Along with foreign tourists, Japan had been seeing a steady increase in its number of foreign students in the years leading up to the start of the pandemic. Those numbers have since dipped severely, but Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has now made it clear that he doesn’t just want to see the number of foreigners studying in Japan recover to what it once was, but for even more students from abroad to come to Japan as part of their educational development.
Earlier this week, Kishida held a meeting with Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Keiko Nagaoka in which the two discussed the state of higher education in Japan and issues to be examined by the Council for the Creation of Future Education, part of the prime minister’s cabinet. One of the topics that came up was the Plan for 300,000 Exchange Students, which was created by MEXT (as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is officially abbreviated) in 2008. During the meeting, Kishida instructed Nagaoka to conduct a thorough review and reformulation of the program.
This isn’t because the program was a failure, however. The Plan for 300,000 Exchange Students actually met its original goal ahead of time, with roughly 337,000 studying in Japan at the end of 2018. What Kishida wants now is for Nagaoka and MEXT to come up with a plan that will attract even more than 300,000 foreign students to the country.
What’s more, it’s Kishida’s hope is that an increasing number of those foreign students will remain in Japan as working adults after finishing their study programs. In addition, or perhaps as a part of, the Plan for 300,000 Exchange Students revamp, Kishida is asking MEXT to examine ways to improve Japan’s working environments and internationalize its educational system, both to retain foreign students following the completion of their studies in Japan and also to convince Japanese citizens who went overseas for college that they can utilize what they learned while abroad upon returning to their home country.
Source: NHK News Web
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