WENR, September 2018: Asia-Pacific

Pakistan: Supreme Court Tightens Regulations in Legal Education

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ruled that no new students shall be admitted into three-year Bachelor of Laws programs, which are slated to be replaced with five-year programs as of 2019. The court also ordered the closure of several law colleges that failed to meet quality standards, and banned evening classes at law colleges and universities throughout the country. The measures come amid increasing concerns about deteriorating quality standards in legal education, which has grown in popularity in recent years.

Pakistan Today [1]
September 8

China: Government Expands Academic Cooperation with African Countries

In an attempt to further increase China’s influence in Africa and cultivate future African elites, Beijing has announced that it will fund 50,000 scholarships and 50,000 short-term vocational training opportunities for students from African countries. China already hosts the highest number of African international students after France, most of them coming from East African countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Eritrea, as well as Cameroon and Morocco. The announcement follows previous initiatives to increase academic collaboration and exchange, including a pledge to fund 30,000 scholarships in 2015, and the establishment of 50 Confucius Institutes throughout the continent. Scholarships have helped fuel rising student enrollments and exchange visits of Africans in China, where African students primarily study in fields like Chinese language and engineering and also seek to foster business relationships.

University World News [2]
September 7


Vietnam: Attempts to Privatize Higher Education Fall Short of Official Goals

Contrary to the rapid privatization of higher education in many developing countries, Vietnam is unlikely to reach its official goal to increase enrollments in the private sector to 40 percent of all students by 2020. In fact, enrollments in private institutions have recently declined and account for only 15 percent of tertiary students. The Vietnamese government seeks boost privatization in attempt to ease fiscal pressures on the public budget, but most Vietnamese continue to view public institutions as being of higher quality than private schools. According to education experts, the total number private universities has grown, but many of the new private universities are sub-standard  providers, plagued by problems like low-quality education and poor infrastructure.

VietnamNet [3]
September 6

India: Top-ranked Institutes of Technology Seek International Students

The prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), a group of public institutions featured among India’s top higher education institutions, are trying to increase internationalization by lowering tuition fees for international students and recruiting more foreign faculty. Internationalization is an important criterion in global university rankings and the Indian government seeks to increase India’s standing in these rankings. The IITs therefore allowed foreign students to sit for their competitive entrance examinations for the first time ever in 2016. Tuition fees at the IITs for international students are currently much higher than for domestic students, standing at USD$8,457 per year. However, individual IITs are now free to set their own tuition fees for international students, and the IIT Delhi has started to offer full scholarships for foreign students in its Ph.D. programs. Lowering tuition fees is seen as a crucial step for attracting students from middle and low-income economies in Asia and Africa with the IITs seeking to recruit students from countries like Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The IITs also push for legislative changes that would allow them to hire foreign instructors as permanent faculty, a practice currently banned under Indian law.


The PIE News [4]
August 31

Australia: Universities Earn More Than 20 percent of Their Revenues from Foreign Student Fees

Total revenues from international student fees in Australia reached $USD742 million in 2017 with Australian universities now deriving an average 21 percent of their earnings from these fees. This dependence on international student fees has raised concerns about a decline in academic diversity in Australia, since 45 percent of foreign students enroll in business-related programs compared to only 20 percent of domestic students. At private for-profit institutions, as many as 83 percent of students enroll in business-related programs with many of these students switching to business programs at for-profit colleges after originally getting admitted to university programs in other disciplines. According to observers, many foreign students apply to universities in order to increase their chances to obtain visas, only to switch to cheaper institutions after entering the country. Business programs are also said to be most popular among students seeking post-study work visas and immigration.

Times Higher Education [5]
August 19

Australia: Growth of Chinese Student Visa Applications Is Flattening

The number of student visa applications by Chinese citizens in Australia increased by just 500 applications or 1 percent in the past fiscal year – a significant slowdown from 4,000 to 7,000 visas applications annually over the past five fiscal years. Overall enrollments of Chinese students are still growing, but are mostly owed to so-called “onshore” enrollments by Chinese students already in the country taking up studies in other programs. Among the possible reasons for the slowdown are increased visa rejection rates and diplomatic tensions between Australia and China over issues like growing Chinese interference at Australian universities – a spat that reportedly caused Chinese authorities to discourage Chinese educators from promoting Australia as a study destination.

Times Higher Education [6]
August 14