3 years ago
The latest study published by the Japan Association of Overseas Studies (JAOS) has revealed that in 2017, almost 200,000 Japanese students were studying abroad. Turns out, the USA is the most popular study destination named by 19,024 respondents. Meanwhile, Australia and Canada rank the second and the third in popularity with 17,411 and 12,194 students enrolled in these countries respectively.
Why Is Japanese Government Supporting Student Exchange Programs?
The Japanese word “uchimukishikou” means the “deep-seated inward-oriented tendency” observed in young Japanese people. The Japanese government sees this trend as a serious obstacle for the country’s future growth. Compared to their Chinese and South Korean counterparts, Japanese students have until recently shown less eagerness to study abroad.
At least this is demonstrated by the UNESCO database dating back to 2012. So, 6 years ago there were 33,494 post-secondary Japanese students enrolled abroad which made Japan 23rd in the ranking. Meanwhile, there were 698,395 students from China and 121,437 students from Korea studying overseas at the same time.
At a meeting hosted by JAPAN AKADEMEIA on May 17, 2013, the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, announced the Government’s intention to subsidize Japanese youth willing to study abroad. Next, the “Takeoff! Study Abroad JAPAN” campaign was started by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (also known as MEXT).
Japanese Students Go Abroad To Study Languages?
The 2017 JAOS survey analyzed the data received from the 40 education agencies. Turns out, Japanese students prefer going overseas for language programs and courses:
● 44,625 students from Japan participated in short-term programmes of up to 3 months.
● 10,222 students from Japan enrolled in language courses of over 3 months.
● 15,220 students from Japan were pursuing high school studies abroad.
The English-speaking destinations range in popularity depending on the number of enrolled Japanese students:
● USA (19,025)
● Australia (17,400)
● Canada (12,190)
● the UK (6,561)
● the Philippines (6,238)
It has to be said, the Philippines is rising in popularity due to 20 Japanese-run English language schools offering one-to-one teacher-student lessons.
Will Japanese Students Go Abroad More?
The JAOS 2017 Survey authors predict that the 2020 university examinations reform will emphasize English-language proficiency in Japan. This will inevitably raise the number of Japanese students eager to study overseas.
The university reform is expected to make international language proficiency tests such as TOEFL and IELTS a part of the English entrance examinations. In the era of globalization, improvement of English proficiency is one of Japan’s national priorities. This includes making select Japanese universities more internationalized.
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