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Japan's universities improve in global rankings after years of decline

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42nd for Todai . . .

6 ( +6 / -0 )

He called on Japan to increase investment in order to attract more overseas students.

Japan increase investments in education? Japan spends less on education than all the G7 countries. In fact, they only spend nearly half of the closest competitor. I might see a unicorn today.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Japan's hammer style of education beats much of the fun of learning out of kids well before they get to University level. Teachers stand in front of the class as lifeless robots repeating word for word textbook content. No elaboration..... no interesting tidbits.... no inflection.... no interaction.... just wrote repetition. Sure not all teachers do this.... but far too many do. The world is changing very quickly. Countries need young people that can think on their feet with imagination.... not another computer chip that can only do as programmed. Change needs to come from the bottom up!

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Ahh and what of the great Tokyo University and it’s lowering of ladies scores so the boys look better?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Paper on how Japanese universities can rightfully improve their global rankings, with particular reference to the leading Kansai regional private universities: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323005518_University_Website_Optimization_and_Google_Scholar_for_Academic_Recognition

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I just don't think that they 'get' education here, period. Facilitating a passion for new concepts, history , ideas , critical thinking and  lifelong learning . You know the necessary tools to thrive not just survive. Teachers should be master story tellers, but...

10 ( +10 / -0 )

These rankings measure quite a bit of things outside of teaching, research is a major factor. Also its important to note that these are ratings of individual universities and not Japanese education as a whole. The government has done a lot to promote a core group of its elite universities in recent years with a few different programs, which help them maintain their position in international rankings but don’t affect the vast majority of universities which fall outside that elite group (and which generally don’t make the international rankings).

Ahh and what of the great Tokyo University and it’s lowering of ladies scores so the boys look better?

It wasn’t Tokyo University which did that, it was Tokyo Medical University. Similar names but different institutions.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Japan surpasses Britain as the second most-represented in the listing of 1,250 higher education institutions for the first time.

This is a joke, right? Is this a case of quantity over quality?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

For people working in universities, do these rankings have any meaning? I know that they tend to look at research and published papers, but won't that judge quantity over quality? All journals won't be equal, and I wouldn't be surprised if some out there serve a role akin to vanity publishing. Japanese companies traditionally would collect thousands of patents, but they weren't all for important inventions. Some would be researchers and research groups simply hitting a target number of patents set by their superiors.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For people working in universities, do these rankings have any meaning? I know that they tend to look at research and published papers, but won't that judge quantity over quality? All journals won't be equal, and I wouldn't be surprised if some out there serve a role akin to vanity publishing. Japanese companies traditionally would collect thousands of patents, but they weren't all for important inventions. Some would be researchers and research groups simply hitting a target number of patents set by their superiors.

There is a complex business model behind these rankings. Universities have to pay to get the underlying data and methodology on which their score is based, which is important to developing a strategy for climbing the rankings (which is not the same as improving the university necessarily) and is not cheap. My understanding is that most Japanese universities have balked at doing this, though my source on that is several years old now.

The rankings are at least aware of the problem of junk publishing and I am sure they control for that. One critique though is that they seem to give more weight to English language publications and less (none?) to Japanese language ones, which puts Japanese scholars at an unfair disadvantage.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

For people working in universities, do these rankings have any meaning?

Yes, in the sense that management are obsessed with these rankings and where their institution is. This leads to excessive paperwork as the university bureaucracy tries to measure everything we do. They employ people to analyse our output, people who then make unhelpful suggestions like "you should publish in journals with a higher impact factor and write book chapters".

Basically, the management of every institution wants to be in, e.g. the top 50, but of course that isn't possible. Anyway, we are down in the rankings again this year, so my recent book chapter didn't seem to help.

Japanese companies traditionally would collect thousands of patents, but they weren't all for important inventions. Some would be researchers and research groups simply hitting a target number of patents set by their superiors.

That was me when I worked in a Japanese company.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One critique though is that they seem to give more weight to English language publications and less (none?) to Japanese language ones, which puts Japanese scholars at an unfair disadvantage.

well any top Japanese scholar that doesnt have at least a decent command of english shouldn't really be a scholar, that goes for all scholars around the world. English is the international language and is the tool use to communicate ideas research between scholars around the world. Without this international communication your severely limiting your access to vast number of intellect and ideas

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Yes, in the sense that management are obsessed with these rankings and where their institution is. This leads to excessive paperwork as the university bureaucracy tries to measure everything we do. They employ people to analyse our output, people who then make unhelpful suggestions like "you should publish in journals with a higher impact factor and write book chapters".

