The world has become captivated with global higher education rankings. Students use them to help choose their study destination; universities use them to inform strategic thinking and planning; employers use them for recruitment purposes; and governments use them as an indicator of national competitiveness. In Japan, the drop in rank of the nation’s most prestigious institutions – this year the University of Tokyo lost its top spot in the Times Higher Education Asia University rankings – has been seen as cause for concern. However, while rankings satisfy a public desire for information about higher education institutions and the identification of world-class universities, their utility as a proxy of educational quality is contested. Many researchers have highlighted the game-like qualities of the global university rankings and expressed concern over universities ‘playing’ the system.
So, where does Japan stand in this global game? Are Japanese universities in dire straits vis-à-vis the rise of Singaporean and Chinese institutions? How is Japan’s demographic situation affecting its universities? As International Education Week 2016 concludes, join Annette Bradford for insights and discussion about Japan’s global higher education position.
Assistant professor in the School of Business Administration at Meiji University
Annette Bradford is an assistant professor in the School of Business Administration at Meiji University in Tokyo and an adjunct fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies at Temple University Japan Campus. She teaches courses that enhance the international competencies of undergraduate students. Her current research concerns the internationalization of Japanese universities and the benefits these efforts can bring to national policy objectives. She holds a doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from the George Washington University.