Germany must make its higher education more attractive to foreign students - especially from Asian countries - if it is to earn a place on the international higher education map, says the German Academic Exchange Service, Daad.
Daad president Theodor Bercham said the organisation last year pumped some Pounds 28 million - 20 per cent of its resources - into establishing exchange schemes with Asian universities.
Yet in Tiger countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, which will be economic forces in the region in coming years, Germany lags far behind other countries in establishing academic and research links, he said.
"There are virtually white flecks on the map of academic exchange here. It will take huge efforts by Germany to find at least a niche opening into the academic exchange market. In the long term the dominance of the United States, Japan, Australia and Britain will not be challenged."
Professor Bercham said German higher education could still find an inroad to the Asian market via links with former East Germany's partner countries, particularly Vietnam, Mongolia, Laos and Cambodia.
The Daad is setting up a German-Vietnamese centre at the Technical University of Hanoi, although this is still seeking industrial sponsors. Exchange programmes have also been set up with the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation for young engineers and scientists. And a Chinese-German higher education college will be launched at the Tonji University of Shanghai in the autumn.
Of the 53,000 Japanese students studying abroad in 1991/92 only 2.3 per cent chose Germany while 80 per cent went to the US.
The Daad wants to establish targeted marketing programmes abroad and wants universities to lower their language requirements and establish English- language courses.