A large number of failures in learning reforms at asian universities have been documented recently in the literature. The main reason is that reformers often import western-developed practices to asian classrooms without a careful examination of their appropriateness within the socio-cultural context of these countries. This approach faces a high risk of failure because western-developed practices are often supported by structural conditions and cultural values that are not always found in asia. To ensure the success of student-centred learning reforms in asian classrooms, this paper claims that reformers should not simply borrow and impose student-centred practices on asian students. Rather, asian educators need to be assisted to bring about change in their teaching practices and instructed how to design assessment that promotes studentcentred learning practices. Moreover, some principles of student-centred theories need to be modified to become culturally appropriate in the asian context. 2011 Association for tertiary education management and the l h martin institute for higher education leadership and management.