Creating a Higher Education Common Space in Southeast Asia?

I've asked the question before whether ASEAN was becoming like the EU. I agreed with former ASEAN Secretary General Severino who answered that it is "most likely not. At least not exactly". Now we can ask another question: is the ASEAN starting its own Bologna process? It appears to be doing so... The Australian reports on a meeting in Bangkok last week: Arguing the case for an extensive overhaul of co-operation and compatibility involving 6500 higher education institutions and 12 million students in 10 widely differing nations is no easy task; and it's…Read more …

The Business School Business in Europe, Asia and the US

The Financial Times featured an interesting article from business guru Charles Baden Fuller. Professor at the Cass Business School of the City University, London. He observes a decrease in the gap between management research between the US and other regions like Europe and Asia. Although he acknowledges the supremacy of the US in the field, he says that the US share of management research will fall below 50 percent the next few years: Research output in management is still concentrated: less than 3 per cent of the world's universities produce more than 70…Read more …

US PhD’s & Chinese Alma Maters

Now here is an interesting fact. I knew that the United States was becoming ever more dependent on foreign PhD students, especially in the so-called STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). I also knew that an increasing proportion of them come from Asia, and China in particular. But this article in Science surprised me nonetheless: A new study has found that the most likely undergraduate alma mater for those who earned a Ph.D. in 2006 from a U.S. university was … Tsinghua University. Peking University, its neighbor in the Chinese capital, ranks second.…Read more …

Authoritarianism or Participation? That’s the Question!

Is China proving that developing countries are better off under an authoritarian regime that focuses on developing the economy, rather than under a democratic regime that gives emphasis to political participation? It's the question posed by Randall Peerenboom from UCLA in his new book China Modernizes: Threat to the West or Model for the Rest? He tries to answer the question by exploring China's economy, its political and legal system, and its record on civil, political and personal rights. Peerenboom's answer is "yes". At the forum of the Far Eastern Economic Review, Nicholas…Read more …

Money can’t buy me… Or can it?

To what extent can you 'build' a high quality university from the ground up? Hard to say, but as long as you got plenty of oil money, why not try? The Saudi government is embarking on a very ambitious project and puts its billions behind Western-Style Higher Education. But Nature questions whether one of the fundamental principles of a 'western style' university (or in my opinion, any university) applies in Saudi Arabia and asks whether a Saudi university can think freely? Ziauddin Sardar, a UK-based writer, is skeptical: "The bureaucratic police state will…Read more …

Asian Godfathers: Collusion of Business & Politics

Another book to add to my ‘to-read-list’: Asian Godfathers: Money and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Newsweek has an article by the author of the book, Joe Studwell. Studwell had expected that the Asian crisis ten years ago would trigger the transition from crony capitalism to a market free of manipulation by bureaucrats and politicians. After the research for his book, he concludes that he was wrong: The architecture of the Southeast Asian economy remains what it was 10 and 50 and 100 years ago. The domestic economies of Hong Kong,…Read more …

UNSW Asia: the conjuncture of events

(update below) Fred Hilmer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales, looks back on the UNSW Asia debacle. One of the question that I asked in my post immediately after UNSW's announcement was about the real reason for UNSW's sudden departure. Much news has been reported since, but none of the explanations can fully explain it. Hilmer points to the low enrollment numbers as the reason and the fact that the Singapore Economic Development Board wasn't willing to accept their rescue plan.Today it was also reported that high fees led to the…Read more …

Higher Education Funding in Indonesia

The Jakarta Post reported that the Indonesian Director General for Higher Education, Satryo Soemantri Brodjonegoro would increase the subsidies for universities. The government would disburse a Rp 13.5 trillion (US$1.5 billion) fund next year to subsidize costs at state-run and private universities. Good news for Indonesian higher education? Of course, every extra dollar or rupiah is welcome. But...He admitted that the increase would not cover education costs for university students. "The amount is too small to meet the demands of poor families who want to have access to higher education," he said. In…Read more …

Indonesia Too Democratic?

Can a country be too democratic? Vice President of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, thinks it can be. The Jakarta Post reports on his visit to China, and it seems like Kalla is quite impressed by what is going on in China. If only Indonesia was a bit less democratic they would be able to make the same progress as China is making."China's strength is that it can plan and implement. Our system, which is too democratic with too much individual freedom that often disregards the rights of others, has made it difficult for us…Read more …

Malaysia as an Education Hub

The UNSW debacle in Singapore and the exit of Johns Hopkins last year, have dealt a serious blow to the Global Schoolhouse strategy of the Singapore government. Singapore’s neighbor Malaysia announced a similar strategy last year. With this strategy, Malaysia becomes one of the most interesting examples of the way that higher education is globalizing nowadays. A major exporter as well as importer of higher education, with foreign universities within its borders and Malay universities establishing branches outside Malaysia. First of all, Malaysia has long been sending many of their students and university…Read more …

Questions on the UNSW ASIA debacle

After three months in operation, the Singapore adventure of the University of New South Wales has come to an end. Another 22 million Singapore dollars down the drain. The decision to establish a branch campus in Singapore was taken in 2005 and already led to some commotion at that time (see this post). In 2005, UNSW from Australia and the University of Warwick from the UK were the only two foreign universities granted special status by the Singaporean Government (through its Economic Development Board, EDB) to set up a fully fledged independent teaching…Read more …

Reality TV enters Academia

A cross between 'University Challenge' and 'The Apprentice'. That's how The Times describes a new TV show in India: Scholar Hunt - Destination UK. In the show, students will compete for full scholarhips to the universities of Leeds, Warwick, Cardiff, Sheffield and Middlesex. They will follow the students going through the exams, interviews and other tests for the scholarships. Each of the British universities will award one scholarship for a 3 year degree worth 45000 Pounds. Arun Thapar, the show’s producer and presenter:“It’s survival of the fittest, but hopefully this will provide someone…Read more …

India Rising (or part of it)

Last year October I made my first visit to India. I had heard a lot of stories and read numerous articles about the 'Rise of India' (Thomas Friedman probably topping the list in terms of optimism). So...I arrived with high expectations. After arriving in Delhi Airport, staying three days in Delhi and travelling two weeks through Rajasthan, I was becoming more and more fascinated and disappointed at the same time.Of course I hadn't expected India to have turned in to one big IT science park in just one or two decades (although some…Read more …

Globalisation & Higher Education in *****

I found a recent post in one of my favourite blogs (or is it an online magazine?) on the demands that globalisation makes on higher education systems around the world. After reading it I noticed how global this debate has become and how it is so similar in very different parts of the world. Here are some summarising sections of the article:The four challenges of globalization - the flight of talent, benchmarking to global standards, the possibility of education as a business opportunity, and the mismatch between supply and demand - have a…Read more …

Scarcity in China

A few interesting articles appeared recently on the availability of talent to support China's economic growth. Even though China has a vast pool of human resources, the Asia Times warns about China's impending talent shortage. Firms in the south now complain that they cannot recruit enough cheap factory and manual workers. The market is even tighter for skilled workers. As the economy grows and moves into higher-value-added work, the challenge of attracting and retaining staff is rising with the skill level, as demand outstrips supply.Only a few of China's vast number of university…Read more …