- SPECIAL REPORT
From the world to Waseda. From Waseda to the world.
An increasing number of students learn internationally. We are about to enter the era in which it is common to choose one from colleges around the world.
In order to make Waseda University the one that is selected by students around the world, let's discuss the true globalization Waseda University should proceed with.
In Waseda University, the phrase "globalization of university" is used as an important keyword. However, in reality, there are few people who have grasped its purpose and the current situations to a sufficient degree. In this circumstance, we requested Prof. Katsuichi Uchida of School of International Liberal Studies, who is a Vice-President for International Affairs, to explain the globalization of Waseda University.
Globalization of Waseda University aiming to become a university chosen by students around the world
Professor / Executive Director
School of International Liberal Studies
Global university since over one century ago
----When looking back on history, when and how did the globalization of Waseda University began?
In 1905, the class for students from Qing was established, and Chinese and Korean international students had accounted for 1/5 to 1/4 of the total Waseda students until the 1920s. After graduation, some of them worked actively, spearheading an independence movement.
For example, Li Dazhao, who founded the Communist Party of China, taught socialism to Mao Zedong at Peking University. Moreover, when the diplomatic relation between Japan and China was normalized in 1972, graduates of Waseda University acted as a bridge between the two countries.
In South Korea, many of Waseda graduates took the central roles in the independence movement. The Donga Daily (newspaper publisher), Korea University, and Samsung were all founded by alumni of Waseda University. By the way, the word "Waseda" means "excellent" in Korean. This is really an excellent accidental coincidence. Through the repeat of such history, the presence of Waseda University has become very strong in Asia, including China and South Korea.
After the Second World War, International Office was established in 1963, to allow students from U.S. colleges to study in Waseda University for one year. Some initiated Japan-related businesses in the United States. This office is now essential in the relation between Waseda University and the United States.
Recently, Waseda University housed Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies in 1998, Graduate School of Global Information and Telecommunication Studies in 2000, Graduate School of Japanese Applied Linguistics in 2001, and Graduate School of Information, Production, and Systems in 2003. At the three graduate schools excluding Graduate School of Japanese Applied Linguistics, students were allowed to earn the master's degrees by attending English-spoken classes only. This system attracted many international students. At School of International Liberal Studies, which was established in 2004, international students account for 1/3 of the total students.
To become a world-class university
----Let me ask you again. How do you define the globalization of university?
It is to become a world-class university from both aspects of education and research. In other words, it is to become a world-renowned university attracting enthusiastic students from around the world.
The means for checking whether or not a university meets worldwide standards include to check whether or not papers have been inserted into the world's most prestigious journals, such as "Science" and "Nature," or whether or not researchers obtained competitive funds, such as the Global COE of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, from the academic aspect; and to see the ratio between teachers and students, from the educational aspect. At present, the top universities in the United States have a teacher-student ratio of 1:10 to 1:15, while that of the humanities course of Waseda University is 1:40. We will proceed with globalization by improving this ratio and having the attitude of improving our services based on the cooperation among teaching and clerical staff.
----Do you have some numerical goals for the promotion of globalization?
In January of this year, Prime Minister Fukuda announced the "scheme for accepting 300,000 international students" at his administrative policy speech. Waseda University aims to enroll 8,000 international students, with reference to the international student ratio of world's top universities: 20%.
Globalization is a means and also an objective.
----Why does university need to undergo globalization?
Firstly, globalization is one of the methods for improving the university level. Japanese universities are now facing the fierce competition for survival. The population aged 18 in Japan is declining; it was 2.04 million in 1992, while the number of newborns last year was 1.06 million. On the other hand, when seeing foreign countries, we can see that the number of people who took the national university entrance examination is 10 million in China. In other Asian countries, the enthusiasm for higher education is growing. In order to maintain or improve the university level, it is essential to accept competent students from around the world, including Asia.
Next, when aiming for globalization, it is necessary to improve various things. Let's consider from the viewpoint of international students.
As for the entry to university, we need to develop systems for facilitating applicants to take the entrance exam from overseas, by preparing other language versions of entrance examinations, taking into account the scores of the unified university entrance examinations in other countries, and starting our term in September in accordance with the worldwide standards. After the entry to university, it is necessary to increase the number of English-spoken classes so as to prepare the curricula for those who still cannot speak Japanese, and further support their living by improving their dormitories.
As for the graduation from university, we need to tackle various problems dogging international students who want to enter Japanese firms, by improving the visa system, corporate sentiment, etc. Namely, it is impossible to achieve the globalization of university, unless the entire structure of Japanese society is changed. Some can be done by university only, but others cannot be done by university only. We need to do what we can do, after understanding these issues.
----For Japanese students, what does the globalization of university mean?
Students would be provided with the environment where they can grow to become world-class personnel. In order to realize it, it is necessary to develop a multicultural campus, which attracts people with various backgrounds, and take some measures for further increasing dispatched international students. There are already a variety of overseas study programs, such as foreign exchange, TSA, ISA, and double degree, but the short-term overseas study program for enabling students to stay abroad at affordable cost during their summer or spring vacation, would provide students with the chance to go abroad more. If a student stays abroad for a month, he/she will deepen his/her interests in the country's language, culture, education, and society, and recognize the necessity of coexistence, see the students of his/her age studying enthusiastically, and then be motivated to study.
Graduate schools also need to attract excellent graduate students from around the world and promote the development of the environment for collaborative research.
----What are the problems for teaching staff?
In order to further increase international collaborative researches, it is necessary to develop a system for facilitate teachers to travel abroad. One possible system is the one of inviting overseas university lecturers to Japan during the summer vacation from May to July. In addition, we hope to develop a system for dispatching new lecturers to liberal arts colleges in the United States, to learn how U.S. lecturers give lectures.
At present, most of graduate schools, departments, and institutes are looking for foreign researchers. It is necessary to prepare an attractive environment, in order to attract competent researchers. In addition, university staff also should have some opportunities to master foreign languages and learn in overseas college.
For the globalization of university, teachers, students, and university staff are also required to improve themselves. Globalization will be accelerated, if departments improve their education and research levels, International Office supports the initiatives of each department as much as possible, and the entire university modifies its organizational structure and systems when necessary.
Waseda University has the tradition of training international students and sending them to the society, since it established the class for students from Qing. Let's turn out personnel who will contribute to the world, by assembling high-quality students from around the world.