Internationalisation, Education and Development Cooperation in East Asia

East Asia (defined here as including both Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia) is a region that has contributed greatly to the concept of an “Asia-Pacific Century.” This focus has been justified by the East Asian economic development “miracle,” the absence of interstate war in the “long peace of East Asia,” and an “Eastphalian peace.” Reference has also been made to East Asia’s other miracle, the decline of mass atrocities, while Freedom House notes that it is the only region of the world to have made significant gains in political freedoms in recent years. Education has been core to the regional “miracles,” and the governments of development success stories have looked to export their models through education, training, and development cooperation. Yet, many obstacles remain to a true internationalisation of higher education, and to the transfer of lessons to other countries in the region. These include a paucity of resources, a shortage of publishing outlets, language barriers, an emphasis on hard sciences and disciplines that promote economic growth (econophoria), and relatedly, the pull of policy-relevant work that offers greater prestige and financial rewards. In some cases, nationalism, and in other cases, a subaltern relationship to the West (sometimes both together), restrict regional educational and development cooperation. This presentation will discuss some of these issues and shortcomings, but also suggest opportunities for overcoming the challenges.

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