Overview: Growth of English-taught programmes and courses in East Asia, ACA Newsletter guest article by Prof. Futao Huang, Research Institute for Higher Education, Hiroshima University, Japan.
There has seen a rapid increase in the numbers of English-taught programmes and courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels in China, Japan and South Korea in the past decade. Rationales and motivations driving the emergence and development of English-taught programmes and courses vary considerably among the three countries, but it is generally acknowledged that economic globalisation and internationalisation of higher education are common factors facilitating the internationalisation of university curriculum, including the development of English-taught programmes and courses.
Besides, in the case of East Asia, the decisive role of national governments should not be overlooked. For example, a document issued by the Ministry of Education of P. R. China in 2001 indicates that in the three years that followed, the percentage of courses taught in English among all the courses in the leading universities should go up from 5% to 10%, especially in such areas as Biology, Information Science, New Materials, International Trade, Law, and at the undergraduate level. At a policy level, though later than China and Korea, in 2008, Japan’s Government also launched the Global 30 programme as one of initiatives aiming to triple the number of foreign students by 2020. In order to achieve the goal, 13 universities, including 7 national and 6 private, were selected to play a central role in implementing the programme. These Global 30 universities were required to provide at least two English-taught degree programmes and accept more international students. Similar to China, since early 2000s, the South Korean Government has allocated additional budget for colleges and universities to increase the provision of English-medium teaching through various national programmes or projects, e.g., BK 21 project. Read more...