Globalization of Japanese Higher Education and the Case of Hokkaido University

Globalization of Japanese Higher Education and the Case of Hokkaido University

Toyoharu Nawa
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3395-5.ch002
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Institutions of higher education all over the world are facing the pressure to internationalize their operations and academic programs, to enhance its competitiveness in an international education market. The first part of this chapter presents a review of national policy to incentivize the internationalization of higher education in Japan since 1980s. The second part introduces internalization initiatives of Hokkaido University in the last decade. Under the initiative of the president, university formulated its vision of “Hokkaido University, contributing to the resolution of global issues” in the “Future Strategy for the 150th Anniversary of Hokkaido University,” a blueprint for drastically reforming the university. In the 2014 fiscal year, a strategy to further internationalize education, “Hokkaido Universal Campus Initiative” was chosen by MEXT for the “Top Global University Project.” The author analyzes Hokkaido University's internationalization progress, focusing on the strengths and activities of major projects and the changes in the overall management.
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The Internationalization Of Higher Education In Japan

Internationalization in higher education in Japan started in the 1980s (Horie, 2002). One of the measures to progress internationalization and multiculturalism in higher education institutions is to promote the international mobility of students. In 1983, Japanese Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (Monbusho, later MEXT) announced a plan to have 100,000 international students studying at higher education institutions in Japan by 2000 (MEXT, 2008). The objective of this plan was to accelerate mutual understandings and deepen friendship between Japan and other countries, strengthen intellectual power over the global society, and contribute to internationalization of economic and social systems. The plan was successful in terms of increasing the number of international students (from 10,428 in 1983 to 64,011 in 2000). However, the plan paused due to the limited capability and attractiveness of Japanese education. One of the main causes is the difficulty of learning Japanese. Furthermore, many stakeholders have started to point out that improvement in the quality of education by internationalization is more important than increase in the number of international students.

In 2008 the Japanese government set a goal of attracting 300,000 international university students by 2020, following the ‘Global 30’ plan in 2009 aimed at transforming 30 universities into world-class institutions of higher education (Yonezawa, 2011). The ‘300,000 international students plan’ and the ‘Global 30’ plan have focused more closely on supporting universities to expand their English-taught degree programs.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Inazo Nitobe: Inazo Nitobe (1862-1933) was agricultural economist, writer, educator, diplomat, and politician. In 1877 he entered the newly founded Sapporo Agricultural College in the northern island of Hokkaido and graduated in 1881. In 1884, he went to study in the United States, first at Allegheny College in western Pennsylvania, and then at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. After earning his doctorate in agricultural economics in Germany, he returned to Japan in 1891 to assume an assistant professorship at the Sapporo Agricultural College. He served as a professor of law at Kyoto Imperial University and Tokyo Imperial University, Headmaster of the First Higher School (the preparatory division for the Tokyo Imperial University), and the first president of Tokyo Women's Christian University. He was an Under-Secretary General of the League of Nations from 1919 to 1926. He was a prolific writer and exerted a powerful influence on Japanese intellectuals and students. He wrote many books in English and is most famous in the West for his work Bushido: The Soul of Japan.

IAU: The International Association of Universities (IAU) founded in 1950, is a worldwide membership-led non-governmental organization. It comprises more than 650 higher education institutions and organizations in some 130 countries. IAU is an official partner of UNESCO. Its permanent Secretariat, the International Universities Bureau, provides Policy Statements on issues of global importance for higher education. Each Statement is the product of extensive drafting and international consultations. Recently the Statements have been formally adopted by the General Conference of the Association, though in the past some emanated from international Round Tables or meetings of the Administrative Board.

GPA: Grade point average, which is a measure of a student's academic achievement at institutions such a college or university; calculated by dividing the total number of grade points received by the total number attempted.

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