Basically, the management of every institution wants to be in, e.g. the top 50, but of course that isn't possible. Anyway, we are down in the rankings again this year, so my recent book chapter didn't seem to help.

You work in a Japanese university? I do and we have nothing like that. The administration is focused on encouraging us to get research grants, but doesn’t care too much where we get published, which I think is typical for Japanese universities (at least national ones).

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japanese universities will not prosper in the future nor rise in rankings if they don't adapt to globalization at a faster pace and encourage english-based degree programs. It seems such programs are evident at some institutions, but it should be more widespread. That only 11% of Tokyo University students are international students is pretty embarrassing.

I've always thought that if a couple Japanese universities, say Kyoto University, were to begin mandatory first-year intensive English coursework for particular schools within the university, that they could then implement english-based degree programs much easier and create knowledgeable students who move on to study or work outside of Japan. There is definitely an imperative for Japanese universities to change their amount of foreign faculty, etc, but I also believe that some universities should begin more holistic entrance examinations but expect more of their students once they enter.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Does Japan still lead the field in number of retractions?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I just don't think that they 'get' education here, period. Facilitating a passion for new concepts, history , ideas , critical thinking and lifelong learning . You know the necessary tools to thrive not just survive. Teachers should be master story tellers, but...

I couldn't agree with this post enough!

Students here are so deprived of intellect, it's almost a human rights abuse. The answers are basically given to them ahead of tests. Just rote memorization. I'm not sure about universities, but NO student fails in the school system. It's all A's B's and C's... That pretty sums up Japanese 'education' in general, I think.

The universities here should probably be lower on the list, but in true Japanese style, the worst are well-hidden from foreigners who don't understand Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

42nd is not something to proud of in an Olympic race. Usually gold, silver and bronze. Also think Kyodai is better than Todai. My opinion....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rankings often disgust me as do many political and scientific poles as it depends on the criteria used, what the intent and primary questions are with questions as to how the questions were worded, presented, explained and ultimately interpreted by the participants and the researchers.

That being said, the rankings do shed light on the priorities of those who support education in each country and the level and quality and possibly quantity (number) of educators, researchers, guided, trainers and the students that are available within that country. But, that does not necessarily depend on the educational funding as much as the educational "environment" and "system" within that country, state, and community as a social culture that motivates and cultivates educators and students alike.

Japan's educational system continues to serve as a "conduit" to getting "better jobs" and "serving" existing economic, social and cultural needs which takes much too long a "controlled" educational infrastructure to advance and climb. That process creates a layer of top educators and education organizers that tries to "preserve" a status rather than to improve and grow by changing to face the needs of the future. The answer to which event the best of schools are struggling to find today.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

well any top Japanese scholar that doesnt have at least a decent command of english shouldn't really be a scholar, that goes for all scholars around the world. English is the international language and is the tool use to communicate ideas research between scholars around the world. Without this international communication your severely limiting your access to vast number of intellect and ideas

It depends on the disciplines. Hard sciences? Yes, I agree. But in a lot if areas, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, this is not the case. A Japanese professor of law writing about Japanese law for example is rarely going to publish in English, so even if they are recognized as the top scholar in their field they won’t get much credit fir it in these rankings. And even for profs in the hard sciences a substantial part of their writing is going to be in Japanese since they want to disseminate their work in Japan too. All of this works against Japanese universities without really being a reflection of the quality of their scolarship.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Been here a while to know...last year of high school is the peak. So hard. You have to pass the test to enter the best uni. Then chill out. Probably only 30% are really interested in research or development.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And even for profs in the hard sciences a substantial part of their writing is going to be in Japanese since they want to disseminate their work in Japan too.

Ofor course they want to disseminate their work in Japan too, but surely the rest of the world wants to read it too. If it is of any real significance it would be translated.

Actually being unable to read English well will hold a lot back. A lot of academic work will only be published in Economics - it really isn't economic to translate into every language. As a result researchers in Japan are probably only accessing a fraction of thought out there.

This isn't a problem in most other countries where academics would happily operate in English.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

For course they want to disseminate their work in Japan too, but surely the rest of the world wants to read it too. If it is of any real significance it would be translated.

