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Japanese unis to “double” overseas students

Japan’s national universities say they want to double their overseas enrolments by 2020, as well as the number of courses they offer in English. This would mean that international students made up around 10 per cent of the student body and 24,000 courses were available in English.

International students in the Global 30 programme at Tsukuba University

The targets should help Japan win back foreign enrolments after two years of stagnation

“We should promote the quick globalisation of universities by taking every step possible”

The targets, which were agreed by the Japan Association of National Universities, should help Japan win back foreign enrolments after two years of stagnation caused by a strong yen and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In fiscal year 2011 there were 138,075 international students in Japan, 2.6% down from last year, according to the Japan Student Services Association. This fell a further 0.2% in FY2012.

The targets also seek to double the number of Japanese studying at overseas colleges to 5 percent by 2020, as numbers have waned.

Head of the association, University of Tokyo President Junichi Hamada, said: “Unless we set numerical targets, [each university] cannot see how much effort it should be making. We should promote the quick globalisation of universities by taking every step possible.”

Faced with an ageing population and troubled economy, Japan wants more foreign students to bolster its workforce. According to a survey conducted in May 2012 by Disco Inc., 25.9% of Japanese companies said they planned to hire foreign students in FY2013 – up 5% on the previous year.

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