• September 4, 2015

'Campus Asia' Project Aims to Harmonize Higher Education in the Region

East Asia's three big education markets have taken a small step toward integration with the first government-level meeting aimed at increasing the regional mobility of students and professors.

Dubbed "Campus Asia," the project is intended to harmonize China, Japan, and South Korea's colleges and ultimately keep more students in the region, which is a major supplier of undergraduates to American and European campuses.

Representative from the three governments met in Tokyo last Friday. The committee has agreed to explore credit transfers, exchange programs, and quality control in universities across the region.

A series of meetings rotating among the three participating nations, with the next one in China this fall, will flesh out the details, says Yuichi Tanaka, a spokesman for Japan's Ministry of Education. "There are many problems to overcome."

Japan, China, and South Korea together send more than 200,000 college students to the United States each year. Campus Asia is the latest attempt to bridge the formidable cultural, linguistic, and structural barriers in the region's higher-education market. Earlier this year, Japan announced plans to standardize student-evaluation methods with universities in China and South Korea, the possible first step in a Pan-Asian student-exchange program.

Universities in the three counties swap academic credits at their own discretion, but many colleges refuse to recognize foreign-based evaluation systems.


1. 22286593 - April 20, 2010 at 04:48 pm

If these disparate higher educational systems are indeed able to harmonize, the biggest winner will be the U.S. high education system since it will serve as the de facto model. From the academic calendar to what constitutes an undergraduate degree, it will be the U.S. system that will be the simplest to model and easiest to define. Once harmonized, it will ironically make it easier for students in these countries to transfer to the U.S. for their college degrees--for many students in less than top-tier institutions, this will become a very attractive option since U.S. college degrees in Asia (particularly in China and South Korea) are still viewed as substantially better than degrees from middling Asian universities. Moreover, even in Japan, direct foreign investments are creating substantial number of jobs in transnational companies in Asian metropoles where U.S. college degree is becoming a requirement. These companies pay much higher wages than domestic employers, have better system of promotion (esp. for women), and much better working conditions. All of this points to intra-Asia harmonization leading to more students coming to the U.S.--not less.

2. bfer9345 - April 21, 2010 at 10:46 am

The International Association of Medical Colleges has established international standards for medical education. See www.iaomc.org The scientific foundation of medicine education should be universal. The human specie is but one. Disease and aflictions know no national borders. Regional organizations are a good first step, but internationalization should be the goal

3. bjmasshardt - April 21, 2010 at 09:25 pm

This is a joke. The Japanese government has no idea of what it is doing. For examples, I need cite no more than the wacky Global-30 initative, and the irresponsible 300,000 incoming (ONLY) student plan.

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