Asian Countries Want Roaming Students to Stick Close to Home

TOKYO—China, Japan, and Korea would like to keep more of their foreign university exchange students within the region. To do so, a trilateral committee representing the three governments meeting today in Tokyo announced CAMPUS Asia, an initiative to foster cooperation and student mobility among their universities.

The United States is by far the preferred destination for university and graduate students from all three countries. But in recent years, top universities in Asia have been increasingly attracting international students as well. Organizers hope that government logistical and possibly financial support will dramatically bolster this trend, says Yuichiro Anzai, chair of the University Council, an advisory body to Japan's education ministry.

Other objectives include improving educational quality and working out such details as how to mutually recognize course credits. CAMPUS Asia, an acronym for Collective Action for Mobility Program of University Students in Asia, could eventually embrace other countries. "We want to make the whole of Asia the campus," Anzai says.

Wu Boda, director of China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center, says the new organization could learn from the experience of the European Union's Erasmus Programme, which was established in 1987 to foster student mobility and other educational cooperation within Europe. But any lessons will have to be adapted to Asia's diverse cultures, he says.

A pair of working groups will develop proposals for concrete programs for the organizing committee to consider at its next meeting, to be held in China this autumn.