Japan is planning to tighten rules on universities in a bid to protect foreign students after an institution in Tokyo lost contact with more than 1,600 international students.
Last month, Japan’s education ministry and immigration agency said they will tighten rules on enrolment of foreign students after the government found that Tokyo University of Social Welfare lost details with a huge number of its foreign students since 2016, where 700 cancelled enrolment and removed 178 others.
300,000 foreign students seen to enrol by 2020
The education ministry and immigration agency said the tightening of rules was also in preparation to 2020 when the world’s third largest economy will be welcoming at least 300,000 foreign students under a programme which aims to increase awareness about Japan.
The ministry and the Immigration Services Agency said that it was banning universities who have breached rules on the enrolment of overseas students.
Japan to tighten rules on universities; enrolment of foreign students ceased
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said it told Tokyo University of Social Welfare to stop accepting new foreign students on preliminary courses.
“The university bears a huge responsibility for the large number of missing students and illegal aliens,” Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama told a news briefing.
It was also found that Tokyo University of Social Welfare accepted students who did not have sufficient language skills and were not able to pay tuition fees, part of the reason for the government of Japan to tighten rule on universities to protect foreign students from flawed international recruitment.
A large proportion of the students were enrolled in Japanese language courses as part of a preliminary programme to be completed before they advanced to degree programs.
Likewise, the said tertiary school was short-staffed and failed to provide support to students who had missed classes over a long period.
The ministry said it will consider reducing or withdrawing subsidies for the private university, while the agency will reject visa applications from foreign students who will seek to enrol there.
Established in 2000, the Tokyo University of Social Welfare had been accepting relatively few foreign students for years but expanded the number to about 1,200 in the 2016 academic year, about 1,900 in 2017 and over 2,600 as of end-March of 2019.
Photo: Manuel Cosentino
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