Japan, China, South Korea mull academic credit system

From the Daily Yomiuri due to the lack of archiving.

The education ministry has decided to draw up a new framework in conjunction with China and South Korea to allow universities in all three countries to integrate methods to evaluate students’ academic achievements and certify academic credits.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry hopes the collaboration will encourage more students to study abroad.

Currently, individual universities in the three countries swap academic credits with each other at their own discretion.

The ministry is keen to expand the standardization to also cover universities in member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The ministry plans to hold an initial meeting in Bangkok in March to lay the groundwork for the plan.

University education differs among the three countries, as do the number of academic credits required to graduate.

In Japan, many university students are obliged to submit a graduation thesis, but in China and South Korea, only students with high academic records are obliged to do so.

Japanese universities employ an absolute evaluation system, which judges whether a student has reached a certain level of achievement. But in China and South Korea, many universities employ relative evaluation systems.

Because of these differences, there have been many cases in which students have been unable to transfer academic credits obtained at foreign universities into credits at the domestic university where they initially enrolled–even if individual universities have agreements regarding foreign students.

In a survey conducted in 2007 by the Japan Association of National Universities, about 70 percent of Japanese state-run universities said it was highly likely that students who obtained credits from foreign universities could not enter the next academic grade, as such credits were not recognized by the Japanese universities.

Under the planned new framework, the ministry aims to standardize rules to certify foreign universities’ credits when students return to Japanese universities, as well as the method for converting foreign universities’ credits into those acceptable by Japanese universities necessary for graduation.

At the first meeting, representatives from the three countries will confirm their intention to integrate terms relating to education systems and a policy that will allow universities in Japan, China and South Korea to jointly evaluate one another’s facilities on an experimental basis.

(Mar. 1, 2010)

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