Japan’s varsities short of students as birthrate falls

^ Straits Times 11 Oct 2006

Japan’s varsities short of students as birthrate falls <Link>

An interesting read. Japan’s varsities lacking in students due to the decline in birthrates. This isn’t surprising as the Japanese population has been rapidly aging and the postwar baby boom followed by the decrease in birth. Such can also be seen in Australia and Singapore as well.

The short summary “Private universities are hoping to recruit retirees and foreign students” caught my attention. Would it mean that enterance exams would be exempted? Or the required JLPT level or minimum CES scores be lowered? Courses taught in English? This article did not elaborate the above.

^ Make female students wear uniforms and really short skirts :p

[…] Some students may benefit from the crunch. Many colleges are relaxing acceptance requirement, making career-defining entrance exmas less stressful, said Mr Keigo Nakano, a spokesman at the ministry’s college-entrance section. […]

This is rather good news for Japanese students. Why? Japan’s education is very competitive especially at the college level where you have all the prestigious universities such as University of Tokyo, Waseda University, Kyoto University etc. The students are now given a new path to choose from – Private or Public Universities.

Despite the fact that the private universities are hoping to recruit retirees and foreign students, what can be done at the local level? Back at home, we are encouraged to have more babies through the provision of financial incentives for the first to fourth child of each family. Immigration could also be another ‘solution’. Yet, these are speculations.

What about the retirees? I take it that retirees would be people that havfe retired from working. How would they benefit from such. By learning new skills which they might not use in the near future? Or just to gain additional knowledge?  

[…] China accounted for 80,592 students, followed by South Korea with 15,606, Taiwan with 4,134 and Malaysia with 2,114. There were 1,646 American students […]

I believe the reason why there is such a large number of Chinese students as compared to others is due to the writing system – Kanji (漢字). They are the chinese characters used in Japanese logogram writing system. Given that the characters are the same, with certain differences in pronouncation and meaning, I do understand why Chinese students are a majority of the foreign students there.

How would these private universities continue to woo foreign students and retirees?  No one really knows… 

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