Dr. Manoj Varghese

Being a student in 2019 is not easy. But being a student pursuing higher education is twice more trying, thanks to the unrelenting pressure of choosing a career, the constantly changing tech, and the diverse industry. The fact that education is now a business in no more hush hush. Rather, students now look at education hustlers who have soul. Students need to have the proper know-how to choose the best educational investment whose ROI will enable them for years to come.

Some obvious aspects that students take while contemplating on which university to pick are the legacy of the university, the elite status of the founders, the diverse courses that the institution offers, the fee structure, the infrastructural facilities, and whether one’s friends go to the same institution. However, the list doesn’t and shouldn’t end there. It must extend to factors such as participating in a potential university’s student portals and getting one’s queries cleared, understanding the student-teacher ratio in classrooms, the tech the lecturers use, the blended teaching methodologies, and the industry collaborations that the university fosters.

The internet also does its bit by showcasing Course Matching Tools that, for example, enable students vying to enrol themselves in the US, UK and Australia to check their compatibility with different courses. For international students this dilemma is still knotty, thanks to the cultural shocks, the food and lifestyle differences and the time zone changes. Therefore, a choosing a university becomes an issue that takes all of one’s energy.

The fact that there are numerous substandard universities that try to get off as A-listers does nothing to help the situation. For instance, a certain South American country’s education inspectors were horrified at a so-called top-notch university’s brazenness at tricking its students. On the outside, the university appeared to be a gleaming, glass-fronted 7-story tower. Inside, however, students were surprised to find the stairs only reached the fourth floor. Drone photos revealed that the top three floors were just a façade supported by metal struts. This incident has not only cast an unflattering spotlight on the country’s booming private university industry, it also raises widespread speculations on the already rampant issues of sub-standard education and profiteering.

Our inaugural issue of Higher Education Digest-Asia Pacific Edition, “Top 25 Must Watch International Universities in South East Asia” showcase some real apical Universities in the south-eastern part of Asia. We hope that the stories these universities tell will instil the real meaning and passion of imparting education and will help students take an informed decision.

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