21 August 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Asia Lead Story
INDIA
March for Science highlights parlous state of research
Ranjit Devraj
Thousands of students, scientists and supporters gathered in 30 Indian cities to support the country’s ‘March for Science’ earlier this month. They were joined by many government scientists despite receiving emails forbidding them from taking part.
Asia Commentary
SOUTH KOREA
Is South Korea in a higher education access trap?
Patrik T Hultberg and David Santandreu Calonge
An educated workforce is important for economic growth and development and South Korea is leading the way on higher education access. But has spending on private after-school tutoring to ensure a university place is secured gone too far?
CHINA
Are universities helping China compete on skills?
Dean Hristov and Sonal Minocha
China’s universities are competing globally with regard to research, but with the rapid expansion of a more open and competitive Chinese economy, they could do more to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and the kind of skills employers are now looking for.
JAPAN
How do university leaders view internationalisation?
Futao Huang and Tsukasa Daizen
Research in Japan shows that university leaders highly value internationalisation. Recent political events in the United States and United Kingdom have had very little impact on this view, and universities have not slowed their pace of internationalisation.
GLOBAL
Index shows the global innovation gap is growing
Anand Kulkarni
Innovation is increasingly important for both developed and emerging economies. Middle-income countries, with the exception of China, are significantly under-represented in the top echelons of the Global Innovation Index and breaking into the rankings is an uphill struggle, although they are making progress.
ASIA
Towards a Southeast Asian Higher Education Area
Darren J McDermott
As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN celebrates its 50th anniversary, what progress has been made to date on its ‘One Vision, One Identity, One Community’ integration journey in higher education? How far along the road are we to the creation of an ASEAN identity through increased mobility?
SOUTH KOREA
The ‘pig mum’ and the problem of excessive competition
David Santandreu Calonge, Patrik T Hultberg and Eugene Lee
Mothers in South Korea are organising complex social networks to ensure their children get access to the best universities and the best jobs. It is a symptom of an education system in need of a fundamental overhaul.
VIETNAM
Trump is not deterring Vietnamese from studying in US
Mark Ashwill
Echoing the findings of the Institute of International Education’s Shifting Tides report that interest in the United States as a study destination is holding firm, recent statistics show that, despite poor ratings for President Donald Trump, Vietnamese students and their parents view a US education favourably.
CANADA-VIETNAM
Recruitment of Vietnamese students limited by red tape
Deren Temel
Recruitment of Vietnamese students to Canada is hampered by slow visa permit processing time. Canada should continue the Canada Express Study visa for Vietnam as it cuts down on bureaucracy and expense for those Vietnamese looking to study there.
MALAYSIA
Malaysia consolidates its position as a regional hub
Roger Chao Jr
Malaysia’s increasing capacity and focus on international and comparative education and Southeast Asian education research have confirmed its vital position with regard to international higher education in the region – and beyond.
Asia Blog
CHINA
What can we learn from returning Chinese students?
Ka Ho Mok
Returning students get a competitive advantage from study abroad, but universities and governments need to be careful to ensure that the wider social benefits of internationalisation are understood and that those at home don’t miss out.
ASIA
Creating an Erasmus-style mobility scheme for ASEAN?
Caroline Chipperfield
Can ASEAN countries learn from Erasmus and develop their own student mobility scheme that takes the best from Erasmus but tailors it to the ASEAN context? Of particular value would be the uplift in life chances that Erasmus gives to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Asia Round-up
INDIA
Government puts foreign universities plan on hold
Livemint
JAPAN
Budget cuts fuel frustration among academics
Nature
MALAYSIA
Bangladeshi students duped by fake universities
Dhaka Tribune
INDIA
Foreign student interest in universities drops – Report
Study International
ISRAEL
Chinese enrolment at universities ‘growing steadily’
The Jerusalem Post
JAPAN
Tokyo denied an increase in private university students
JIJI
THAILAND
University journalism schools need to adapt – Experts
Bangkok Post
PHILIPPINES
Free tuition – College entrance exam may be revived
The Philippine Star
SOUTH KOREA
Korean innovation chief forced out after four days
Global Government Forum
PHILIPPINES
Duterte makes education free in state universities
Agence France-Presse
INDIA
Fake institutions – HE body seeks heftier penalties
India Today
PAKISTAN
Concern over end to US funds for food security project
The Express Tribune
CHINA
Officials warned to behave online as two lecturers fired
Radio Free Asia
MALAYSIA
Public universities’ endowment funds net US$430 million
Bernama
MALAYSIA
Research universities obtain billions from investments
Bernama
CHINA-MALAYSIA
China sets up first large-scale university in Malaysia
Guardian
INDIA
President unveils online education portal
The Indian Express
HONG KONG
Hong Kong’s new leader in education spending spree
South China Morning Post
Asia News
GLOBAL
Asian countries increase share of top 500 universities
Brendan O'Malley
United States universities continue to dominate in the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities released last week by the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, with Harvard University remaining top for the 15th year running. But the number of top 500 universities from Asian countries is increasing.
