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Tertiary education in Asia Pacific - statistics & facts

Tertiary education, the step beyond high school, differs in the Asia Pacific region from country to country. As time advances and economies evolve, some countries in Asia Pacific stand in the foreground as undisputed leaders in the tertiary education sector. The region is home to many respected universities. Recently, there appears to have been an emerging realization among Asia Pacific countries that a stronger education sector is needed for industrial and economic advancement. Likely, due to the fact that highly qualified and educated professionals, gained from quality tertiary education, are needed to propel industries along a consistent path of improvement. Unsurprisingly, a number of the world’s most esteemed universities are situated in the Asia Pacific region.

Many countries across the Asia Pacific region to have impressive higher education sectors. South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Australia are just some of the countries which have prestigious higher education institutions. Many Asia Pacific universities also have the capacity to accept huge numbers of students. Famous western universities also have partner institutions in Asia Pacific countries, such as Singapore and Malaysia. In order for these tertiary education systems to reach the level desired, countries across the Asia Pacific region have invested more money into their education. Emerging economies, such as Vietnam, have started to increase education expenditure. Thailand, another ASEAN country, has also allocated more funds to its education sector.

International students are seen as vital for the development and constant improvement of higher education institutions. Tuition fees provide universities with the necessary budget to continue pivotal research while providing the best quality education and learning environment. Australia is just one example of an Asia Pacific country which receives huge amounts of money from international students. However, the enticement of international students is not only a means for Asia Pacific education sectors to receive more investments, but it also promotes healthy international relations. The nurturing of foreign relations not only creates positive economic effects but encourages educational relationships between Asia Pacific and western regions. One such relationship is ASEM which aims to strengthen educational bonds between Asia and Europe. Other educational strategies in the Asia Pacific region aim to provide easy student mobility; increased post-graduation employment opportunities; and acceptance of foreign educational qualifications.

In today’s progressive and competitive climate, the most popular degree courses chosen in the Asia Pacific region are the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Alongside these degrees, business and management courses have proven desirable. Teaching across the Asia Pacific region is also seen to cater to these subjects, with the most tertiary educators in South Korea dedicated to teaching engineering. Graduates from these study areas are seen as those individuals who can power the diverse industries across the region. Countries such as Thailand have exhibited a demand for engineering and business graduates. Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea all push for STEM graduates. Furthermore, these aforementioned countries have been recognized as having some of the most innovative universities in Asia Pacific, in terms of advancing science and inventing technologies which are beneficial to new industries.

Judging by Asia Pacific’s current educational success it could be well justifiable to determine the future of its tertiary education sector will remain strong. Interestingly, it already appears there is a focus to push tertiary education in Asia Pacific towards digitization. Educational institutions are beginning to make the transition towards technological methods of learning, seemingly to enhance learning potential further. With the Asia Pacific region becoming more renowned as a digital hub, it does not seem surprising that its tertiary education sector is also making this step.

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Tertiary education in Asia Pacific

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