Magazine article International Educator

Regional Globalism and International Higher Education in Asia

Magazine article International Educator

Regional Globalism and International Higher Education in Asia

Article excerpt

HIGHER EDUCATION GLOBALIZATION HAS BEEN GROWING with galloping speed. The number of college students worldwide studying outside their borders jumped from 0.8 million in 1975 to 2 million in 2001, reaching close to 3.7 million in 2009.1 It is expected to triple to roughly 8 million by 2025.2 The percentage of young people enrolled in higher education institutions increased from 19 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2007.3 Overseas branch campuses are approaching the 200 mark, and many countries have established educational "hubs" or "cities." Dual and double degree programs have grown, starting mostly from European countries, and twinning/transfer articulation programs have a long tradition of success in several Asian countries. With increased competition in global higher education, the global movement of talent has never been so active, and the directions of "brain" flow never so diverse. And Asia is at the forefront of many of these developments.

Student Mobility Across Asian Borders

Worldwide, 52 percent of international students come from Asia.4 The top sending countries are China, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Meanwhile, student mobility within Asia- particularly within East and Southeast Asia- has been equally, if not more, robust. The traditional "sending countries" of China, South Korea, and Japan now attract mainly students from other Asian countries to study in their own.'

This trend is going to accelerate, with ambitious plans for growth from both Asian governments and institutions. According to the Vision 2020 report from the United Kingdom, Asia is set to account for 70 percent of the global demand for international higher education by 2025.

Increase in Intra-Asia Collaboration

This international education development is not limited to student mobility - Asia is making strides in other areas as well. The top five countries in terms of growth in research and development spending from 19962007 were China, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan.6 Well-developed higher education systems in Asia are learning torn each other in building worldclass research universities, and following each other in attracting talent from outside their borders.

One prominent area of intra-Asia development is the creation of education hubs and education cities. These cities and hubs provide opportunities for intra-regional collaboration and competition for talents and resources, as well as the market share of globally and regionally mobile students. The Global Schoolhouse in Singapore, for example, plans to recruit 150,000 international students from Asia and beyond by 20157 In Malaysia, several institutions are working together to promote the country as a major regional hub of higher education with the Kuala Lumpur Education City project. Educational promotion offices supported by the Malaysian government have also been established in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates.

What Propelled Intra-Aslan Regionalization Trends?

There are multiple factors behind Asia's dramatic rise in international education activities, and its attractiveness for intra-regional collaborations. Geographical proximity, historical links between countries, and cultural aspirations all might be reasons.8 The strongest force should be Asia's economic vigor and vitality. Asia is in the middle of historic transformation, particularly in economic development If the region continues to follow its current trajectory, its per capita income could rise six-fold by 2050, to reach European levels today. By nearly doubling its share of global gross domestic product (GDP) to 52 percent by 2050, Asia would regain the dominant economic position held some 300 years ago, before the Industrial Revolution. Economically, regional cooperation is critical for Asia's march toward prosperity.

Improved quality and standards in education have also helped retain Asian students. Quality assurance and accreditation procedures have been the subject of regional discussions. …

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