AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 430

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Session 430: Innovations in Education in Asia: Private Sector Growth, Government Reform and Emerging Models of Best Practice? - Sponsored by The Japan Foundation, Center for Global Partnership

Organizer: Kathryn C. Ibata-Arens, DePaul University, USA

Chair: Gerald Hane, Independent Scholar, Japan

Discussant: Gerald Hane, Independent Scholar, Japan

How are national governments in Asia meeting 21st century challenges to improve the skill base of their citizens in seeking employment that contributes to rising standards of living and sustainable economic development, while strengthening national economies? This proposed panel contributes to the cross-national and interdisciplinary dialog concerning innovative approaches in education policy and practice. Asian countries in particular are placing an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the hopes of stimulating high technology entrepreneurship and the emergence of new high growth industries. “Cram” schools, which focus on rote memorization (e.g. math) are an integral part of the education system in a number of Asian countries, while inroads are also being made in enrichment (hands-on activities supplementing learning for high ability students) and online learning. How is success in these practices in Asia balanced against what can be seen as a neglect of traditional sectors? What are the societal implications of a decline in national funding for cultural and liberal arts education? Are these countries developing a national education system that supports a healthy national innovation system, and can (and should) these practices be modeled elsewhere? Panel contributors have expertise in innovation policy (Hane, Ibata-Arens) and comparative education policy (Baek, Dierkes, Zhao). Baek provides an overview of trends in the provision of online learning in a number of Asian countries, including Korea and Vietnam. Dierkes shows how growth in private sector supplemental education in Korea and Taiwan has resulted in public sector innovations, while not in Japan. Ibata-Arens compares enrichment education in China, Japan, Korea and Singapore and finds that Japan lags behind innovations in education elsewhere in Asia. Zhao analyzes attempts by the Chinese government and universities to promote entrepreneurship education. As discussant, Hane will prompt debate and conversation, given his extensive experience in national level policy making and analysis in the United States and Japan. To facilitate audience participation, exchange of ideas and critical feedback, papers will be made available one month prior to the panel. Research for this panel was sponsored in part by the Fulbright New Century Scholars Program, 2009-2010 University as Innovation Driver Project.

Survey and Analysis of Trends in Online Education in the Pacific Rim Region
John Baek, Oregon State University, USA

The impact of online education efforts has been of continued interest to many different parties, governmental, professional, commercial, and education communities (OECD, 2001). Important questions are raised about the public interest and the public good especially where there are different responses in different countries; across countries and those involving public-private partnerships. This paper will present a survey/review of online K-12, postsecondary, and adult education programs in Asian countries (including Korea, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam) and the United States (including states of Oregon and Alaska). The data collected will develop profiles of online education in each country and inform a portfolio analysis (innovations, audiences, problematics) of global online education trends. Online education is examined by how different models may be align with different goals aligned with types of innovation capital: intellectual capital (new curriculum or knowledge that serves national or economic needs), social capital (meeting educational needs for those traditionally underserved), financial capital (offering educational opportunities at lower costs), and physical capital (replacing facilities). The paper will conclude with a discussion of the possibility of a move toward an Asian model for online education.

The Impact of Private-Sector Innovations on Public Primary and Secondary Education in Japan
Julian Dierkes, University of British Columbia, Canada

The Japanese government has long publicly disavowed the existence of a large-scale supplementary education industry (juku and yobiko). Recently, waves of moral panics regarding education (bullying, breakdown of classroom discipline, decline of academic abilities, school refusal, etc.) have led to a profound sense of insecurity among parents. This overall decline in trust in public education is leading to local policy innovations like the creation of extra lessons on Saturdays paid for by Boards of Education, but offered by private businesses. Tellingly, such nascent local reforms are reforms of form, not of substance in that they do not signal nor do they follow curricular innovation. Comparisons with other highly institutionalized supplementary education systems (especially Korea and Taiwan) suggest that the growth of supplementary education elsewhere has gone hand in hand with curricular reforms, for example, a renewed focus and massive push for English language acquisition. It does not appear likely that innovations in form along will bolster Japanese competitiveness in international human capital comparisons. As the No-Child-Left-Behind policy in the U.S. is creating a massive supplementary education sector there as well, the East Asian situation holds many important implications for other developed and developing countries.

Enrichment Education Policy as Innovation Policy: New Asian Models in Comparative Perspective
Kathryn C. Ibata-Arens, DePaul University, USA

How are Asian countries preparing children to have skills - including creativity, innovation, and technical capability - to compete in the 21st Century global economy? Countries including China, Korea, Japan and Singapore have begun to integrate education policy and practice into national innovation strategies. For example, the Japanese government has spent a decade and many millions of dollars attempting to stimulate entrepreneurship and frontier innovation in its economy through investing in education reform. Yet, Japan still lacks a sophisticated enrichment learning system, lagging behind developments in China, Korea and Singapore. By comparison, enrichment education (often hands-on activities supplementing school curricula), targeting high-ability learners (sometimes referred to as “gifted”) in the United States is thought to be highly developed, and a source of American competitiveness in entrepreneurship and innovation. As such, it is a key component of the national innovation system. Interestingly, Asian countries are developing national innovation strategies that include an emphasis on innovation and creativity at all levels of education, while the US continues (via No Child Left Behind testing and budget cut-backs) to move away from that model. Fieldwork (survey and case study analysis) in Japan, Singapore and the US is complemented with comparisons to trends in national policy and private sector practice in China and South Korea. Preliminary findings indicate that while progress has been made towards establishing education practices that enrich student learning, helping children to reach their highest potential; bureaucratic politics, cultural practices and budgetary constraints have limited reform. Recently, private sector growth in the provision of enrichment and supplemental learning has led to change in the public sector (e.g. reform of public K-12 school curricula), with economic ministries encroaching on the “territory” of education ministry policy. Cultural practices have also impacted enrichment education. For example, in Japan’s egalitarian culture, gifted and accelerated education is strongly associated with “elitism” and this negative image partly explains the lack of emphasis on enrichment in national education policy. The paper will conclude with a summary of comparative best practices in enrichment education policy and practice and implications for globally competitive national innovation systems.

How Does Chinese Higher Education Cultivate Students’ Ability in Starting a Business?
Mansheng Zhou, National Center for Education Development Research, China

Chinese higher education has experienced rapid growth since the entry into the 21st century, with over six million university graduates in 2009 alone. How to place college graduates has become a critical issue facing Chinese government and the whole society. One of the policy initiatives adopted by the Chinese government is for higher education institutions to put an emphasis on cultivating students’ ability in starting up their own business. In 2002, the Ministry of Education launched a pilot project on carrying out business start-up education in nine higher education institutions in China. Since then, many colleges and universities have promoted this type of education in various forms. As cultivating the ability and spirit of business start-up has become one of the basic goals for higher education, Chinese colleges and universities now require putting business start-up education on equal terms with academic education and vocational education. This paper will review the major lessons learned from the pilot project, including challenges in creating new curricula, talent development and providing a positive environment for business start-ups. How to cultivate college students' ability of business start-up and innovation is a complex project. Instead of relying upon universities alone, it requires the integrative work of three parties: higher education taking a primary role, the government playing a leading role in policy guidance and institutional assurance, and the industry taking a boosting role. Overall, China's business start-up education is still in the early stage, and China lags behind the average standard of Global Enterprise Manager (GEM) in business start-up education. In China, less than one percent college graduates start up their business, while in developed countries twenty to thirty percent do. Therefore, it is urgent for China to learn lessons from the developed countries, to deepen the reform of talent-development patterns, and to promote the new idea that college students can start up their own business besides taking employment after graduation.