Thursday, March 06, 2008

Higher education going down (Japan)

SideLines, March 2008

In the Japan Times of 28th Feb., 2008, W. Hollingworth introduces the conclusions of Roger Goodman, from Oxford University, on the future of higher education in Japan.

The falling birthrate in this country, and the limited movement older-age students into universities, are leading to "an implosion of a type not seen before". "There is little evidence that the vast-majority of the lower-level four universities will be able to rise to meet the demographic challenges that currently face them".

Goodman suggests that struggling Japanese universities should look to alternative sources of income by undertaking more research projects and raising endowments. Japanese universities also struggle to attract foreign students, so Goodman also suggests employing more foreign staff, and conducting more courses in English.

His work, "‘Education in the Aged Society: The Demographic Challenge to Japanese Education’, will be published soon (March, 2008) in Florian Coulmas, Harald Conrad, Annette Schad and Gabriele Vogt (eds)., The Demographic Challenge: A Handbook about Japan, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.

Comment: Historically, it has been quite difficult for Japanese to return to Japan and find work after long periods of study and work abroad. Perhaps a more open employment system will also help them, as well as helping universities to survive in Japan.

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