JICA Research Institute


Working Papers

No.39 Cross-Border Collaborative Degree Programs in East Asia:Expectations and Challenges

This paper sheds light on the increasingly diverse forms of cross-border higher education in East Asia, ranging from traditional student mobility (e.g., full-time study abroad) to the mobility of the programs themselves. Specifically, this paper examines the expected outcomes and risks or challenges of cross-border collaborative degree programs by focusing on differences in the level of collaboration and by using two survey datasets on leading East Asian universities and their collaborative degree programs. As for the expected outcomes of such programs, this survey of universities indicates that improving the quality of education is perceived as a more important outcome of collaborative degree programs than it is for traditional forms of simple student mobility. However, this survey of programs confirms the variation in the degree of collaboration among collaborative programs in terms of location, curriculum and degree provision; it also shows that bilateral programs, which require greater collaboration between the partner institutions, tend to perceive promoting intercultural awareness, achieving research excellence and promoting regional collaboration and Asian identity as more important than one-side led programs do. Bilateral programs also see economic benefits in collaborative degree programs, such as meeting the demands of the global economy, when the data samples used for the analysis are limited to programs conducted between institutions from high-income and middle-income countries, thus excluding programs with low-income countries. On the other hand, the risks and challenges of cross-border collaborative degree programs tend to be perceived as less significant by bilateral programs than by one-side led programs. These results point to the importance of the greater involvement of each of the partner institutions in meeting the expectations of the other partner and mitigating any risks or challenges in cross-border degree programs. In particular, it is worth considering such increasingly higher levels of collaboration as each country in the partnership develops its economy and higher education institutions.

Keywords: cross-border higher education, double degree, twinning, ASEAN, Asia

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