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Japan looks to expand overseas campuses

Japan is said to be exploring opening overseas campuses and courses, according to the country’s department of education. 

The representative did not disclose where might be targeted for the campuses or staff exchanges. Photo: Pexels

The department hopes to “allocate subsidies for employing and training skilled staff

A representative from MEXT’s higher education bureau department told The PIE News that as part of the Council of the Creation of Future Education and the government’s efforts, the works were being put in motion.

“We have requested [some funds] in the next financial year’s budget for encouraging Japanese universities to open overseas campuses and courses,” the representative said.

It comes after Japan recently said it would have new measures in place for international vocational graduates to make finding work easier in the country, as part of the Council’s continuing work. 

The Japan News claimed that new proposed programs will allow national, public and private universities to set up campuses overseas and lecturers will be “dispatched from Japan” to give classes. 

“Although we still need a lot of discussion on what type of ‘overseas campuses’ we can have in the scope, and how to support universities,” the representative told The PIE. 

In terms of staffing, the representative said that the department hopes to “allocate subsidies for employing and training skilled staff”, as well as using funding to pay for rented offices and other elements. 

“Exchanging staff could be an element for the subsidy if it is part of staff training, but we need [to discuss this] with the Ministry of Finance,” the representative confirmed.

They did not disclose where might be targeted for the campuses or staff exchanges.

While talks are clearly still in preliminary stages, Davide Rossi, CEO at Go!Go! Nihon, an agency in Japan, said it was a “solid move” for internationalisation.

“It [should] make it easier for Japanese students to enrol in Japan and spend time abroad and vice versa. 

“It will ease some of the worries that Japanese students and their families have about studying abroad and also help find students willing to enrol to a Japanese university from abroad,” he claimed.

The Council of the Creation of Future Education did include some lines in its documentation in April following a March meeting to suggest that overseas campuses would be part of its future internationalisation plan. 

No concrete operational information for how this would be achieved was given.

“We still need a lot of discussion on what type of “overseas campuses” we can have”

While Rossi said that the Council’s current work is notable, more needs to be done to really internationalise Japan. 

“[We must] create more job opportunities for students and fresh foreign graduates – besides those working in factories and convenience stores, and also simplify the visa process for motivated students who are willing to live and study in Japan,” he explained.

India has notably most recently begun opening campuses outside the country, with IIT Madras opening a branch campus in Tanzania, the National Forensic Sciences University opening in Uganda, and a campus of the Centre of Excellence for Information Technology opening in Namibia in July.

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