International Educator - January/February 2013 - 63
The United States has been a leading destination for students from Asia for a long time. Dominance of the Western model of higher education and English as the lingua franca of academic interactions will no doubt remain strong for a long time to come. However, globalization at the regional level in Asia has been a growing force and trend, presenting itself as a competing force for highly reputable Western higher education establishments. With other Asian countries fast-growing their courses and degree programs taught entirely in English (which has been taking place in Korea, China, and Japan),13 U.S. students will find educational opportunities in Asia more accessible. With more incentives financially and with employment offered by Asian countries, more American students will go to Asian destinations, while the percentage of Asian students coming to the United States may slightly decrease. This has already happened: Many Asian-Muslim students have reported that they consider cultures in Singapore and Malaysia less discriminatory than those in the United States; additionally, more Indonesians are studying in China now than in the United States, and the number of Taiwanese and Japanese students in the United States has dropped significantly over the last decade. Despite the pattern of strong Asian growth, the United States is still the global research giant. It is expected to lead other countries with an anticipated 31 percent share of the world›s research spending in 2012. However, that percentage is changing. Asia is the fastest growing region in research and development spending, which presents more opportunities for U.S. researchers to either collaborate with their Asian colleagues or join their ranks directly in producing scholarship and knowledge. This collaboration and inclusion is highly welcomed by Asian governments and universities, as it further facilitates global knowledge transfer and sharing. The flow of talent between the United States and Asia is clearly shifting directions, although slowly, and still at a small scale. The phenomenon, for example, of a noticeable number of Korean scholars who obtained
doctorates from the United States returning to Korea to teach in their own universities provides an unsettling look into a possible future of declining U.S. hegemony over the «best brains.14 There are thousands of senior faculty and researchers either returning to China temporarily, or settling in China permanently, with attractive compensation packages and conducive work environments for their professional development. The Indian government is actively recruiting returnees to fill its vastly vacant seats on university campuses and research labs. New patterns of mobility have replaced the EastWest and North-South movement, so often associated with academic and professional career trajectories. No longer is there simply a mono-direction brain drain from Asia to the United States. IE
YENBO WU is associate vice president for international education at San Francisco State University and a current member of the NAFSA Board of Directors. He is a former Fulbright scholar to Japan.
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OECD report, Education at a Glance, 2011. Wildavsky, Ben. “University Globalization is Here to Stay.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 26, 2010 UNESCO, “The State of Higher Education in the World Today,” 2009. See note (1) above. Altbach, Philip. Foreward. Crossing Borders in East Asian Higher Education, 2010. Wheeler, David. “Asia Will Power Growth in Research and Development This Year,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 4, 2012 Knight, Jane. “Education Hubs: A Fad, a Brand, an Innovation?” Journal of Studies in International Education, July 2011.
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See note (1) above. Status report, “3rd Asia-Europe Meeting of Ministers for Education (ASEMME3),” May 9-10, 2011. See note (1) above. See note (1) above. “International Student Mobility in East Asia: Executive Summary,” prepared by JWT Education and published by the British Council, February 2008. See note (4) above. “American Universities in a Global Market,” Inside Higher Ed, August 31, 2010.
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