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Japan funds 37 top universities to improve at global university rankings

The Japanese government has announced additional funding for a selection of 37 public, private and national universities in order to strengthen their international competitiveness. According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology Japan, the country has almost 800 universities (77% of them being private, 12% public and 11% national) and 104 applied to be considered for this government initiative. Currently there are 5 Japanese universities in the 2014 QS World University Rankings while Japan develops the ambition to have 10 Japanese universities in this global top 100 university rankings. These 37 universities will be divided into two groups.

The first group “Type A”, formed of 13 universities representing the country’s top research and education institutions will focus on increasing the number of international professors and promoting cooperation with prestigious universities around the world.

The institutions are:

  • National universities: Hiroshima University, Hokkaido University, Kyoto University, Kyushu University, Nagoya University, Osaka University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tohoku University, University of Tokyo, University of Tsukuba.
  • Private universities: Keio University, Waseda University.

The second group “Type B” has 24 universities and the aim for these institutions will be to lead globalization efforts.

  • National universities: Chiba University, Kanazawa University, Kumamoto University, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Nagaoka University of Technology, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Okayama University, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Toyohashi University of Technology.
  • Public universities: Akita International University, University of Aizu.
  • Private universities: Hosei University, International Christian University, International University of Japan, Kwansei Gakuin University, Meiji University, Rikkyo University, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Ritsumeikan University, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Soka University, Sophia University, Toyo University.

Each of the 13 Type A universities will receive about ¥420 million (USD 3.9 million) in annual subsidies and each of the 24 Type B universities about ¥170 million (USD 1.6 million) over the next decade. Each institution is expected to implement its own plan for internationalization. For example, University of Tsukuba announced it aims to carry a Campus-to-Campus initiative, enabling partner institutions to share campuses with Tsukuba and respective research and educational resources without any national or institutional barriers.

More information on The Japan News.

Prime Minister Abe to Accelerate Internationalisation of Japanese Universities

ABEBy Martin Ince

Japan’s universities will be the big winners in prime minister Shinzo Abe’s push to globalise the nation’s economy and society, according to his remarks at a Mayday meeting of British and Japanese universities that formed a significant part of his recent visit to the UK.

He told a conference of university leaders from the UK and Japan that “the number of foreign students at a university will define its success,” a big statement from the leader of a nation whose institutions are consistently towards the lower end of the rankings on criteria measuring their appeal to international staff and students.

In an address to the event at University College, London, Abe said that while “19 universities in the QS World University Ranking” were represented at the meeting, he was disappointed that fewer Japanese students are studying abroad than a decade earlier. He said that he wanted Japanese employers to value international experience more highly, and added that the government might put money into “a stimulus” for Japanese students to study abroad.

An increase in the number of Japanese students spending part of their academic career abroad would improve Japan’s standing in the QS Asian University Rankings, which use both incoming and outgoing exchange students as a measure of universities’ global appeal. In the new AUR, Tokyo is the top Japanese institution, in 10th place, with Kyoto and Osaka at 12 and 13, modest positions for such a rich and populous nation.

It is notable in these rankings that Tokyo and Kyoto rank 107 and 116 respectively in Asia for inbound exchange students, and 170 and 196 for outbound exchange. Osaka does a little better at 73 for inbound exchange and 49 for outbound.

Horishi Matsumoto, president of Kyoto University, told the conference that the university aims to double all its internationally-centred rankings scores by 2020. As well as exchange students, this would include overseas faculty and overseas students taking full degrees. Tokyo and Kyoto are 159 and 103 in Asia respectively for international faculty, and 57 and 66 for students. This means that there is plenty of scope for improvement.

As one sign of the inward-looking nature of Japanese academe, it has recently been a big news story in Japan that Kyoto might consider a non-Japanese replacement for Matsumoto, who is close to retirement.

UK universities at the meeting vied for supremacy in their claims for the age and depth of their Japanese connections. In the 1860s, UCL itself educated the Choshu 5, a leading group of émigré students who later became the nation’s first prime minister and foreign minister and founded its mint, railway system and industry ministry. More recently, participants learned, Edinburgh has educated two Japanese princesses, while Oxford has made room for three Japanese princes and princesses. As Andrew Hamilton, vice chancellor of the University of Oxford, explained, this means that his university has educated more members of Japanese royal family than of the British one.

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HE News Brief 03.12.2012

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  • UK: 10 new universities formed, focus is humanities
  • South East Asia: Greater Mekong region to emulate ERASMUS & Bologna processes
  • India: Waking up to international student recruitment

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