Facts and Data about Higher Education in Asia

Demand for higher education across Asia and the Pacific has exploded in recent years but can the system cope? Here are 12 facts and figures on issues challenging the region's university system today.

  1. Over the last 20 years, higher education systems across Asia have experienced a sharply increased demand for access.
    Source: Higher Education Across Asia: An Overview of Issues and Strategies
  1. Universities in many developing member countries suffer from inadequate infrastructure and weak instruction. Low quality is the greatest challenge facing higher educations systems across the region.
    Source: Education and Skills: Strategies for Accelerated Development in Asia and the Pacific
 
  1. Financial support for higher education dropped sharply in the 1990s and 2000s as the central development challenge of the era was to expand access to basic education.
    Source: Higher Education Across Asia: An Overview of Issues and Strategies
 
  1. The World Bank has argued that sustainable poverty reduction will not be achieved without a renaissance in the higher education systems of developing countries.
    Source: Higher Education in Developing Countries: Peril and Promise
 
  1. Countries that give individuals one additional year of education can boost productivity and raise economic output by 3% to 6% over time.
    Higher Education Across Asia: An Overview of Issues and Strategies
  1. In any analysis of higher education issues across Asia, generalizations must be treated with great caution. The region includes some of the most affluent economies - Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore - as well as some of the poorest like Cambodia and Lao PDR. It also includes PRC and India, the fastest growing higher education systems in the world.
    Source: Higher Education Across Asia: An Overview of Issues and Strategies
 
  1. Unemployment among university graduates in Southeast Asia is on the rise – the highest is in Indonesia and Philippines.
    Source: Higher Education Across Asia: An Overview of Issues and Strategies
  1. A World Bank study noted that 80% of Thai firms had difficulties filling jobs as graduates lacked basic and technical skills.
    Source: Higher Education Across Asia: An Overview of Issues and Strategies
  1. Corruption is a major problem within universities in some developing member countries in Asia, evidenced by instances of plagiarism, falsification of data, and cheating on examinations.
    Source: Improving Instructional Quality: Focus on Faculty Development
 
  1. Across Asia, more faculty members are needed, with higher qualifications and better wages - current academic staff are stretched as they seek ways to make ends meet, and the attractiveness of the profession is declining.
    Source: Improving Instructional Quality: Focus on Faculty Development.
 
  1. In Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, and Philippines, private universities enroll the majority of students - in some cases up to 80%.
    Source: Higher Education Across Asia: An Overview of Issues and Strategies
  1. Since 1970, ADB has provided about $7.5 billion in loans to the education sector, of which 12% was for higher education.
    Source: Higher Education Across Asia: An Overview of Issues and Strategies