Japan is no longer a new player in the international education market. Since the Meiji era, the country has been working on internationalizing its education system, calling for modernizing its systems and hiring foreign experts to take the helm of tertiary education in most Japanese institutes. As the country struggled with depopulation in the last 20 years, government agencies needed to double their efforts to make sure that their system would remain competitive against the popular superpowers.
The concerted effort given by the education ministry along with national universities has successfully cemented Japan’s reputation as a competitive study hub for international students.
Steady Government Support
Japan’s education ministry has set out new plans to encourage enrollment in more international universities toward the 2022 academic year.
This initiative aims to make Japanese universities ramp up their competitiveness as a premier study hub for international students, attracting higher education learners from China, Vietnam, Nepal, South Korea, and Taiwan.
Increasing Competitiveness in National Universities
With Japanese education getting noticed by recognition bodies, the government is further pushing forward to make sure the country will become a top choice among students with aspirations to study abroad. To date, the country has at least five higher education institutions (HEIs) ranking within the top 100 of the 2021 QS World University Rankings, with University of Tokyo having the strongest global ranking at the 24th position.
Retaining Top-Caliber Educators
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry understands that attracting more international students starts from having the right people to provide education. Over the years, Japan has been making considerable investments in their teaching staff. In terms of income and job security, teachers in Japan are among those that have stable jobs. After completing their one-year internship post-licensing, teachers can enjoy their position for many years.
Many people place high value on the teaching profession. In Japan, teachers are respected and even receive better salary rates than other civil servants. Of course, good pay means that the selection process is rigorous. Aside from completing their degree from an HEI, they also have to pass several exams and undergo training. Educators are also encouraged to avail of continuing education.
High Job Absorption Rates
It helps that most Japanese companies are motivated to absorb more good talents into their pool. They do so by making their workforce competitive, looking beyond nationality; and this is evident in the exponential increase in the number of international students working for Japanese companies.
Strong Impact in Technology & Innovation
Japan has always been among the most technologically advanced nations. The 2021 U.S. News and World Report ranked Japan as the #1 among forward-thinking economies, topping the list for five consecutive years. Due to this, many foreign students are convinced that Japanese education can help prepare them for future success. About 35% of students chose to study in Japan because they found education and research in Japanese institutions appealing.
It is worth noting that Japan’s success did not happen overnight. It took years of commitment to ensure they have given education a priority to help ignite economic growth, allowing them to become among the economic superpowers of today. Associate professor Yuriko Sato of the Tokyo Institute of Technology shared that foreign students are critical in retaining good talent in the country.
“Gaining foreign talent is key for business amid the shrinking domestic market, and foreign students will continue to be the source of highly skilled human resources for Japan,” said Sato.
One thing is certain—Japan is on the right track in its efforts to invest in strategies to ramp up enrollment of international students. With concrete plans in the pipeline, the post-pandemic world can expect to see Japan leading the pack in higher education.
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