Around 500 education experts from 48 Asian countries gathered for a conference in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Wednedsay to discuss the advancement of universities toward internationalization.
At the three-day “Eighth QS Asia Pacific Professional Leaders in Education” (QS-APPLE) conference and exhibition hosted by the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), experts shared the common view that Asian universities have gained better recognition worldwide in line with the rise of Asia in the global arena.
Mandy Mok, managing director of QS Asia Quacquarelli Symonds, said Asian universities had performed well in the world university rankings. The region had a total of 19 universities in the top 100 universities in the 2012 QS World University Rankings this year, with the University of Hong Kong leading the pack in 23rd place.
Singapore saw its two universities, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, make it to the top of the rankings, she said.
“Universities in Asia are becoming more international, as seen in the rapid growth over the past few years of branch campuses in Asia from universities in the West,” she said, adding that China now hosted 17 branch campuses compared to 10 two years ago, followed by Singapore with 18, up from 12 in 2009.
Freddy Boey, a professor at Nanyang Technological University, said that with the rise of Asia, several Asian universities had in recent years acquired top academic rankings and achieved international recognition on a par with many of their iconic Western counterparts.
In his presentation on Strategies for Academic and Research Excellence for Asian Universities: Perspective from Singapore, he highlighted several significant factors that gave universities a critical competitive edge and building platform to become world-class institutions.
“As countries worldwide have become increasingly more interconnected due to globalization, universities have undergone significant change. To achieve and maintain academic and research excellence in today’s fast-paced knowledge economy, it is critical for universities to transcend traditional education.”
Aman Wiranatakusumah, chairman of the Indonesian Board of National Education Standards, and former Indonesian ambassador for UNESCO, presented his views on strategies for the internationalization of higher education.
“It requires appropriate academic and professional qualifications, including the comprehension of the global language, multicultural understanding and better human or soft skills,” the professor at IPB’s department of food science and technology said.
“Looking toward internationalization, universities should establish more attractive and higher quality academic programs, better institutional capacity and stronger international networking.”