HE News Brief 9.7.12
By Abby Chau
- MALAYSIA: Positioning itself as a major international hub
- SOUTH KOREA: Opposition party contemplates SNU
- TAIWAN: Professor calls for reforms
- UK: HESA publishes employability stats
When the Malaysian government audited the country’s higher education in the 1990s and determined that the country was not able to accommodate its population with its current system of public universities, new internationalisation policies were put in place in order to fill the gap. Partnerships with foreign universities and branch and online universities have flourished, particularly after the passage of the Education Act of 1996 which loosened the foreign institution market. During the period after the passage of the act, Malaysia saw its higher education system expand with approximately 70 collaborations with UK institutions by 1999 and the number of foreign students in Malaysian universities grew by 36.9%. The country has ambitious goals for 2020, it aims to enrol 200,000 international students as it seeks to position itself as a major hub for international education.
The opposition party in South Korea, the Democratic United Party (DUP), has claimed that it is considering restructuring Seoul National University as one of its campaign pledges. The party claims that the university is too concentrated in talent, reputation, and it promotes too much competition from college rankings. The DUP says that it is draining regional universities of talent and thus creating economic imbalance. Instead, the DUP claims, it supports spreading SNU’s undergraduate programmes to regional campuses in order to spread faculty, intellect, and talent. Some critics of the proposal says that other elite universities, like Yonsei and Korea, will just take its place if SNU is dismantled. The goverment election is being held at the end of this year.
A Taiwanese professor has decried the state of the country’s higher education system. National Chengchi University professor Chi Tsung says that the liberal arts education in Taiwan is too focused on employability and should instead place a higher value in educating students on how to make bold decisions and become the country’s future leaders. Chi Tsung says that institutions in Malaysia should model itself on Williams College in the US and the newly formed collaboration Yale-NUS college. However Taiwanese minister of education Chiang Wei-Ling says that Singaporean universities charge substantially more for tuition than Taiwanese universities therefore it should focus on its own strengths.
The Higher Education Statistics Agency has just released figures showing that more than a fifth of graduates do not find a job after graduation. The figures show that which university students attend does have an impact on their employability. For example, graduates from specialised universities fare much better. The Institute of Education, Royal Academy of Music, Arts University College in Bournemouth, and the School of Pharmacy, for example, see close to 100% employability rates. On the other side of the spectrum, East London University, Bolton University, and London South Bank university have approximately 20% employability rates.