12 May , 2015
Asians Pursue More University Education
Choi Jung-Ah

(Photo : Xinhua)
According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, people who choose to go to university only mounted to 32,600,000 during the 1970s, but skyrocketed to 182,200,000 in 2011. Interestingly, East and South Asian students accounted for 46 percent of university entrants. Chindia – a portmanteau that refers to China and India – highly contributed to this increase of university entrants. To be specific on the numbers, the rate of university entrants in India was around 10.9 percent in 2003, but increased to 24.8 percent in 2012. Regarding the mainland of China, the rate of university entrants amounted to 15 percent, but increased by 11.7 percent in 2012. Adding up the numbers from Hong Kong, the total number of university entrants is expected to be higher since Hong Kong showed a doubled rate of the entrants from 31 percent in 2003 to 59.7 percent in 2012.
South Korea showed the highest rate of university entrants even though it already displayed a high rate of university entrants of 87.7 percent. In 2012, the rate was 98.3 percent. Japan showed a slower increase in the university entrants’ rate, amounting to 61.4 percent in 2012 and showing only a 10 percent increase in 9 years. The rate of university entrants in Thailand increased to 51.4 percent in 2012 from 40.8 percent in 2003.
Referring to the Asian Development Bank Report in 2011, there is a commonality among the Asian countries where the rate of university entrants has increased; the government facilitated private universities for fine quality education and motivated students to pay tuition. Cambodia and Laos adopted the tuition system in 1996 and 2011, respectively. Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand legally allowed for the establishment of private universities during the 1990s.
South Korea, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines are the countries with a firm tradition of private universities. Among these countries, South Korea has the highest rate (80%) of private university entrants, not to mention its highest university entrant rate in both private and state universities combined.
As Asians prefer university education, demand for prestigious universities abroad is also rising. According to UNESCO, the number of Asian students studying abroad increased in the past 15 years from 1998. Most of these students went to the United States and England. China accounts for a large portion of these students, showing a big increase from 119,465 in 1998 to 694,365 in 2012. India had a similar pattern with China, showing an increased rate from 54,618 in 1998 to 189,472 after 2013. Comparatively, there were only a small number of students moving from the United States and England.
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