The Education Ministry said it will be doubling its study scholarships for the 2014 academic year to encourage more college students to pursue studies abroad. The reason for this is so that more workers and employees in Japan will have had international experience due to their studies.
In 2010, only 58,000 Japanese students studied outside the country, a large decrease from the record high 83,000 during the 2004 academic year. This is largely due to the struggling economy which affected families and increased their financial burdens. Instead of pursuing further education abroad, students concentrated on finding jobs to help out their families. The ministry said it will increase its grants to around 20,000 and the scholarship base to 71 million dollars. They are also trying to rally contributions from private sectors by considering giving tax incentives to companies that will give out scholarships. They have set aside 36 million dollars for the 2013 academic year, and students who avail of grants do not need to repay the money after they graduate. The government currently supports 200 students studying abroad for more than a year with 20 thousand dollars per year while they also give 800 dollars to around 1,000 students who are pursuing overseas studies for less than a year.
Conversely, some local schools like Kyoto University are trying to get more foreign students to enroll in them. The mayor of Kyoto, Keiji Yamada, has proposed to grant permanent residence status to overseas students who will be graduating from the university as an incentive. This is to drive up enrolment, after it is predicted that the statistics would become lower in the next few decades due to the lower birth rate in the country. Kyoto University was named one of the Top 10 universities in Times Higher Education (THE) Asian University Rankings. Japan had twenty two institutions in the listing, more than any other country in Asia.
[ via NHK World ]
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