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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Showing posts for "Education"

Samsung Scandal, Islamic State and China, Philippine HIV, and More

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Samsung Group chief Lee Jae-yong arrives at the office of the independent counsel team in Seoul, South Korea, February 22, 2017. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

Rachel Brown, Sherry Cho, Larry Hong, and Gabriel Walker look at five stories from Asia this week.

1. Samsung heir indicted on corruption charges. Lee Jae-yong, the de facto head of Samsung Group, was formally indicted on Tuesday on bribery and embezzlement charges. Lee’s indictment was the culmination of a ninety-day special prosecutor investigation of an intensifying corruption scandal that has already brought about President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. Lee was arrested on February 17 but was not formally indicted until February 28 on charges that include allegedly paying roughly $38 million (43 billion won) to Choi Soon-sil, Park’s close confidante and corruption scandal linchpin, and two nonprofit foundations Choi controlled. Read more »

Time to Expand the Idea of “Abroad”

by Alyssa Ayres
A group of students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology pose on the steps of a vav (stepwell) with students from Sardar Patel University and nurses from Hinduja National Hospital during a study abroad trip to Gujarat, India. Photo by Daniel Oerther, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0, cropped from original.

This is International Education Week, an opportunity for the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Education to promote study abroad. As the State Department press release puts it, the week will emphasize “encouraging Americans and international students alike to seek opportunities to study abroad, make connections with peers in other countries, and ultimately to see themselves as actors in and shapers of both their local communities and a globalized future.” The State Department has also announced a partnership with Diversity Abroad to “work toward diversifying participation in international education overall.” Read more »

Podcast: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Schoolgirls practice martial arts during an event in Ahmedabad, India, December 16, 2015, to mark the third anniversary of the fatal gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus in December 2012. REUTERS/Amit Dave Schoolgirls practice martial arts during an event in Ahmedabad, India on December 16, 2015, to mark the third anniversary of the fatal gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus in December 2012. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

Over the course of the next decade, one million Indians are predicted to turn eighteen each month and India will be the youngest nation on earth by 2020. These young people are making new demands on their government such as greater job creation, improved teacher quality, and better air quality in cities. Are Indian leaders prepared to respond to these calls? Read more »

A Hard Landing for Chinese “Parachute Kids”?

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
A student eats dinner at Evergrande soccer academy in Qingyuan, southern China December 3, 2015. Picture taken December 3. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu A Chinese student eats dinner at a soccer academy. In recent years, the number of “parachute kids” studying in the United States without their parents has grown significantly. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Pei-Yu Wei is an intern for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

On February 17, 2016, three Chinese “parachute kids” were sentenced to prison after bullying their classmate last March in Rowland Heights, California. Yunyao “Helen” Zhai, Xinlei “John” Zhang, and Yuhan “Coco” Yang, were part of a group of twelve who kidnapped and assaulted a classmate over unsettled restaurant bills and arguments over a boy. After luring the victim to meet with them, the bullies took her to a park where they repeatedly beat her, kicked her with high-heels, and burned her with cigarette butts. Zhai, Zhang, and Yang were arrested, while the rest of the group fled, some reportedly back to China. Initially charged with torture, kidnapping, and assault, all three of the defendants plead no contest to the kidnapping and assault charges. In return, the torture charge was dropped. Zhai, Yang, and Zhang were sentenced to thirteen, ten, and six years, respectively, and will be immediately deported after completing their terms.

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Thailand’s Universal Eye Screening in Action

by Guest Blogger for Yanzhong Huang
Three elementary school girls at a primary school in Samutprakan, Thailand. This school was one of the pilot sites for the HITAP program for refractive eye screening. (Courtesy: Ariella Rotenberg)

Ariella Rotenberg is a research associate in U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

As of January 9, 2016, Thailand has implemented refractive error eye screening in first-grade classrooms nationwide. Additionally, any student that is identified with vision impairment through the refractive error screening, is guaranteed to be seen at the local hospital by an ophthalmologist and provided with glasses to correct for their impaired vision. Under this policy, it is estimated that 260,000 Thai children will be able to access spectacles that they need but may not have otherwise received. With the exceptions of South Korea and Iran, Thailand stands way ahead of the pack among Asian countries in having universal eye screening for children. Last September, the World Health Organization (WHO) hosted a meeting focused on promoting universal eye health across the Western Pacific region specifically because the region lags in providing universal vision care.

