Thursday 03 May 2018


Higher education systems in the ASEAN region are becoming more open to international engagement, says a report on ‘The shape of global higher education’ - the British Council’s unique policy framework launched at the Going Global conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

According to the report, while not being the country with the largest higher education system in ASEAN, Vietnam is among those whose systems are generally the most developed across the core domains in the research. They also benefit from a government who, in relative terms, is most able to invest in higher education.

The report is the third edition of ‘The shape of global higher education’ series which aims to build our collective knowledge and understanding of higher education policy and legislation in various countries. The latest report in this series focuses on the ten ASEAN member states: Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, The Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Lao PDR and their higher education systems and support. It is notable that not only Vietnam, but also Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Thailand compare favourably with countries from across the world, in terms of the policies and infrastructure provided to support international higher education (HE). 

As we now have a snapshot of the policy environment in 2016 and in 2018 for five of the studied countries (Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia), this allows us to see any changes over time in the HE policy environment. The aim of the study is to allow the international higher education community to benchmark the level of support provided by national systems for international engagement and activity – including mobility of staff and students; mobility of programmes and institutions and international collaboration in research.

All five countries included in 2016 and 2018 have strengthened their systemic national support for international HE engagement and scored well at ‘high’ level across all the three categories in the National Policies Framework. Vietnam ranks third just behind Malaysia and Thailand in terms of openness of higher education systems and support, and being proud to be one of only two countries in the region with a ‘very high’ level for regional recognition and quality assurance agencies

All of the ASEAN countries already have, or are trying to develop, significant levels of inbound transnational education and are aiming to grow their HE systems often through building on international transnational education partnerships. Michael Peak, Head of Higher Education Systems Research, British Council, said: ‘International higher education is of clear national and regional importance within ASEAN. The region, although diverse in many ways, including in terms of the size of the economy, and the relative ‘maturity’ of the HE systems, is united by a desire to engage further in international higher education.’

The British Council has been working with Vietnam since 1993. In 2018, we are marking this 25th anniversary with a series of events celebrating cultural relations and exchange between the UK and Vietnam.

Notes to Editor

Hanh Le (Ms.)
Communications Manager
British Council 
20 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho, Hanoi
T +84 (0)4 38436780 (ext.1957)
F +84 (0)4 38434962 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.