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20th Jan 2012

The demographic challenge facing East Asian universities

Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea have already faced the tough reality of a demographic decline in student numbers; now China is encountering the same challenging issue. Yojana Sharma of University World News reports that census figures show that China's birthrate is falling, and at the same time its population is ageing faster than expected. The article quotes the OECD as declaring that: "Japan, Korea and China are the countries that will experience the most notable, continuous long-term decrease of the 18 to 23 population." China’s demographic slump in student numbers may be more recent in development than it has been in Japan and South Korea, but it will likely be more visible given the much greater size of the higher education market in China. Sources quoted in the article predict the decline may manifest in terms of:

  • More cutthroat competition among Chinese higher education institutions for students
  • More targeted programming among Chinese universities as they court niche groups of students
  • More emphasis on recruiting students from coastal and countryside-dwelling Chinese students, where participation rates are below capacity
  • Falling study abroad rates among Chinese students
  • Possible failure of some Chinese universities as demand falls
  • Probable increase in quality of programming among those that remain competitive

For more details, please see the full University World News article. Source: University World News

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