Based on the latest rankings for higher education, almost one in eight of the global’s top 200 universities are from Asia, as ranked in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014/15. A similar pattern holds true for the QS World University Rankings 2014/15 where one in five universities in the top 200 are from Asia. This year alone, the region further added four additional institutions to the THE’s Top 200; at this pace, a quarter of the world’s best universities could be Asia by 2040, excluding Australian universities, which some consider as part of the Asian block. The gains Asian universities have made in recent years provide an interesting trend of the growing influence of higher learning in the region.
Editor of Times Higher Education Rankings, Phil Baty says, “The world expects that Asia will be the next global higher education superpower.”
These numbers are no mere matter methodology. Instead, the growing number of institutions from emerging economies brings to light the acceleration of higher education and more importantly, the significant investments in building capacity and capabilities for teaching and research. It is in recent years that we’re feeling the impact in terms of mobility.
As an example, enrollment in the US from China has experienced a shift in recent years. More Chinese students are pursuing undergraduate programs in the US while overall demand for US graduate programs – traditionally the core of enrollment of Chinese to the US – has dipped. While there are several factors that contribute to this, perhaps the most profound is the growing strength of academics of universities in China, and across the region. This growth is in tandem with the efforts China has pumped into its higher education sector, more specifically its graduate education, across thousands of universities. With the majority of its professors having received a Western education, the calibre, style and quality of teaching very much mirrors that of the West as well. In short, Chinese students have better access to world-class graduate studies at home; as such, more and more students are making that choice. Read more
In the world of higher education, there has been much discourse and claims of a shifting global movement gravitated towards Asia. Indeed, it is not unusual to also hear and read about the region’s profound transformation and rise over the past half-century since the 70s to the present day.
Asia has undergone unprecedented economic growth over the last few decades resulting in driving major social and demographic change as well as institutional reform. In some countries, for the most part, this has brought about greater stability, infrastructure and more sound policies and regulations. The rise of a large and growing middle class together with increased openness, market reforms and regional initiatives such as ASEAN to unite and increase its global competitiveness has brought about greater interconnectedness amongst Asian countries and the rest of the world.
The higher education sector in the region has also reflected these dynamics, which is no surprise considering the economic boom in many fast-growing Asian countries is linked to a knowledge-based economy – knowledge production, advanced skills and an overall rising demand for higher education. In fact, it is estimated that by 2020, China alone will account for 30% of the world’s university graduates aged between 25 to 34 years old. Asia’s third largest economy, India is also projected to add 300 million people to the workforce in the next 2 decades – that, by the way, is the equivalent size of the entire population of the United States. On top of these big players, let’s not forget hot emerging countries that have undergone strong transformation or are part of the global competition and experienced rapid economic growth and taken steps to internationalize their higher education institutions, such as Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. Let’s look at the higher education landscape in Asia from the view of international engagement between Asian countries versus the rest of the world as well as domestic higher education developments of Asian countries.
A recent Open Doors 2014 statistics show a clear pattern that affirms the surge in mobility out of Asia, as well as into Asia. Delving deeper, we see many Asian faculty who return to leadership positions in their countries having obtained their PhDs from either US or European universities. On top of that, there is an increasingly growing segment of post-secondary students in Asia that plan to study abroad, likely in the US, Australia or Europe. This isn’t surprising. Consider this – Asian students make up a whopping 64% of the total international student body in the US. What does all this mean for Asia’s higher education landscape? Read more