Preliminary Results of “Empirical Research on Impacts of Study Abroad in Developing Countries” Presented at the 7th Global Higher Education Forum


The 7th Global Higher Education Forum, organized jointly by Universiti Sains Malaysia and Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education, was held online in July 2021. At the academic conference held on July 28 and 29, a preliminary analysis of data from "Empirical Research on Impacts of Study Abroad in Developing Countries – based on Study Abroad Experiences of Academic Professionals of Major Universities in ASEAN," a research project of the JICA Ogata Sadako Research Institute for Peace and Development (JICA Ogata Research Institute), was presented by researchers involved in the project.

Researchers presented a preliminary analysis on the impacts of study abroad in developing countries

Umemiya Naoki, deputy director general of the JICA Human Development Department, Kayashima Nobuko, senior research advisor at JICA Ogata Research Institute, and Yudi Soeharyadi, professor of Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) in Indonesia presented the results of their preliminary analysis on data from a questionnaire distributed to ITB academic staff. Comparing those with and without study abroad experience, their analysis found a significant statistical difference between the mean scores of those with and without study abroad experience for 26 of the 36 items and activities compared. In addition to skills and consciousness as university faculty, the items and activities in the questionnaire covered university education, research, social contribution, and university-management related matters such as development of educational materials, publishing of academic papers and books, participation in international joint research, and contributions to policymaking in their home country.

The analysis showed that the study abroad experience of academic staff in ITB had a significant impact not only on their skills and consciousness as academic staff but also on their activities related to education, research, society and university management. They found a statistically significant difference between the mean scores of those with and without study abroad experience in the aforementioned 26 activities/items. This suggests that study abroad has a positive impact not only on the individual academic staff members but also the organizational development of the university.

Representing a research team from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Magdalene Ang, Research Fellow of the USM National Higher Education Research Institute, presented case studies from USM titled “Exploring the Impact of Studying Abroad: The USM Perspective.” From results of the preliminary analysis on data from questionnaires distributed to USM academic staff, Ang reported that study abroad experience has positively influenced many aspects of their activities as university faculty at USM, as was also found at ITB.

In the Q&A session, discussions took place covering a wide range of topics such as the influence of characteristics of each university that the researchers come from, country context, and study abroad destination countries in the analysis. Kayashima, leader of the research project, stated her intention to investigate factors driving the impacts of study abroad as part of the future research agenda for the project.

Further analyses based on the initial analysis results from this research project are planned, as discussions continue between the teams of researchers and the partner universities.

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