An initial plan to move its academic year to autumn has been nixed by the University of Tokyo. Instead, they will be implementing four terms of two months each for the academic year starting March 2015, instead of the current two semesters per year. This is a way for students from foreign universities to easily transfer to the Japanese university.
University President Junichi Hamada said that the initial plan to start the academic year by September was scrapped because there were too many logistical issues to overcome. He also said that for that to have worked, it would have required a complete change in the Japanese educational system. Unlike 70% of the schools and universities in the world, Japanese schools start their academic year in April instead of the usual September. This educational cycle has been seen as one of the reasons why there is a low number of international exchange students, with only 1.9% of 14,000 undergraduates at the University of Tokyo from overseas.
The four semester plan has two options: first, an April-May first term with a June-August break followed by three subsequent semesters; or, two semesters each for the current April-July and October-February terms. Either way, the new system will hopefully make it easier for foreign students to enroll at the beginning of the second term which should start September. It will also give a chance for Japanese students to use their break to study abroad, as part of their plan to bring up a generation of globally-minded individuals. Waseda University has already introduced the four semester of “quarter terms” system at their school as an alternative to their current semester system.
[ via Mainichi ]