Participants say the scheme has been instrumental in helping expand student exchanges and Japan’s influence in the region.
“It’s a very unique learning environment.” Miki Horie, Director of the Division of International Affairs at Ritsumeikan University, one of the institutions leading the charge on internationalisation of education in Japan, told The PIE News. “They don’t use English and if they [students] think someone doesn’t understand what is going on, students help each other in whatever the other’s native language is.
“The social systems between the three countries are very different. My interpretation is that Campus Asia will help”
MEXT allocated funding for the scheme in order to support 120 students from China, Japan and Korea to move between The National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Japan, the Korean Development Institute and Tsinghua University in China, over a period of four years.
Students can either earn credits, two Masters or attend short-term programmes.
Due to language barriers and differences in academic calendars, few collaborative programmes between the three countries have been launched in the past. In 2009, 727 Chinese and 54 Korean students went to Japan and only 96 Japanese went to China and 24 went to Korea for studying in joint/double degree programs.
Horie says educators are facing pressure to meet the government’s 2020 target of 300,000 international students but thinks the programme is a step in the right direction.
“The Japanese population is shrinking,” she said. “Our young generation is inward looking and they are interested in staying in Japan. We have not prepared them for global competitiveness.
“The social systems between the three countries are very different and we don’t understand each other. My interpretation is that Campus Asia will help.”
The perception of progress varies among participants however, says Horie. “The 40-50 year old university administrators are skeptical of future demand for CAMPUS Asia but, young students are quite fascinated,” she explained. “The only thing is, we will have to wait several years to see if the programme improves employability for the young people.”