This is just wrong. Maybe 1% of academic work gets translated into another language - its just way too costly and cumbersome. In my discipline if I want to do research on certain topics I have to make substantial reliance on leading works which are only available in Japanese. The mere fact that they have not been translated is by no means an indictment of their quality.

Actually being unable to read English well will hold a lot back. A lot of academic work will only be published in Economics - it really isn't economic to translate into every language. As a result researchers in Japan are probably only accessing a fraction of thought out there.

There is a massive difference between being able to “read” English and being able to write scholarly work in it. I don’t think I have ever met a Japanese academic who could not read English, it is baaically a job prerequisite. And any academic paper written in Japanese will make ample reference to leading works in English (where such exist, a book related to Japanese history for example likely won’t because all the leading work in the field ia Japanese but in fields where it is relevant they know it).

This isn't a problem in most other countries where academics would happily operate in English.

This is definitely a problem in other countries, even ones in Europe where English is generally more widely spoken scholars are not super thrilled with the way the rankings give a boost to English publications.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan surpasses Britain as the second most-represented in the listing of 1,250 higher education institutions for the first time.

This is a joke, right? Is this a case of quantity over quality?

I'm sure it is a joke. I work with a few coworkers from so-called "high level" universities here. My university ranked just between mid and high level. However, whenever it came to serving clients better and business management skills, most of my coworker's skills came from textbook experience rather than applied and real world experience.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm sure it is a joke. I work with a few coworkers from so-called "high level" universities here. My university ranked just between mid and high level. However, whenever it came to serving clients better and business management skills, most of my coworker's skills came from textbook experience rather than applied and real world experience.

Its not a joke, its mostly just a result of Japan (population 125 million) having more universities than Britain (population 65 million). The top UK universities (Cambridge, Oxford) rank way higher than the top Japanese ones, but Japan has more overall in the top 1250 globally.

And about your experience, universities aren't a place where people learn client service skills or management skills (except maybe in MBA programs for the latter). Real world experience is what you learn in the real world after graduation. University is meant to teach you the stuff that the real world doesn't. That is the same around the world.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

rainydayToday  12:55 pm JST

I'm sure it is a joke. I work with a few coworkers from so-called "high level" universities here. My university ranked just between mid and high level. However, whenever it came to serving clients better and business management skills, most of my coworker's skills came from textbook experience rather than applied and real world experience.

Its not a joke, its mostly just a result of Japan (population 125 million) having more universities than Britain (population 65 million). The top UK universities (Cambridge, Oxford) rank way higher than the top Japanese ones, but Japan has more overall in the top 1250 globally.

And about your experience, universities aren't a place where people learn client service skills or management skills (except maybe in MBA programs for the latter). Real world experience is what you learn in the real world after graduation. University is meant to teach you the stuff that the real world doesn't. That is the same around the world.

That's kind of sad, since my university was a polytechnic university that stressed the importance of "Learning by doing." Most of my classes involved a project or a report that involved outside research on case studies of businesses. We had to analyze them and come up with solutions before being presented with solutions. Some classes involved interning at businesses to learn from them and yourself.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's kind of sad, since my university was a polytechnic university that stressed the importance of "Learning by doing." Most of my classes involved a project or a report that involved outside research on case studies of businesses. We had to analyze them and come up with solutions before being presented with solutions. Some classes involved interning at businesses to learn from them and yourself.

Perhaps I should have phrased that better, learning about the real world through experience certainly is something you can do in some university programs (depending on the school and the discipline). But the function of universities is a lot bigger than that: advancing the frontiers of research and knowledge while fostering intellect in students. In my field (law) a common critique from practitioners is that law school graduates enter the profession with very little knowledge of the day to day work of lawyers. I've always hated that critique because of course law schools aren't teaching them that, those are skills which students are better placed learning in law firms after graduation. The function of the law school on the other hand is in large part to teach the substance of the law, how to think like a lawyer, the theory behind the legal system and all the other things that can't be learned on the job because if the law school doesn't do that, nobody will. Even this isn't so black and white though since a lot of law schools do have courses which offer practical skills training, but most classes aren't like that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Universities = Repetitive Robotic Stress Life, you got to do everything in time.

Family Business = Keep Counting and You still have to count even if it is zero and minus.

Stray Freelancer = You will hit on the pole which will either fall on you or the otherside.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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