Academic journal article International Education Studies

A Comparison of the Internationalization of Education in Taiwan and Japan: The Perspective of Elementary School Principals

Academic journal article International Education Studies

A Comparison of the Internationalization of Education in Taiwan and Japan: The Perspective of Elementary School Principals

Article excerpt


Due to the increasing need to develop a globalized workforce, like many countries across the globe, Taiwan and Japan have extended the efforts to internationalize education to the elementary-school level. This study focuses on elementary school principals from both countries and explores the importance that these school leaders place on the level and ordering of various factors in the internationalization of education efforts. Using a questionnaire-based research design, a researcher-made instrument was administered to the principals of both countries, and the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) as well as descriptive statistics were used to compare the internationalization of education goals of both countries in terms of the effectiveness of ordering and practical implementation. Afterwards, the study utilized corresponding analysis (CA) to determine the views of the principals of both countries regarding the relationships between the goals and strategies of international education, which are summarized therein. Finally, through the data obtained and resulting discussion, the study offers some suggestions for the educational institutions and educators of both countries related to the implementation of an international education.

Keywords: globalization, internationalization, principals of elementary schools, analytic hierarchy process (AHP), corresponding analysis (CA)

1. Introduction

Due to the influence of globalization, in an effort to increase the future human resource capabilities of their citizens, governments around the world have begun to view internationalization as an important theme of education policy. Although most current efforts to internationalize education are focused on higher education levels, many countries are extending such efforts into the middle school and even elementary school levels (Bunnell, 2010; Stewart, 2007). At the elementary school level, the intention and focus of international education are to give students early exposure to international contacts, networks, and relationships in order to share knowledge, develop an international perspective, and gain early training and experience in cooperating and/or competing with international partners and competitors. In addition, in the era of globalization, the need also exists to enable students to have an early understanding of regional and global conditions, develop global capabilities, and take on the responsibilities of global citizenship (Adam, 2003; Shaklee & Baily, 2012; Taylor 1994), all of which can lead toward the promotion of the wider goal of world peace (Schoorman, 2000). Therefore, the case can be made that the earlier students are exposed to international education, the more likely it will be for governments to achieve current and future national and international goals (Stewart, 2008). However, while learning from other cultures, one must also develop a national identity and, as a result, one major goal of international education is to find a balance between the promotion of national goals within a framework emphasizing internationalization and multiculturalism (Nukaga, 2003).

As it is an East Asian hub surrounded by the ocean and one of the four little dragons of Asia's economic development, Taiwan's sense of urgency for implementing international education can be imagined. Indeed, in 2011, the Ministry of Education's Education Policy White Paper was released, highlighting the full implementation of international education policies in elementary and junior high schools.

Taiwan and Japan are geographically close and maintain close diplomatic relations; each considers the other to be an important member of the international community. As early as 1983, Japan launched a 10-year plan to attract 100,000 foreign students. Although Japan's efforts to promote international education focused on the higher education level, due to the influence of globalization in the last 10 years, both Taiwan and Japan have experienced an increase in the foreign population through marriage and employment channels, resulting in a change in the educational policies' focus; furthermore, because of the high degree of industrial development, both countries have low birth rates, leading to the formation of domestic populations composed of different nationalities and the need to promote international education both to increase domestic student understanding of international affairs as well as to improve the ability of schools to emolí more students. …

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