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Click Here for a Diploma

Get ready for a deluge of online degrees - and regulation issues
Multi Discliplinary Schools Ranking

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Science and Technology Schools Ranking

Higher education will never be the same as governments mandate reforms and the Internet impact sets in

Time of Ferment
Cuts in state funds. Autonomy in academic affairs. Changes in admission policies. The Internet. Asia's universities will never be the same
By CESAR BACANI

Ewan Stewart is the only foreign professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology or KAIST - so far. The 33-year-old Welsh physicist, who specializes in the cosmology of supersymmetry, supergravity and string theory, is the first to be hired under KAIST's internationalization drive. "The government has given us extra money for three to four foreign teachers this year," says Kim Sung Chul, KAIST's dean of academic affairs. The school is planning English-track degree programs and wants its students to be fluent in the language. Going global is the key to an overriding ambition. Says Kim: "We want to become one of the top ten universities in the world."

King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi - KMUTT - is more down-to-earth. Corporatized last year, the Thai state university now runs its own affairs, including decisions on salary scales. But with autonomy comes responsibility. The government expects KMUTT to source funds from the private sector, although it will hand over $29.5 million (1.6 times KMUTT's 1998 total budget) annually for three to five years. "This is make-or-break time for us," says robotics professor Djitt Laowattana. He sets frenetically paced meetings with potential corporate partners in Thailand and abroad to fund his laboratory. "If I don't deliver, I might lose my job," says Djitt.

David Beanland is on the move too. The vice chancellor of Melbourne's RMIT University was in Hong Kong for the launch of the Global University Alliance. RMIT is one of the group's nine founding universities from the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan. The alliance will start marketing post-graduate programs in September - over the Internet. "I have no doubt that RMIT will eventually have more students outside than inside Australia," says Beanland. He sees the rise of new ways of teaching and learning in the Age of the Internet. "Universities will change," adds Denise Bradley, vice chancellor of the University of South Australia, also an alliance member. "They are changing." more>>

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STORIES
Best Universities: Higher education will never be the same as governments mandate reforms and the Internet impact sets in

Reforms: Can Beijing build world-class institutions?

Virtual: What you should know about online diplomas

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