AFRICA-CHINA
Self-reliance a key to successful academic partnerships
Gilbert Nakweya
African universities should establish clear guidelines and timelines to ensure greater self-reliance when entering partnerships, especially with partners in the Global North, according to higher education and policy experts attending the inaugural Africa-China-World Bank Education Partnership Forum.
JAPAN
Regional universities a new focus of research excellence
Suvendrini Kakuchi
A Japanese government plan to set up world-class centres for basic research in regional universities will strengthen its international competitiveness and narrow the gaping divide between Japan’s elite research institutions and regional universities.
CHINA
China pressures respected journal to censor articles
Yojana Sharma
A major academic publisher in the United Kingdom has caved in to China’s official censors and has blocked online access from that country to more than 300 articles in a leading academic journal – The China Quarterly – amid a Chinese government crackdown on 'Western' views.
INDIA
World-class universities plan has caste action flaw
Ranjit Devraj
Ministers have to rethink the plan to elevate 20 top universities to ‘world-class institutions’, because it runs afoul of the country’s affirmative action policy, under which half of university places must be reserved for students from socially 'backward classes'.
CHINA
Cash rewards soar for research published overseas
Yojana Sharma
Cash rewards to China’s scientists for research published in overseas journals have risen dramatically – reaching more than US$160,000 for papers appearing in the most prestigious Western journals, according to a just-published analysis, and dwarfing the average professor’s salary of US$8,600.
INDIA
IIMs gain greater autonomy, can award MBAs under new law
Ranjit Devraj
India’s prestigious Indian Institutes of Management or IIMs are set to gain increased autonomy after the lower house of parliament passed a bill anointing them ‘institutions of national importance’.
GLOBAL
US dominates, China second in Shanghai subject rankings
Brendan O’Malley
United States universities took 32 top positions out of 52 in this year’s ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, followed by China with eight, the Netherlands with five and the United Kingdom with three. The top institution was Harvard University with 15 top spots, while Massachusetts Institute of Technology landed five.
INDIA
Government rushes closure of Kashmir universities
Haroon Mirani
The government has rushed colleges and universities in Kashmir into a surprise early summer break in advance of expected political protests on the anniversary of the death of a popular rebel commander, which last year pushed Kashmir into five months of curfews, demonstrations and shutdowns.
SINGAPORE
University suspends professor after foreign spy charge
Yojana Sharma
The National University of Singapore has terminated the employment of Professor Huang Jing, identified on 4 August as a spy by Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs. The university said in a statement on the same day that Huang had been suspended without pay “with immediate effect”.
EGYPT-SOUTH KOREA
Higher education cooperation plan unveiled
Wagdy Sawahel
In what has been described as a ‘win-win’ deal, South Korea and Egypt have unveiled a higher education cooperation plan that includes the establishment of a joint institution, networking among universities in the two countries, and enhanced student and academic mobility.
NORTH KOREA
US travel ban will hit teaching at private university
Yojana Sharma
A United States decision to ban all travel by US citizens to North Korea from September will affect Pyongyang’s only private university, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in the North Korean capital, which employs a significant number of US citizens on its teaching staff.
MALAYSIA
Universities do not have genuine autonomy, report says
Anil Netto
Despite 17 of 20 public universities in Malaysia being awarded ‘autonomous’ status, academics have questioned whether there has been a real commitment by the government to devolve more powers to universities.
SRI LANKA
Government seizes control of private teaching hospital
Dinesh De Alwis
The government has approved a proposal made by the higher education and health ministers to take over a leading private medical teaching hospital following violent clashes involving protesters who are demanding it be closed down.
Asia Features
SINGAPORE
Could this be Asia’s first world top 10 university?
If Asian universities are going to break into the world’s top 10, the most likely candidate is Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, at least according to the new QS World University Rankings 2018. Other rankings tell a different story.
CHINA
Research could suffer as internet controls tightened
Yojana Sharma
Chinese internet restrictions, known as the ‘great firewall of China’, have often been an issue for Chinese academics who find their access to overseas research restricted. They have become more concerned as new internet controls look set to be introduced by February 2018.
Academic Freedom
THAILAND
Call for release of student imprisoned for Facebook post
Scholars at Risk has called on the global academic community to join a campaign urging the Thai authorities to release from prison and drop lèse majesté charges against law student and activist Jatupat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa for a Facebook post.
THAILAND
International academic conference participants charged
Suluck Lamubol
A professor who organised an international conference on Thai studies and four Thai academics and participants attending the conference have been charged with violating the military junta’s ban on political gatherings of more than five people.

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