Impact of Globalization on Japanese Higher Education Policy: Examining Campus Internationalization and Challenge of Japanese Universities

By Yamada, Aki; Yamada, Reiko | Current Politics and Economics of Northern and Western Asia, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Impact of Globalization on Japanese Higher Education Policy: Examining Campus Internationalization and Challenge of Japanese Universities


Yamada, Aki, Yamada, Reiko, Current Politics and Economics of Northern and Western Asia


Introduction

Globalization now impacts higher education throughout the world, with the resultant competition forcing universities everywhere to adapt to current knowledge-based societies. Hawkins views internationalization within higher education as something that higher education institution policymakers seek to either pursue or restrict, but that also has measurable outcomes-notably, mobility and migration (2011, 2012).

R. Yamada states that to be recognized as world-class institutions, it is indispensable that individual universities undertake an internationalizationbased approach to further development (2014). It is perceived universallythat higher education institutions aim to create a knowledge-based academic community, for which international experience is a necessity. In other words, globalization has a huge cultural, economic, and political impact on most higher education institutions around the world. The increased importance of the knowledge industry, innovations in information and communication technologies, stronger orientation toward a market economy, and growth in regional and international governance systems have all contributed to an accelerated flow of people, ideas, culture, technology, goods, and services in an ever more globalized world. Globalization affects countries, cultures, and systems in both positive and negative ways (Altbach, 2002, Altbach, and Knight, 2007). All sectors of society are impacted in this regard, and higher education is no exception (Knight, 2008). As globalization gradually affects higher education, competition has become a central concern insofar as it is closely associated with the global economy. Combined with the impact of globalization and the development of the global knowledge economy, such competitive forces have resulted in a globalized competition that is currently reshaping higher education, framed in many respects by international "ranking" regimes.

Hence, the globalization movement in recent years has greatly affected higher education policy worldwide and higher education institutions in particular. To be a world-class university in research and student learning outcomes becomes one of the key conceptual policies for universities across the world. Thus, as globalization is becoming increasingly prevalent, campus internationalization has become a hot topic among higher education institutions and East Asian as well as Japanese universities are no exception. In order to promote internationalization, universities and colleges have developed study abroad programs, accepted numerous international students, and launched joint research with foreign universities. Globalization has been a key factor in the acceleration of campus internationalization among East Asian universities. Japanese universities as well as many other Asian universities are in the midst of the globalization movement. In this sence, Japanese universities as well as many other Asian universities are obliged to deal with upgrading excellence in research as well as teaching and learning in a more global context. Many new departments and programs using the name of globalization have been recently established. The Western active learning style of pedagogy and the number of classes taught in English has been increased in many Japanese higher edcation institutions.

However, one can ask, "what in fact are the differences between the processes of globalization and higher education policies of internationalization, and what is the relationship between the two? Does one automatically lead to the other? What are the real impacts of internationalization policies as they are implemented at the institutional level? How much is rhetoric and how much is reality?" These are just a few of the questions and concerns that are worthy of further examination and research. For example, it seems clear that globalization affects the upgrading of university education. Campus internationalization has often been developed primarily for promoting intercultural exchange and diversity for knowledge based economies and competencies required in the 21st century. …

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