The British Council recently announced the launch of its e-book Grand Challenges in Asia-Pacific Education, an analysis of some of the most pressing issues that will impact upon and shape regional education provision in the coming years. 

Written by a renowned group of global education experts and with a foreword by celebrated movie producer and educationalist Lord (David) Puttnam, the e-book will provide invaluable reading for policy makers, university and business leaders, teachers, academics, and anyone with a vested interest in regional growth and development. 

‘This e-book is testament to the British Council’s policy and intellectual capacity across the education sector, as well as its ability to bring together global thought leaders to explore collaborative solutions to the challenges that must be overcome to ensure future stability and prosperity in Asia,’ said Dr Halima Begum, Director of East Asia Education at the British Council.

‘The 21st Century is set to be the Asian Century, and it is in the realm of education that its challenges will be met,’ added Lord Puttnam, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Burma. 'Just how will the continent manage? Can a region still in the throes of development successfully shape a future in which innovation is the only viable path to sustainability?’

‘This collection of essays throws a fascinating light on some of these questions as we approach 2015, a key year for ASEAN integration,’ continued the award-winning movie producer. ‘I’m convinced that the spirit of human imagination has yet to reach its peak, and little doubt that it is from within the great Asian continent that the next tectonic shifts in education will emerge.’

Concluded Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor at leading education services company Pearson: ‘The region’s future and its capacity to become an ocean of innovation are being shaped today, tomorrow and every day in the classrooms, lecture theatres and online platforms of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and Shanghai, Hong Kong and Hanoi. On the success of those endeavours, all our futures depend.’

The digital collection of essays includes the following themes and specialists:

  • Gender: Bridging the Leadership Divide by Dr Sarah Jane Aiston, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong. This examines a disturbing fact: if more women are graduating from universities, and in many case out-performing their male counterparts, why are we seeing so few female leaders in leadership and management roles?
  • Leadership and Mutual Prosperity: Sir Michael Barber, Chief Education Advisor, Pearson shares insights on the relationship between leadership and innovation within Asia’s own traditions.
  • Avoiding the Middle Income Gap / Education as GDP Driver: Dr Halima Begum looks at how regional leaders in Asia can develop education policies to shape a more imaginative and prosperous future, one in which economic growth is no longer dependent on old world manufacturing and cheap labour. 

The e-book also includes the essays Private Sector Investment: Capacity and Quality in Burma Education by Dr Roger Chao Jr, International Consultant for Higher Education, UNESCO, Myanmar; Wherefore the Humanities? by Professor Simon Haines, Chairman of English, Director, The Research Centre for Human Values, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Innovation Hotspots by Dr Anders Karlsson, Vice President, Global Academic Relations, Elsevier; and Post-massification: Issues, Challenges and the China Response by Dr Qiang Zha, Faculty of Education, York University, Canada.