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An (international) agenda for Japanese universities

Japan’s University Council released an interim report on 19 January 2011 covering the deliberation process and issues requiring ongoing attention for the country’s higher education development. Three key points have been identified for further consideration: assuring and enhancing the quality of education; promoting the differentiation of mission among universities as well as partnerships between such institutions; and strengthening the organizational and management foundations within higher education in order to improve educational and research functions.

The report highlights the need to widen access to higher education, specifically by attracting mature and international students, in view of the expected stagnation in the growth of the 18-year-old population within the country. Notably on the international front, Japanese universities are urged to open their doors to international students and academics, to investigate the possibility of setting up university departments overseas, and to explore the establishment of joint/double degrees with overseas institutions. They are also called upon to collaborate systematically with Japanese industries in order to increase employment opportunities for excellent international graduates.

Above all, partnerships with China and Korea are once again brought up as the priority to be considered for further promotion in this report. The University Council of Japan is a committee on higher education under the Central Council for Education. It has been charged with the responsibility to review higher education issues in Japan in the context of knowledge society.

University Council of Japan