- Between the fall of 2013 and fall of 2014, first-time graduate enrolment in the US went up by 3.5%
- Over the same period, first-time enrolment for international students grew by 11.2%
- Over two-thirds of the growth over the past decade has been fuelled by international students
- The main focus areas for international students in the US is in STEM fields
Earlier this month, the US Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) reported that first-time graduate enrolment in the country went up by 3.5%. The growth, tracked between the fall of 2013 and fall 2014, is the largest one-year increase since 2009. While this bodes well for future enrolment trends, America’s graduate enrolment remain below its peak in 2009 growing only by 0.4% between 2013 to 2014. Read more
In recent weeks, The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that the US House of Representatives has passed a bill that would require all colleges and universities in the US that enrol foreign students with the issuance of I-20’s to be accredited.
Lawmakers in the US approved the H.R. 3120 bill, making it mandatory for all institutions of higher education enrolling 25 foreign students or more, to have certified accreditation, nationally or regionally, that is recognized by the US Department of Education.
This move comes as part of the effort by the US to close a major loophole in the foreign student visa system passed in the wake of 9/11 attacks, wherebyfraudulent colleges have taken in foreign students by the thousands by luring them the right to work in the United States. Senator Chuck Grassley said, “This is a national security matter. Foreign student visas were issued to terrorists who attacked the United States both in 1993 and on September 11.” Representative Zoe Lofgren lauded the approval of the bill by the US House of Representative, believing that the accreditation requirements will prevent unauthorized institutions from deceiving genuine foreign seeking education in the United States. He further added, “In addition, this requirement will prevent fly-by-night institutions from engaging in student-visa fraud to smuggle or traffic persons into the country.” Read more
The US Department of Education recently released the College Score – an online portal aimed to help prospective students get the best bang for their education dollars by finding the college that fits them. Following President’ Obama’s recent State of the Union address, the College Scorecard is part of the US government’s efforts to hold higher learning institutions accountable for cost, value and quality, to help students choose schools that meet their needs – from affordability, to educational and career goals. 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
Currently, only about 15% of Vice-Chancellors and 8% of Deputies have significant and relevant overseas management experience
A new study conducted by The Penang Institute analyzing the latest data from 2013 by Malaysia’s Ministry of Education found that poor leadership from the top management may be the cause of financial pressure and poor overall quality outcomes seen at private institutions in Malaysia.
The research examined publicly-available data and studied the diversity of top management teams in Malaysia’s private higher education institutions (HEIs) and found them to share disproportionately high similarities in terms of background, demographics and experience.
Penang Institute General Manager and Serdang MP, Ong Kian Ming stated that “[the] data showed that around 90% of Malaysian Vice-Chancellors were men and only 20% of their Deputy Vice-Chancellors were women.” Age was also highly concentrated – 56% of Vice-Chancellors aged sixty years old & 32% in their fifties – showing close to nine out of 10 being aged in their fifties and above. What is even more worrying is that, the next generation were also close to the end of their careers. Almost half (47%) of Deputy Vice-Chancellors were in their sixties with 34% in their fifties. Read more
A recent World Bank report highlighted that Indonesia is currently facing a developmental crossroad. It has now grown to one the world’s 20 largest economies in the world and aims to be the top 10 largest economies globally by 2030; certainly bold and bodacious goals. Looking at growing major trends and developments not only in Indonesia but also the region – particularly a growing middle class, rapid urbanization, strong growth in the region and an opening up of regional markets in Southeast Asia with the Asian Economic Corridor (AEC) – this has resulted in new challenges as well as strong opportunities for Indonesia, especially in the country’s education sector.
Critical to be competitive
The World Bank believes that having a skilled labor force would be crucial to leverage on the country’s existing opportunities. The World Bank further adds,
“Without the right skills, opening up to ASEAN may pose a problem more than an opportunity [whereby] without the right skills or urban migrants, urbanization will not bring about the benefits of scale. [If youths don’t possess the right skills,] the growing demand for higher quality products and services may be met by importing them rather than increasing the value added of Indonesian firms.”
It is clear that for Indonesia future’s success, the country will need to have a serious look at improving its state of education – simplifying access to all levels of education and improved parity of graduate skills to its future labor requirements.
While general unemployment rates in Indonesia has been on a downward trend in recent years (ranging from 6-9& over recent years, and 5.9% in 2014), it is increasingly worrying to note that unemployment rate is highest among high school and higher education graduates (aged between 12 – 24 years old). In fact, the unemployment rate for those aged between 15 – 24 is alarmingly far above the national average. Fresh graduates from high schools, colleges and vocational schools are finding it difficult to secure a job in the national workforce. Read more
With the announcement of the upcoming 11th Malaysia Plan 2015 today, we’re excited to see what the Malaysian government has planned in its commitment to being a world-class economy – and leading regional education hub. Just last month, Malaysia’s higher education sector received a boost with the launch of The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015 – 2025 (Higher Education). This landmark blueprint was launched in Kuala Lumpur by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, where he emphasised three critical themes, known as the “Three B’s”:
Focus on offering world-class quality higher education to attract international students and nurture domestic talent
Vision for Malaysia to be in the top one-third of global leading destinations for higher education and to increase the rankings of local universities in world rankings
Graduates of Malaysian universities to achieve ideal balance of being equipped with skills (ilmu) and good morals (akhlak), to be put into practice
New times, new priorities
Speaking on the creation of the blueprint which took two years to complete, Education Ministry Secretary General II Dato’ Seri Ir Dr. Zaini Ujang said that the publication was the result of 10,500 people collectively represented by stakeholders, school administrators, unions, alumni and also students with 14 chapter-writing teams and 20 lead authors. Replacing the previous blueprint done in 2006, The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015 – 2025 (Higher Education) reflects the changes that have since passed and therefore needed to be updated (including changing the target to host 250,00 by 2025, instead of 200,000 by 2020). Professor Zaini continued,
“[The] blueprint is crucial to outline what is new in higher education. We didn’t want to use what we planned back in 2006 because much time has passed since then. There have been a lot of new developments and so we [needed] to update our strategies. [For example,] many people [now] learn through mobile devices. Students already have this ‘machine’ – their handphones. So, we have to leverage on it.”
The blueprint also highlighted the challenges Malaysia’s higher education system faces with regard to domestic and global labour markets that must be overcome including:
1) Graduates with poor English-language proficiency and lacking in critical thinking and communication skills
2) Lack of links and support between academia and industry, especially in research & development and commercialisation
3) Systemic shortcomings that hamper the efficiency and financial sustainability of the system