13 March 2009

JHEO Blog Announcement

JPN HEO Blog will be taking a two-week break in order to move offices (the reconstruction of the east wing of the College of Education #1 Building of University of Fukui will soon be finished). We hope to be back in April with the long-awaited finish to the 'Why English in Japan Fails' series. We then hope to open up discussion on teaching issues specific to HE in Japan and E. Asia, including TEFL.

"The Australian" Newspaper Reports Asian Nations Seek to Harmonize HE Systems

At a practical level, harmonization is a long way off. Recently, Malaysian graduates of Japanese universities won the right of recognition of their degrees when they return to Malaysia. Still, transferring grades and credits across international borders is largely a hit-or-miss affair. And American-style accreditation (which has some good but also some very bad aspects) is far from being a universally accepted method of certifying the validity of a degree. I argue that in the future accreditation and intitutional certification should address specialities and modes of delivery. 'Regional accreditation' in the US now seems largely obsolete given the global pretensions of the US as a HE exporter.


Asian nations aim to harmonise systems

ARGUING the case for an extensive overhaul of co-operation and compatibility involving 6500 higher education institutions and 12 million students in 10 widely differing nations is no easy task; and it's particularly onerous if the deadline for implementation is 2015.

Yet last week scholars and bureaucrats from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations met in Bangkok to take the first faltering steps towards a compatibility and harmonisation agreement, which is among the goals of a Southeast Asian economic union by 2015.

Center Test (Nationwide University Entrance Exams) Held in Japan in January

The National Center's University Entrance Exams were held 17-18 January 2009. Just over 540,000 university prospects took the exams, a little more than last year. If anything, it indicates that university enrollment in Japan has crested a peak but has not yet begun to decline (even though drastic decline had been predicted to begin from the year 2007).

It's important to remember that (1) for the universities that participate in the center exam program, admissions are still somewhat competitive (about 1 in 3 exam takers will get a place at the university of their choosing) and (2) in any given year about 20% of the applicant pool is comprised of 'non-students'--that is, 'ronin' who are sitting out from higher education for one or more years in hopes of doing well enough on the entrance exams to get into a prestigious institution. Universities and colleges that use the Center Test typically hold their own entrance exams the following month (in February).

At some high-ranked universities, students who make the 'cut off' on the Center Test scores are then asked to start from 'zero' and compete against all the other people taking a particular university's own exam. Other universities, typically lower-ranked ones, average or otherwise combine the Center Test score with their own exams' scores in order to determine admissions for their institutions and/or specific programs.


Excerpt from the Kyodo News article found at JT:

>>College entrance exams kick off nationwide
Kyodo News

>>This year, a record 797 schools took part in the annual rite as 20 more schools, including two- and four-year colleges, joined in. The exams are coordinated by the National Center for University Entrance Examinations, an independent administrative agency.

A total of 543,981 students signed up for the tests, up 596 from the previous year, with high school students due to graduate in March accounting for a record 79.3 percent of all applicants.<< href="http://www.dnc.ac.jp/">National Center's own website (the link below is to particular pages with data on this year's test population).


For more analysis of the exams and their significance, see this informative Japan Times article:



>>The tough competition used to be known as "examination hell" as applicants crammed with the goal of getting into the best schools to ensure the best career opportunities.

Now that the population is in decline, the competition is changing. Universities are struggling to survive and they need to ensure they enroll enough students to do so.

Following are some facts about the university entrance exams:<<

2008 Shanghai Jiao Tong University ARWU Global Rankings

I have extracted the Japanese universities' entries. The results are very similar to the THES rankings I featured late last year at the JHEO Blog.


Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Top 100

19 Tokyo Univ Asia/Pac 1 Japan 1 32.2 14.1 43.1 51.9 83.3 35 46.4

23 Kyoto Univ Asia/Pac 2 Japan 2 35.4 33.4 38.6 35.8 70.6 31.5 43.5

68 Osaka Univ Asia/Pac 5 Japan 3 11.2 0 26.3 28.2 63.6 28.7 28.3

79 Tohoku Univ Asia/Pac 7 Japan 4 16.8 0 21.9 23.2 63.9 28.9 27.1

Top 100 Asia Pacific universities

1 Tokyo Univ 19 Japan 1
2 Kyoto Univ 23 Japan 2
5 Osaka Univ 68 Japan 3
7 Tohoku Univ 79 Japan 4
9-16 Kyushu Univ 101-151 Japan 5-7
9-16 Nagoya Univ 101-151 Japan 5-7
9-16 Tokyo Inst Tech 101-151 Japan 5-7
17-22 Hokkaido Univ 152-200 Japan 8-9
17-22 Tsukuba Univ 152-200 Japan 8-9
23-41 Hiroshima Univ 201-302 Japan 10-12
23-41 Keio Univ 201-302 Japan 10-12
23-41 Kobe Univ 201-302 Japan 10-12
42-68 Kanazawa Univ 303-401 Japan 13-18
42-68 Niigata Univ 303-401 Japan 13-18
42-68 Okayama Univ 303-401 Japan 13-18
42-68 Tokyo Med & Dental Univ 303-401 Japan 13-18
42-68 Waseda Univ 303-401 Japan 13-18
42-68 Yamaguchi Univ 303-401 Japan 13-18
69-100 Ehime Univ 402-503 Japan 19-31
69-100 Gifu Univ 402-503 Japan 19-31
69-100 Gunma Univ 402-503 Japan 19-31
69-100 Kagoshima Univ 402-503 Japan 19-31
69-100 Nagasaki Univ 402-503 Japan 19-31
69-100 Nara Inst Sci & Tech 402-503 Japan 19-31
69-100 Nihon Univ 402-503 Japan 19-31
69-100 Osaka City Univ 402-503 Japan 19-31
69-100 Osaka Prefecture Univ 402-503 Japan 19-31
69-100 Tokyo Metropolitan Univ 402-503 Japan 19-31
69-100 Tokyo Univ Agr & Tech 402-503 Japan 19-31

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