Higher Education in Southeast Asia: Blurring Borders, Changing Balance, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Higher Education in Southeast Asia

Blurring Borders, Changing Balance, 1st Edition

By Anthony Welch


198 pages

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This is the first book to systematically chart and comparatively assess the trend towards private higher education in South East Asia. Caught between conflicting imperatives of spiralling demand, and limited resources, the balance between public and private higher education systems in South East, South, and East Asia has shifted markedly.

The author’s detailed case studies of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Viet Nam discuss and analyse significant policy issues and touch on key debates surrounding globalisation, including economic globalisation and structural adjustment, and the pressures of cultural globalisation, particularly the role of the English language. Debates surrounding the role of higher education in the ‘knowledge economy’, GATS and cross border trade in educational services are also treated, including the rise of offshore campuses in countries such as Malaysia and Viet Nam. What is argued is that we are witnessing not merely a changing balance between public and private sectors, but a blurring of borders between them, with public HEIs now often behaving more like private, for-profit institutions. The book charts and illustrates these trends, posing questions about their meaning, including issues of transparency, equity, and what the reforms might mean for traditional conceptions of public good in higher education. 


"The individual chapters on different countries are excellent as stand-alone case studies. When they are taken together, however, we have a superb book by one of the region’s best scholars. Welch has written an engaging book in a provocative style that will be of interest not only to Southeast Asian scholars but also to anyone concerned about tertiary education in the 21st century." William G. Tierney, Professor & Wilbur Kieffer Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, University of Southern California, USA.

"Southeast Asia has rapidly developing higher education systems, yet it is not well known worldwide. This book provides a welcome perspective on this region, including issues of privatisation, internationalisation, governance and corruption." Philip G. Altbach,

Monan University Professor, Boston College, USA.

Table of Contents

Introduction Chapter One: Reform and Change: Public and Private Higher Chapter Two: Malaysia: a Quest for the Best? Chapter Three: Privatising Higher Education in Thailand? Chapter Four: Quantity over Quality? Public and Private Higher Education in the Philippines. Chapter Five: Ho Chi Minh Meets the Market: Public and Private Higher Education in Viet Nam.

About the Author

Anthony Welch is a policy specialist at the University of Sydney, Australia. He specialises in international higher education research.

About the Series

Routledge Research On Public and Social Policy in Asia

The Routledge Research on Public and Social Policy in Asia Series publishes quality manuscripts on contemporary public policy issues by scholars in Public Administration, Public Management, and Public Policy as well as Economics, Geography, Political Science, Social Work, and Sociology. There are no limitations regarding policy sectors that may be included in the Series, provided the manuscript deals with significant public policy issues with broad appeal.

The Series is advised by an international Editorial Board and edited by M Ramesh of the University of Hong Kong.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General