Education hubs - reality or rhetoric?12 March 2011 - 14:00
Many countries aspire to be international or regional hubs, but what is the reality? This session will examine three contrasting examples – Malaysia as an established hub, but with aspirations to broaden its attraction as a destination for postgraduate students, the emergence of a new knowledge hub in Asia: Sri Lanka, and a critical analysis of the aspiration to make Hong Kong a regional education hub.
Like many other countries, Malaysia aspires to develop an international educational hub based around the postgraduate education market. This policy has been integral to the Malaysian government's unique and perhaps unsurpassed efforts to ‘marketise’ its higher education sector in recent times. However, to sustain its attraction to international fee-paying students, Malaysian Higher Education may need to address some of the obstacles and frustrations often or typically encountered by such students and researchers. This presentation investigates the idea that both academic and 'social support' structures together provide the crucial key to sustainability in Malaysian Universities.
Post-war Sri Lanka with its accelerated economic growth is becoming a highly attractive higher education destination for the new and emerging middle class in the region. Low-cost living, high-quality education standards, safe environment and, a rich and diverse culture are some of the key offerings that set Sri Lanka as a global higher education destination. The presentation will also focus on the government initiatives to encourage foreign universities to setup campuses in Sri Lanka.
Hong Kong has promulgated the notion of Hong Kong as a regional education hub. However, this has been developed as a policy without a sufficient analysis of the market. The universities have in fact expanded their international student numbers significantly in the past decade and will be constrained in extending this much further beyond the level existing policy allows (a maximum of 20% of first year intake). There are also significant constraints, particularly immigration constraints There is also a shortage of student accommodation to cater for expansion of overseas, including mainland students. The results of research in this area are presented and the conclusion is reached that the education hub policy is rather more state rhetoric than market reality.
This session will be of interest to policy makers, institutional senior managers and practitioners.
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