over the massive inflow of foreign students. The opposition Labor Party is discussing possible caps on foreign student enrollments over concerns that these students are monopolizing jobs and are being exploited in the workplace – a development that is raising fears of a more populist political debate on immigration and international students in Australia.

Times Higher Education [2]
August 2

China: Government to Impose Stifling Restrictions on the Publication of Research Data

In a new blow to academic freedom in China, the Chinese government will require academics to submit all scientific data generated in China for governmental review before publishing it in international academic journals. According to current draft legislation, all research data will have to be submitted for approval to so-called “state data centers”, which can prohibit the publication of the data at their discretion. The move will allow the government to suppress politically undesired data. In addition, the new restrictions have been described as an example of “data nationalism” – the national monopolization of data for competitive advantage in scientific and socio-economic development. The restrictions are bound to stifle international research collaborations with Chinese academics and increase academic self-censorship.

University World News [3]
July 20

China: Government Terminates High Numbers of Sino-foreign TNE Partnerships

Despite hundreds of collaboration agreements having been inked between Chinese and foreign universities in recent years, the rate of failure of these partnerships is relatively high. The Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE) announced in July that it terminated 234 Sino-foreign partnership agreements and had since 1994 ended about a quarter of all transnational partnerships with foreign institutions. According to researcher Mike Gow, a visiting fellow at Nottingham University, fully 30 percent of 149 Australian joint programs and 25 percent of 245 UK joint programs had been ended, many of them just a few years after inception despite high investment costs. While the Chinese government does not always give concrete reasons for the cancellation of individual programs, it appears that most programs have been terminated over quality concerns. In addition, it is likely that the Chinese government also seeks to increase political control over TNE partnerships. The MOE recently noted that the termination of programs was aimed at “improving quality and efficiency”, noting that not all transnational programs “meet the current economic and social development needs”. The Chinese government is presently prioritizing the development of domestic world-class universities in China.

University World News [4]
July 6

India: Government to Revamp the University Grants Commission

In a major reform initiative, the Indian government has introduced legislation that will reform the University Grants Commission and establish a new Higher Education Commission of India (HECI). The UGC has been the preeminent higher education regulator since its inception in 1951, but has in recent years been criticized for being unresponsive to academic needs, stifling bureaucracy and red tape. The UGC will now focus more narrowly on the distribution of public grant funds, whereas the HECI will conduct quality control. The HECI will focus on issues like improving learning outcomes, evaluating the academic performance of institutions and the training of teachers.  It will set standards for the opening and closure of institutions and will be authorized to order the close down institutions and impose fines. At the same time, the new regulatory body is envisioned to be more flexible than the UGC and allow for a greater autonomy of academic institutions.

The Economic Times [5]
June 28