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The study tour took place in October, we were away for a fortnight. AHUA is Association of Heads of University Administration eg registrars. Formed in 1994 and based in Manchester.
South Africa 2012Brazil March 2011; New Zealand Oct 2007Before that – USA, Australia, Canada, China, the Netherlands
Mention that these were top class universities that we visited who primarily wanted to talk about internationalisation
Research in advance, then – in Japan – visits to universities and official bodies, about 16 in all.Thiswas at Keio uni,in Tokyo founded in 1858 as a private university. They are very prestigious, their founder is on the 10,000 yen note. He was an enlightened figure who belived in interaction between staff and students, education for women (first femaile studs 1946). Even so, I got theimpression that things are still pretty formal there. The staff don’t address each other as Prof this and that, but still by surname. First names are still much too free. Whereas many unis have western religions roots, Keio is completely secular. It specialises in bioscience and medicine, very big in research. 35.000 studs of which 5000 are postgraduates.
Economic – HE recognised as a driver of economic prosperity, to raise skills, compete in research and KTGrowth of HE – HE study follows a 4-year bachelors/2-yearmasters/ then doctorate pattern. Participation is about 46%, with 12% progressing to masters. Big bang reform – Universities resisted it, but reform is generally regarded as overdue because Japanese unis are perceived in the country as lagging behind Europe, the US, Australia. But reform is slow and ongoing.4200 institutions – for population only twice the UK’s. Average number of students per institution is 780. There are public and private universities (778 – 80% of the total students), junior colleges (vocational courses), 60 colleges of technology (high level vocational qualifications based on research), 3000 professional training colleges. Great diversity of mission and purpose, and this distinctiveness is celebrated. In 1947 there were only 49 universities; there was a huge expansion during the period of economic growth.Status of institutions Although things are changing, being able to say you went to one of the top-rated universities is still very important. CompetitionCompetition to get in to the highly-regarded universities is very intense. All applicants (even though they already hold the daiken, or school diploma) take entrance exams – either national ones for the public universities, or specific ones set by each private university. Many school-leavers have extra coaching in anticipation of the tests. There are some students who don’t have to take entrance exams – in the case of some of the private universities which run their own kindergarten, primary and secondary schools providing automatic admission.
18 year olds By 2050 pop decline by over 25%, rapid decrease in school-leavers.Ineffective management Traditionally unis have been managed by academics who were appointed for life, many of them are now quite elderly. More and more, it’s recognised that HE is too important to be run in this way. Quality and efficiency is under scrutiny. The older academics are not moving with the times and it’s worst in national universities.Funding Low level of dependence on public funding. Dilemma of how to fund improvements; public money is needed to support the aging population as well as improving education in order to remain a key world player. Of the 778 universities, about 600 are private, 87 are national and over 80 are public ie funded by local authorities. Funding is being squeezed because the J economy is slowing down (competing with China and Korea). It will affect the national unis most – they rely on gvt funding.Bankruptcies – 100 unis expected to go out of business in next 10-15 yrs
TraditionTradition is strong in Japan so the control of university management by tenured academics is still a fact of life in many universities. Senior academics fight any contraction of their departments tooth and nail (this was the President of Ritsumeikan university). They ignore reality. In seeking a job at a university, there is great loyalty to the institution where you studied. In some universities, one-third of new staff are their own graduates.Change In 2004 the national reforms changed the 87 national universities (which are the ones in the public eye) into independent agencies whose staff were no longer guaranteed jobs for life. They all now have a board with external members, to whom the President answers. The government still stipulates the number of students, the fees and has other controls.Admin In the past administrative staff have been looked down on; they have been low status and not allowed to have any say in academic affairs. Things are changing and many support areas are being run by administrators. Better people are joining the profession and its profile is being raised. Staff development for administrators is a recognised facet of university life; somunis allocate a substantial budget for it. JUAMEst in 1997, the J equvalent of the AUA but not such a big membership – only 1300. Set up by people who recognised the need for professionalism of university admin and management. ORganinsed into 8 regions and the groups try to meet regularly.CPD Japanese uni administrators can apply for a self-development programme where they move departments within their own university every 3 years to get a wide experience. Interestingly, the admin jobs are jobs for life and this is regarded as a strength in that they know all about the university and their role as well as others’ roles so they become quite a power house of knowledge, and it makes for a consistent operation.
The two main reasons for the push to internationalise HE in Japan are:Attracting foreign students andInternationalising the student experienceJust like the UK, foreign students are much needed to bring in fees and balance the universities’ books. To attract students into Japan, China is the chief market, but the universities are also holding conferences and setting up offices in Malaysia, Laos and Vietnam and they are also targeting India and north African countries. In the last two years, national education seminars have been held in Indonesia, Taiwan and Turkey and Nagoya University has held a fair in Uzbekistan. But is it working? The project’s goal is to bring 300,000 students into Japan from elsewhere. It is an ambitious goal. In 2011 the total number of students at the 13 participant universities from outside the country was only 21,429. The desire to broaden the student experience through internationalisation is to do with enhancing universities’ ratings in the public perception. When we visited Japan we found that not everyone was in favour of the strong move towards internationalisation. We saw the results of a survey at Kansai University which had ranked speaking a non-Japanese language as of very low importance, and there is still a widespread impression that Japanese companies prefer to take new recruits who can be taught the company’s own culture and ideology, rather than bringing in too many strange new ideas from personal experience abroad.
Use the interactive sheets here
Midlands Conference 2013 - japan study tour internationalisation and the student experience
14 universities and higher education
4 cities – Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and
Internationalisation & the student
Employability & the graduate job market
Quality assurance & enhancement
About the Tour
Each of us had very different reasons for
wishing to participate in this study trip,
from my own point of view:
It was a chance to see at least part of
another country and culture
To have time, space and distance to re-
evaluate current roles and perhaps
identify a new direction of travel
Growth of HE
Shrinking pool of