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Japanese Universities Will Be Harder to Graduate From

Posted September. 12, 2007 07:09,   


Japanese universities will become easier to get into and harder to graduate from.

The Japanese media reported on Tuesday that the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture’s Central Advisory Council, which is preparing reforms in university education, will request universities to strengthen their requisites for graduation.

The council is planning to request universities to administer a graduation exam, and the government to draft a set of abilities university students must acquire before graduating.

According to this plan, universities will not only hold graduation exams, but also set new goals and grading standards for classes, and come up with methods to assess the achievements of their students.

The set of abilities will include knowledge to learn basic information regarding a specific field of study and to connect it to history or society, the ability to speak, read, and write in Japanese or foreign languages, the attitude required for team work and morals, and creative thinking skills to solve problems using all these aforementioned skills.

The Japanese media commented that while the number of university students is on the rise, the quality of university education has been falling. They say that the council came up with this request because it is worried that the credibility of Japanese universities will fall if no changes are made.

Due to the low birth rate and relaxing of regulations, practically all high school graduates get into universities. The number of university applicants and the number of entrants are almost the same and this will make it hard to distinguish students upon admission. The recruiters criticize that a university graduation degree is meaningless. Universities accepted 698,000 or 90.5 percent of 772,000 applicants in 2007. In 2006, some 40 percent of four-year universities could not find enough entrants and 32 percent of applicants were admitted after just handing in thesis papers and without an entrance exam or interview.

The Economic Advisory Council, as well as the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture, is voicing concerns about the need to upgrade the quality of university education, especially when facing Japan’s low birth rate.