Asia, America, and Higher Ed
Top: University Cultural Centre, National University of Singapore (Wikimedia Commons/User: Sengkang). Bottom: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge campus. (Flickr/erinc salor)

Top: University Cultural Centre, National University of Singapore (Wikimedia Commons/User: Sengkang). Bottom: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. (Flickr/erinc salor)

For many decades, through economic ups and downs, the United States has had one big consolation and wellspring of faith in the future: the second-to-none American system of higher education, with universities dominating the world in new research and new horizons.

American higher ed is still second to none. But it’s stalled out in recession and cutbacks. And Asian higher education is storming to the fore. Billions and billions are being poured into universities in China and beyond. Giant ambitions. Giant resources.

This hour, On Point: Rising Asia challenges the American university.

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Joining us from Washington is Jeff Selingo, editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, which recently published a special report on higher education in the U.S and in Asia.

Also from Washington we’re joined by Charles Vest, former president of MIT and president of the National Academy of Engineering. He served on the National Academies panel which produced the 2006 report “Rising Above The Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.”  It warned that the U.S. was in danger of falling behind in science and technology.

And from Toronto we’re joined by Qiang Zha, assistant professor of education at York University in Toronto, and an expert on Chinese higher education. He is a researcher for the “China’s Move to Mass Higher Education” project, an in-depth three-year study of Chinese universities and the public policy behind them.

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