Academic journal article International Education Studies

Goals, Strategies, and Achievements in the Internationalization of Higher Education in Japan and Taiwan

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Goals, Strategies, and Achievements in the Internationalization of Higher Education in Japan and Taiwan

Article excerpt


International knowledge and skills are essential for success in today's highly competitive global marketplace. As one of the key providers of such knowledge and skills, universities have become a key focus of the internationalization strategies of governments throughout the world. While the internationalization of higher education clearly has certain benefits for students, schools, the national economy, and the international community, each country gives a different degree of importance to each of these various benefits. The purpose of this study was threefold: 1) to determine which benefits of the internationalization of education are deemed most important in Taiwan and Japan; 2) to determine which measures are most effective for realizing these benefits; and 3) to determine the extent to which these measures have actually been carried out. A questionnaire was used to obtain the views of 100 professors, 50 in Taiwan and 50 in Japan, as to the current situation in their respective countries. The results indicate that there are significant differences between the two country's reasons for promoting the internationalization of education, as well as in their respective internationalization strategies.

Keywords: higher education, internationalization, comparative education, strategic management

1. Introduction

Globalization and the growing importance of the knowledge economy have become perennial challenges facing all countries in the past two decades. Surviving the fierce global competition in the new millennium requires a high level of international knowledge and skills. Since universities by nature are centres of knowledge generation and bases for the cultivation of human resources, they have thus been targeted by most governments as the crux for promoting internationalization.

The internationalization of higher education can be defined as 'the process of integrating an international dimension into the teaching, research, and service functions of an institution of higher education'. This can be achieved by a variety of strategies, including: encouraging students to study abroad; recruiting foreign students; strengthening cooperation with overseas universities; establishing international education centres; integrating international knowledge into the curriculum; and promoting the publication of articles in international journals.

In determining the optimal strategy for the internationalization of education for a given country, it is necessary to first determine the nation's reasons for promoting internationalization. Ma (2002) suggests that internationalization of education is both an 'inevitable fact' and a 'necessary value', and that the goals should be established at the very beginning of the internationalization process so as to facilitate the assessment of the value and the selection of strategic alternatives. Marginson (2010) argues that inasmuch as higher education is simultaneously global, national, and local, it is necessary to have a full understanding of the goals and dynamics of internationalization at various different levels-individual, institutional, national, and global-and how to go about making the most effective improvements in the process and the results.

Universities in Taiwan and Japan are no exception. Japan was the first country in the region to actively promote internationalization. In 1983 the Japanese government announced the '100,000 by 2000' project to recruit at least 100,000 international university students by the year 2000. In 2001 the government of Japan further adopted its 'Global 30' plan for transforming 30 universities into world-class institutions of higher learning. Finally, in 2008 the government announced a plan to attract 300,000 international students to enrol at Japanese universities by 2020.

By contrast, the focus of the internationalization strategy in Taiwan has been on enhancing the overall quality of university education. …

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