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Indonesia’s Education Gap

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Indonesian President Joko Widodo visits an elementary school in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan October 31, 2015. President Widodo this week cut short an official trip to the United States due to a haze crisis caused by raging peat fires in the Southeast Asian country. After weeks of hazardous air caused by haze-producing forest fires, people on Indonesia's southern Sumatra and Kalimantan islands have finally found respite after three days of persistent rain significantly improved the air quality and quelled many of the raging forest fires, according to the national disaster agency on Friday. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside Indonesian President Joko Widodo visits an elementary school in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan on October 31, 2015. (Darren Whiteside/Reuters)

Jake Thomases is a public policy analyst at the Risk Analysis Research Center.

Investors in Indonesia let out a small sigh of relief when Heri Sudarmanto, the director of foreign workers, announced on October 19 that foreign workers would not be required to pass Indonesian language tests after all. Just three days earlier, an official with the manpower ministry told reporters that such a test would be implemented. The language requirement, which has been proposed and rescinded more than once, is just the latest attempt to shield sectors of the Indonesian economy from outside competition. Such measures are puzzling and counterproductive given President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s pleas for infrastructure investment dollars during every state visit he makes. Against the backdrop of economic protectionism, such pleas come across as: “Bring us the money and we’ll tell you how to spend it.”

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Will Chinese Universities Go Global?

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
A student poses for a photo after a graduation ceremony at Tsinghua University in Beijing, July 11, 2006. About 4.1 million are expected to graduate this year, an increase of 22 percent over 2005, the official Xinhua news agency reported. REUTERS/Jason Lee (CHINA) A student poses for a photo after a graduation ceremony at Tsinghua University in Beijing, July 11, 2006. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Rachel Brown is a research associate in Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Amid the flurry of press coverage surrounding President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States in September, his gift of a dawn redwood tree to be planted on the campus of the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) program in Seattle received little attention. However, the GIX program, a collaboration between China’s prestigious Tsinghua University and the University of Washington, reflects a next step in China’s soft power strategy. Presenting a model for higher education has characterized global powers from nineteenth century Germany to the present day United States, and China now seems to be making a bid to promote its own educational model abroad. While over the past two decades, American and other foreign universities have flocked to establish campuses and centers in China, GIX will be the first outpost of a Chinese university in the United States.

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The Rising Anti-Intellectualism in China: Part II

by Yanzhong Huang
Graduates dressed up as red guards, wait for their picture to be taken, in front of a statue of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong at a university in Shanghai, June 19, 2015. (Reuters/Aly Song)

In my last blog post, I examined the rise of anti-intellectualism in China from a historical perspective. As if to corroborate my argument, last week police in China’s Jiangxi province detained Wang Lin, a semi-illiterate qigong (a Chinese spiritual martial art) mystic, for his role in the alleged kidnapping and murder of one of his former “disciples.” What dragged Wang into the limelight was not the incident itself, but the laundry list of his followers and clients exposed after Wang’s fall. They included Jack Ma, Jet Li, and a number of other celebrities and high-profile businessmen. Chinese websites also circulated photos showing Wang with high-ranking government officials, including several former Politburo Standing Committee members and at least four former central government ministers. Among them was the now disgraced railway minister Liu Zhijun, to whom Wang promised to set up a magic stone in his office so that he would never fall from power. Read more »

Few Takers for Hindi

by Alyssa Ayres
Indic Scripts, 2013. Photo by Rohini Lakshané licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Cropped from original.

Another year, another survey: the Modern Language Association (MLA) has released its quadrennial language enrollments survey of foreign languages in U.S. higher education. I’m sorry to report that American students continue to display very low interest in Indian languages. This continues a pattern going back decades. Despite the Indian economy’s rapid growth, and the increase in U.S.-India diplomatic ties, students in U.S. colleges and universities are not signing up for Indian languages at remotely the scale languages like Arabic, Chinese, or Korean experience. Read more »

India and U.S. Higher Education: Strong Indian Presence in the United States, but Americans Studying in India Still Meager

by Alyssa Ayres
Second EducationUSA Fair, Kolkata 2014. Photo by Biswarup Ganguly licensed under CC BY 3.0 / Cropped from original.

This week the Institute for International Education (IIE) released the latest survey data on foreign students, study abroad, and U.S. higher education. The survey, Open Doors, comes out annually and draws on data collected from around three thousand U.S. colleges and universities. Indian students are a strong presence on U.S. campuses, contributing an estimated $3.3 billion to the U.S. economy as IIE reports, using U.S. Department of Commerce data. This year, the number of Indian students in the United States surpassed the 100,000 mark, ticking up to 102,673, keeping India the number two country of origin for foreign students in the United States. Read more »