'Globalizing' Higher Education in Japan: The Experience of Akita International University
15 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2013
This paper reviews and assesses the trend in Japanese higher education towards a "globalized curriculum," focusing especially on the experience of Akita International University (AIU), a public university which was established with the mission of establishing a model for this trend in Japan.
AIU is the first university in Japan to adopt English as the language of instruction for all courses. Further, all of its students are required to study abroad for a year at partner institutions established around the world. In turn, it accepts exchange students from those institutions, meaning that many of its classes have to cater to both Japanese and international students.
Universities around Japan are beginning to offer similar educational experiences, offering courses in English, increasing study abroad opportunities, and adapting its curriculum to "globalization". This trend has been backed by the Japanese Ministry of Education, which has a peculiar role in influencing the direction of education in this country.
Through assessing the experience of AIU and the trends in Japan, we consider the meaning of "internationalization" and its effects on higher education and discuss the issues and obstacles in the implementation of the idea.
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