Regionalising higher education in Asia-Pacific and a network capital paradigm for teaching and research in comparative education <Research Article>Regionalising higher education in Asia-Pacific and a network capital paradigm for teaching and research in comparative education <Research Article>AA1244667X
Given the increasing obsession with ranking world universities worldwide (Shanghai Jiao Tong’s Academic Ranking of World Universities; Times Higher Education World Rankings), higher-education authorities in Asia-Pacific are reconsidering their mission, function, organization, and finance. Demographic data in most of the region’s countries reflect a marked shortfall in the supply of institutions being developed to meet future student demand. Student and staff mobility are also on the increase, but often one-way and outside of region. Moreover, because of highly differentiated, deregulated educational systems, teaching and research quality are frequently poor. Developing a standardized, regulated, unified labor market system similar to that advised in the Bologna Accord is said to be unattainable; an alternative approach, using a proposed educational free-trade zone through formalized agreements among nation states, is also questionable. A new strategy must be considered. Reviewing other regionalised educational systems, this study considers the feasibility of a regionalised network within Asia-Pacific of academics and scholars who might choose to work together, to develop a framework for international cooperation. Among other considerations, this study suggests providing operational expression and support toward improving research quantity and quality in the region. An analysis of data on international university cooperation points to a shift from developmental assistance to an increase in such cooperation. This paper further suggests that it is now appropriate for an innovative approach to developing comparative education.