While universities in developing countries have long been said to be dependent on their counterparts in developed countries, recent years have seen dramatic expansion and improvements in the higher education sector in Southeast Asia. Case studies on the reforms of the doctoral programs at six major universities in Southeast Asian region reveal that by selectively adopting different systems from different countries, their university reforms have led to successfully redesigning their own programs, which once started as an imitation of those in developed countries. The programs have also been reformed to be more systematic so that students can graduate in a period of 3 years, which is the standard of today's world. With these reforms, it is expected that they can develop the next generation of high-skill human resources on their own, in a more independent and self-sustainable manner. The studies also reveal that these universities have been more actively promoting cross-border staff, student exchanges, and cooperation, not only with their traditional counterparts in developed countries but also with those within the region. These exchanges and cooperative efforts have both supported and accelerated the reforms by contributing to the internationalization of their education and research activities and by improving the quality of their respective doctoral programs.
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