The last three decades have seen a notable increase in the provision of higher education in many parts of greater Asia. Participating and financially supporting this growth, besides governments, have been private for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, public-private partnerships, and international and intergovernmental agencies. This report sheds light on the challenges and barriers to entry to higher education and the dynamics behind those challenges.
The report begins by drawing a broad picture of where Asia stands in terms of access to higher education, shedding light on entrance examinations, supply, demand, and higher education typologies. The private provision of higher education, also warrants attention, where the last 10 years have witnessed increased growth in the supply of higher education by private providers. The role of applying ICTs in this vital sector, is also assessed, raising questions about internet usage and penetration, e-readiness, e-learning readiness, and overall quality.
Furthermore, the question of widening participation and strengthening inclusiveness in higher education is reiterated by the report with equitable access being the ultimate goal. Some of the challenges to inclusive education are highlighted in this section, such as eroding employment value, a decline in the quality of education, and the public cost of unmanaged growth. The paper concludes by enumerating some policy considerations and recommendations, some of which are:
mainstreaming access to higher education and incentivizing wider participation are key to equal access
pursuing an affirmative action approach for certain groups and providing alternative avenues for entry are deemed vital
striking the delicate balance between expansion of access and quality of instruction
increase the development and use of ICTs in the delivery of university instruction
funding models supporting wider access to quality higher education on the part of government and universities