Stay in the loop! Subscribe to our mailing list

Japan ponders a change to its academic calendar—with big implications

Japan is considering moving the start of its academic year from the spring to the autumn to facilitate student mobility into and out of the country. Following the change of academic calendar in Malaysia last year (see ACA Newsletter - Education Europe, January 2011), Japan and South Korea are among the few countries left in Asia that begin their academic year in March/April. The spring enrolment practice has been regarded as a major obstacle for student mobility and the global competitiveness of Japanese higher education. The University of Tokyo, the country’s top university, has therefore taken the lead in making the change. It released in mid-February an interim report of a committee set up in April last year to consider this particular matter. 
As of yet, there has been no official confirmation of the change to the academic calendar as proposed by the University of Tokyo committee, but several other universities in Japan (especially the private institutions) have registered their interest in following suit. In the process of releasing the interim report, the University of Tokyo has also called for the support of other stakeholders to facilitate a successful transition from spring enrolment to autumn enrolment. This is necessary given that spring is traditionally the season when Japanese schools, business and the government begin their operational year. A significant systemic impact would result if the University of Tokyo’s proposal becomes reality. University of Tokyo The Mainichi Daily News ASEAN University Network