08 March 2008

Getting Information on Japan's Higher Education IN ENGLISH

Getting Information on Japan's Higher Education IN ENGLISH
by Charles Jannuzi

If you are limited to researching Japan's higher education (or any other topic about Japan) in English, you will be able to access only a fraction of the information that is available in Japanese on the Japanese WWW. Information in English tends to be out-of-date and incomplete, which leads to the duplication and proliferation of errors in the western/global media.

Still, I have concentrated on English-language sources in my links from this blog out to the wider web, and I have been consistently surprised by the amount of news, information and analysis that is available if you know where and how to look.

Perhaps the most useful are the topical, fresh translations from the Japanese press that make it into the handful of Japan's English-language newspapers and news services. More recently, the web-based news aggregation sites (such as Japan Probe, Japan Today, NewsOnJapan, and Japan Herald) help to make that information even more accessible and discoverable through search of the WWW or news (such as YahooNews).

However, if you wish to pursue more systematic and in-depth research (such as for academic purposes or your own journalism or blog), then the single best source of information on education in Japan is the English-language sections of the website of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). One problems is that its website is sprawling and confusing to navigate at first. A second weakness is the English-language content is not near as deep or up-to-date as the body of it in Japanese.

The main reason why MEXT's site is a treasure trove of information that goes beyond a lot of other ministries or government departments, both inside and outside Japan, is MEXT's scale. It really is a 'super-ministry', a combination of cabinet-level management of education with huge science budgets and policies.

Here is a list of some of the best English-language pages to search and read for topics related to higher education / tertiary education / further education in Japan.

1. Education English-language front page of MEXT


2. Front English-language page of MEXT for Higher Education.


3. Stats on Universities and Junior Colleges


4. Stats on Colleges of Technology


5. Stats on Specialized Training Colleges


6. Stats on Miscellaneous Schools


7. Stats on Science and Technology
(which MEXT oversees in the national government)


8. Japan's Education at a Glance 2006
(Guide on entire education system,
previous editions can be download as compiled pdfs)


9. Overview of the structure of the MEXT 'super-ministry'


10. Monthly index of MEXT press releases
(the limited English-language ones, not too frequent unfortunately)


11. Database of Statistics on Japan's Higher Education
at the website of the Research Institute for Higher Education,
Hiroshima University (a high-ranked national university).


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