10 January 2018

New paper: The challenges facing the Asian academic profession

In a CGHE working paper published today, Professor Futao Huang from Hiroshima University investigates the challenges facing academics in East and Southeast Asia.

The paper focuses both on countries with emerging higher education systems and on those with more mature systems.

The findings show that the challenges vary across the seven countries studied. In Japan and Taiwan, academics report deteriorating working conditions and both countries face the problem of an ageing academic workforce. Meanwhile, countries with developing higher education systems, such as Cambodia and Vietnam, require greater academic capacity to meet the growing demand for higher education. Unsatisfactory governance and management arrangements were reported in Japan and China, and the study also reveals differences in the balance of research and teaching undertaken by academics across the region.

Professor Huang argues that while global factors play a role, some of the variations are due to national contexts and reflect the region’s increasingly diversified academy.

He highlights the need for research into how political decisions could improve academic outcomes within a broader range of countries.

He concludes that policymakers should address the challenges associated with an ageing academic population and should look at how to improve academic working conditions in countries with near universal access to higher education. They should also focus on how to build an academic workforce of sufficient quality to meet the needs of rapidly expanding higher education systems.