More Students Choose Universities in Japan

Japan is friendly to students, both foreign and domestic

More students than ever are choosing universities in Japan for study abroad, and the number of Japanese students leaving the country to study has fallen markedly since a peak in 2004, according to two reports released at the end of December.

The Japan Student Services Organization , an independent institution, reported that the number of foreign students studying in Japan reached record highs of 141,774 in 2010, up 6.8 percent from the previous year.

That report also showed that just over 11,000 of the international students were “short term,” meaning they were in Japan “not necessarily to obtain a degree but rather to study at Japanese university, to experience a different culture, or to master the Japanese language.”

Meanwhile, data released by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology indicate that the number of Japanese students studying abroad has been declining since a peak of 82,945 in 2004. In the most recent figures, from 2008, the number of students was under 67,000, down 11 percent from the previous year.

Yukari Kato, executive vice president of Ryugaku Journal, which provides information about overseas study, told The Yomiuri Shimbun that many students were afraid of being left behind in Japan’s competitive job market.

Ms. Kato said she also viewed the slowing birthrate and an introspective mind-set among students as possible contributing factors.

Use of Twitter is linked to higher grades, study finds

According to a new study published in The Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Twitter can bolster student engagement and grade-point average.

The study followed 125 pre-health majors at a midsize public university. Those using Twitter, says Rey Junco of Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, the lead author, had an average G.P.A. half a point higher than their counterparts in a non-tweeting control group. They also more frequently participated in class, sought out professors and discussed course material outside of class.

Twitter was used for discussions, questioning professors in and out of class, receiving feedback and reminders, and reviewing course concepts reduced to terse fundamentals, all via laptop or cellphone.

Students seemed to find the medium a less intimidating way to express themselves in large lecture halls. “Twitter was a useful, low-stress way to ask questions,” Mr. Junco said.

As one student wrote on Twitter: “One of my favorite parts of the day is when I’m sitting in Bio lecture and a tweet has been sent out through the class account and everybody looks at their phone.”


A version of this article appeared in print on January 10, 2011, in The International Herald Tribune.
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