WENR, October 2018: Asia-Pacific

China: China Now Produces More Research Papers than the U.S.

According to a new report [1] by the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers, 18.6 percent of more than 3 million articles published by 33,000 peer-reviewed English-language academic journals worldwide were authored by Chinese scholars. This means that Chinese researchers now for the first time publish more articles than U.S. scholars, whose contributions made up 18 percent of all articles followed by India (5 percent) and Germany, Japan and the UK with 4 percent each. This shift comes much earlier than anticipated and reflects China’s tremendous investments into research and development (R&D). China already spends more on R&D than the EU and the country is expected to also overtake the U.S. in R&D spending by the 2020s. In 2015, China’s R&D expenditures accounted for 21 percent of the global total and stood at USD$409 billion.

Times Higher Education [2]
October 12

Australia: Government Discusses Shifting Inflow of International Student to Regional Areas

About 65 percent of international students in Australia study in the metropolitan centers of Sydney and Melbourne, both of which are currently growing at a rate of more than 100,000 new residents annually. Overcrowding in the two cities is one factor in current debates about re-balancing Australia’s rapidly growing international student inflows towards smaller cities and regional areas. Australia’s new prime minister, Scott Morrison, hinted at enrollment caps [3] for higher education institutions in the two cities and other policy makers consider  re-balancing necessary to ease population pressures on larger cities and boost development in other regions. However, critics contend that steering international students away from Sydney and Melbourne could harm Australia’s popularity as a study destination, since many international students seek to study at metropolitan institutions that are ranked highly in international university rankings, rather than at lower ranked institutions in regional areas.

Times Higher Education [4]
October 9

Vietnam: Government Allows More Domestic Students to Enroll in International Schools

Vietnam has drastically upped admissions quotas for Vietnamese students at international schools. Until August of this year, international elementary schools and international secondary schools were prohibited to enroll more than 10 percent and 20 percent of Vietnamese students, respectively, but are now allowed to increase Vietnamese enrollments to up to 50 percent of their student bodies. Vietnamese authorities hope that the change will provide more education options for Vietnamese children in the private sector and ultimately cause public schools to become more competitive. In addition, the government hopes that increased access to foreign education in Vietnam will slow the swelling outflow of Vietnamese students heading overseas for education. However, as education consultant Mark Ashwill points out, English-medium international schools prepare students well for international education, so that the new regulations will enable greater numbers of students to pursue education abroad.

The PIE News [5]
September 28

China: Uighur Academics Targeted in Chinese Crack Down in Xinjiang Province

Higher education is becoming increasingly engulfed in China’s repression campaign against the Muslim Uighur minority in Xijiang province. According to sources familiar with the region, at least 56 Uighur lecturers at institutions like Kashgar University, Xinjiang University and Xinjiang Normal University have disappeared or been detained by Chinese authorities since early 2017. Most of these academics are said to have international contacts or be scholars of Uighur culture. An estimated 1.1 million of China’s 11 million Uighur have been detained in so-called “re-education camps” since China intensified its crackdown in Xijiang. The campaign is said to include the Sinification of universities by replacing Uighur lectures with Han Chinese academics.

University World News [6]
September 28

South Korea: Strong Growth in International Student Enrollments

Underscoring Korea’s growing importance as an international education hub in Asia, the number of international students in the country increased for the fourth year in a row and increased by almost 15 percent between 2017 and 2018. There are currently 142,205 international students enrolled in degree and non-degree programs in Korea, 48 percent if which come from China and 19 percent from Vietnam, which is the second-largest sending country. The number of Vietnamese students alone almost doubled since last year. If current growth rates can be sustained, Korea is well on track towards achieving its official target goal of hosting 200,000 international enrollments by 2023. (For more information on student mobility trends in Korea and its education system, see also our country profile of Korea [7] in the current issue of WENR).

ICEF Monitor [8]
September 26

India: Universities Increasingly Relying on Short-Term Faculty

According to information provided by the Indian parliament, one third of faculty positions at India’s 47 Central Universities and 23 Institutes of Technology – a total of 8,408 positions – are currently vacant with some institutions not having hired permanent faculty for years. Instead, institutions rely heavily on short-term contracts to temporarily fill teaching positions – a fact that observers consider one of the reasons for the poor showing of Indian institutions in international university rankings, since contact teachers usually conduct less research than fulltime faculty. While academics blame funding shortages [9] for the practice, the government maintains that universities are responsible for filling vacant positions, and that the problem is not caused by existing funding structures.

Times Higher Education [10]
September 26