Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, is aiming to develop better-skilled graduates by retooling the public universities. The main motto is to transform the government-funded universities of Japan into scientific research centers, schools or global leaders. Japan’s Universities are planning to achieve this target by restructuring the curricula and redefining the missions.
In June, all 86 of Japan’s national level universities were asked to submit their refined plans by the education ministry. Funding was to be allocated to the universities on the basis of their new vision. Mr. Abe promoted this drive with an aim to inject innovation and dynamism in country’s economy by focusing on improved competitiveness of the graduates. To support global business, companies are looking for skilled workers to fill their vacancies. Ehime University, in Western Japan, has planned to focus on job trainings by excluding unnecessary programs. As per the head of Temple University’s Japan campus, Bruce Stronach, priority will be given to traditional fields like literature, science, arts, and history.
Funding, which largely depends on country’s central government for almost 70% of their income, is a powerful motivator for Japan’s universities. Intense competition will be one of the key challenges for the students, as youth population is expected to shrink. As per the predictions from the finance ministry of Japan, the youth population, i.e. 18-year-olds, is likely to drip by half, till the end of 2050.
Government officials have advised the public universities to vary the sources of their revenue by emulating the schools. As per the finance ministry of Japan, in 2012-2013, California Institute of Technology derived almost 56% of its annual revenue of $606 million. Japan’s top university, the University of Tokyo, contributed only 22%, whereas, the government contributes 45% of the total share. Mr. Abe aims to get Japan’s ten universities, listed in the world’s top 100. As per the news published by Times Higher Education magazine of U.K., at present, only two universities of Japan relish the distinction: Tokyo University is ranked at No.23 and Kyoto University is ranked at No. 59.