Administration and Governance of Higher Education in Asia: Patterns and Implications

Higher education in Asia is facing many unprecedented challenges. The race to restructure and reform higher education systems is accelerating among developing countries in the region.

Most countries have resorted to granting more institutional autonomy to higher education institutions (HEIs) with the hope that the increasing management flexibility will expedite the process of higher education development. Countries in the Asian region have reached different stages and have developed their own definitions of autonomy and reform measures, due to disparities in their political and social structures as well as the backgrounds of their higher education systems. Despite their differences, countries in Asia share one common element, viz., the higher education sector is a strategic lever for long-term and sustainable development.

It is commonly viewed in Asia that higher education is more than the provision of a public good but is also a strategic move toward greater growth and social solidarity. As reflected in the Roadmap for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community 2009-2015, highlighting higher education reinforces the aim to establish an ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) through which awareness, mutual understanding, and respect for the different cultures, languages, and religions of the people of ASEAN are expected (ASEAN 2009). Above all, the ASCC also envisions the end goal of economic integration, aiming to create a single market and production base, making ASEAN more dynamic and competitive.

Apart from the focus on human resource development, governments and HEIs in this region are well aware of the importance and the meaning of "adaptation" as a result of the changed objectives and vision of the higher education sector. At the level of both national and institutional governance, governments and HEIs have had to adapt to counter the common problems of higher education, including quality, access, equity, and outdated governance systems.

Increasing autonomy seems to be the aim of most countries in the region, and, while admittedly it sounds like policy jargon, it holds the key to solving the problems and securing the success of higher education development. The degree of success in transforming the higher education sector into a development lever depends very much on the capability of both national agencies and HEIs to work together to create more alignment, lessening tension and achieving a more balanced governance system.

This publication, Administration and Governance of Higher Education in Asia: Patterns and Implications, provides timely analysis in this important field of higher education reform in the Asian region, with emphasis on Southeast Asia. It analyzes higher education and governance issues by grouping countries into clusters that share the same political and higher education background, as well as similar measures adopted to carry out the reform, so as to better illustrate the picture of higher education reform in the region.

Drawing on the analysis and findings presented in this publication, the following operational recommendations are presented to development partners, such as the Asian Development Bank, for helping developing countries in the region in their efforts to improve the administration and governance of higher education:

  • Foreword
  • Challenges in Administration and Governance of Higher Education in Asia
  • Key Characteristics of National Governance Structures
  • Recent Successful Policy Reforms, Legal Amendments, and Strategies for Higher Education
  • Institutional Governance and Management of Public Higher Education Institutions
  • Recommendations
  • References

This page was generated from /publications/administration-and-governance-higher-education-asia-patterns-and-implications on 07 July 2024

Source URL: