Educational Opportunities in South East Asia

As far as overseas education is concerned, the conventional Indian brain almost instantaneously channelizes its thoughts to United States of America, United Kingdom and Australia. I opine that young students in India, who aspire to pursue international education, have a limited knowledge of available options and function on a single track similar to that of herd mentality. By exploring options of different regions, aspirants can enhance their functionality and can be assisted in broadening their horizons and participate in a lot more global activities.
A region that now boasts of its rapid pace of development and growing service sectors is South-East Asia. The rapid expansion of student enrolment, the knowledge explosion, advances in information and communication technology, globalization, economic restructuring, and financial constraints have all contributed to higher education reforms in these countries and resulted in varied outcomes. South-East Asia is a region of vast developmental diversity, from wealthy Singapore to the much poorer sub region countries in Greater Mekong .This continuum provides a great opportunity for analysis of many themes and issues, for lessons learned to be shared across borders and for mutual cooperation to enhance the presence of South-East Asia within the global community.

The very effect and influence that the region has globally can be proven from the fact that, how essentially, region specific curriculum is integrated in many of specialised degree courses of international universities pertaining to South-East Asian studies or oriental studies.

Studying amidst this dynamic and mind stimulating environment where there exists stiff competition which is healthy and catalyses an individual’s capabilities and efficiency, will prove to be a boon for those who crave productivity.

Here, I speak of some of the most cultivating educational destinations that South East Asia has to offer. The following are my accounts of the relevant alternatives that students in India can look briefly into.


With its well developed infrastructure, political stability and open business policies, Singapore is a global business hub with abundant opportunities. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 06/07, Singapore ranks as Asia’s most competitive economy and second globally only to USA.

With three monumental public universities National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of immense international repute, Singapore houses a number of polytechnics and International University branches.Singapore Institute of Management and Singapore Institute of Commerce are other institutions offering quality Business education. The various international university campuses include, James Cook University (Australia), Curtin University of Technology (Australia), S.P. Jain Management Institute (India),INSEAD (France) and University of Chicago GSB (USA).

A number of degrees offered at Singaporean universities are in collaboration with the various highly ranking universities, Such as those offered at NTU with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, SMU with Wharton School of Business, John Hopkins Division of Biomedical Science with NUS Medicine and the like. An international experience that is one of its kind can be gained if one is to study is in Singapore.

Safety and security standards are incomparable wherein the kin can rest assured that the student is in a safe and sound environment.


The ever favourite tourist destination for Indians is a very promising higher education option. A country where the portfolio of Ministry of Education is different from the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) is deemed to give high quality education to international students. An extremely cosmopolitan setting yet a very ethnic one at the same time, Malaysia is an extremely welcoming nation where a student can find his way through swiftly. The populous presence of fellow Indians hardly leaves one feeling homesick owing to their influential aura. The establishment of foreign university campuses in Malaysia has contributed significantly to the Government’s objective of accelerating the export of educational services.

Universities of International fame, and those which are highly ranked from Australia and the UK, have established full-fledged branch campuses in Malaysia. A major contributing factor is that the living cost in Malaysia is much lower than in the highly developed countries where the parent campus is located. Currently, there are branch campuses of the University of Nottingham (UK), Monash University, Curtin University and Swinburne University of Technology based in Australia and the FTMS-De Montfort University (UK). This development augurs well for the MoHE’s target of 95,000 international students in Malaysia by 2010.

The International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) attracts a considerable amount of Muslim students from India who wish to pursue Islamic Banking, Law and finance, or pure Islamic studies.


Described by Asiaweek magazine (a TIME publication), Asian Institute of Management located in Manila is described as the best in Asia-Pacific region. Asian Institute in management falls in the same league as INSEAD and IMD (Switzerland) and was established in collaboration with Harvard Business School. For those who wish to specialise in management studies and apply them to the Asia- Pacific region and for those who yearn to understand the intricacies of Asian Business Environment, Asian Institute of Management proves to be a haven.

Being a melting pot of cultures and expanding opportunities, students will not struggle in the assimilation process. The region is a global talent hub, where people of all nationalities have converged to realise their dreams.

The above mentioned universities are feasible in more than one way. The branch campuses have attracted international students in pursuit of quality education at competitive prices. The experience thus gained is holistic as an approach, and very global in its outlook.

Aditya Sinha
[Image source: