Sociology and Social Anthropology Seminar Series: Asian Higher Education: Rise or Renaissance?
The Sociology Department Seminar Series invites international and national researchers to present and discuss on-going research.
Presented by Anthony Welch, School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney
15:00 - 17:00, Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Asia’s rise in higher education, including the spectacular rise of the giant of China, and also Asia’s minnow, Singapore, are becoming more well-known. Much less well-known is the long history of higher education in the region, together with its extraordinary diversity, that presents dual challenges to the higher education scholar. While its past still haunts its present, its many religious influences and ethnicities, as well as an array of more current developments, also present challenges. Two common themes are the attempt to balance local traditions while incorporating the best knowledge from outside, largely the West; and the differential development of individual Asian higher education systems. The latter is now challenging earlier core-periphery distinctions. The global knowledge system is now much more multipolar, with the rise of China as the most obvious example. Nonetheless, while highly developed systems such as Singapore compete vigorously internationally, middle income states such as Thailand and Malaysia harbor ambitions that are not always fulfilled, and very poor systems (such as Afghanistan, Laos) still struggle with basic issues of finance, governance, access and equity. Overall, it will be argued that, rather than referring to Asia’s rise in higher education, it is better understood as Asia’s renaissance, a view that accords better with the long history of forms and institutions of higher learning in the region.
Anthony Welch is Professor of Education in the School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, with decades of experience in both Asian and Australian education. A Fulbright, Tübitak, INRP and DAAD scholar with a substantial international publication and consultancy record, among recent books are Education, Change and Society (2018) and Higher Education in South East Asia. (2011). He has been Visiting Professor in the UK, USA, Germany France, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China and Turkey.
Room 119, Department of Sociology (House G), Sandgatan 11, Lund