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Super Global University Project
Eager to have Japanese universities reach a high level of globalization, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) suggested in May 2013 the Super Global Universities (SGU) project, in order to reform higher education in Japan to comply with the new global context.
What is the SGU project ?
The MEXT selected, on September 30th, universities that are among the best in Japan and are seen as having the potential to lead the way for other Japanese universities in the future. The project has two categories: A and B. According to their status, the selected universities will receive financial support from the Japanese Government. Universities in Group A will focus in becoming research institutes that won't lose to the top universities in the world; and universities in Group B are expected to develop themselves as role models of what is a global university. In exchange for the program’s aids, some of the actions expect are to take certain measures in order to become more internationalized (such as improving the rate of foreign students and faculty, offering more courses in English…), and to raise their quality of education to world-class level.
The project’s aims are as following:
-Introduce fully mobilizing systems and budget;
-Achieve structural change to form global universities and open up a new scenery of higher education in the world;
-Stimulate cooperation with world top universities;
-Foster innovative approaches for global competitiveness;
In total, 37 universities were chosen to be part of the SGU project. They will receive public and financial support to develop their international focus. As an example, the first 13 universities selected (A Group) will receive an annual amount of up to 500 million yen (roughly US$5 million).
What are the expected outcomes of the SGU project ?
Firstly, the MEXT wants to consistently raise the level of higher education in Japan and to make Japanese universities very attractive and competitive in the globalized world. For instance, it is hoped that at least 10 of them will reach the top 100 universities in the world at the international universities rankings. This project is also expected to have long-term outcomes that will make Japan more competitive. The SGU project intends to lead some improvements such as the development of co-hosting and joint-degree programs with world-class universities and the internationalisation of administrative offices. Finally, the Government trusts that this project will encourage other domestic universities to follow the movement and become more globalized.
The reforms and measures to implement will be challenging, but the objective is set and the ambition is double: the Government hopes to raise the level of Japanese higher education and also aims to send a message to the world. Japan is now ready to welcome international talents and provide them with the best education possible, and also to always reach further with new innovative and constructive partnerships. That way, Japan will raise the competiveness of its higher education system, which will lead to important progresses in the country economy, industry and business and strengthen the role of Japan on the international stage.