On 30th November Ritsumeikan University hosted the Top Global University Project - 2nd Online Symposium “Globalization in Higher Education post COVID-19 Pandemic”

Based on discussions at previous symposiums, we will draw a vision of the future internationalization of Japanese universities by introducing what the "new normal" is in higher education and case studies of national, public and private universities. More than 250 participants from 24 countries/regions attended this symposium.

In the opening session President Yoshio Nakatani discussed the impact of the new coronavirus on higher education. He hoped that all participants would have an encouraging exchange of opinions on the internationalization of universities and the future internationalization of education as a place where students can grow significantly.

In the first half of the symposium Mr. Kuniaki Sato, Chief Director of the University Reform and Director of the Office of International Planning, Higher Education Bureau, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Japan, gave updates on the Education Rebuilding Implementation Council and the results of a second survey for the Top Global Universities. This was followed by Shinnosuke Obi, Vice-President for International Collaboration, Keio University who presented the previous summary. Following on from this, case studies were introduced by three universities on their efforts towards internationalization and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Satoshi Watanabe, Executive Vice President for Global Strategy of Hiroshima University introduced education and research collaboration with overseas universities and the assessment of the educational effects of study abroad programs. Dr. Yoshitaka Kumagai, Trustee/Vice President of Akita International University, introduced English education through collaboration between high schools and universities and a case of online experiments subjects. Prof. Ritsuko Kawamura, Trustee and Dean of the College of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University, discussed how to deal with the pandemic in the joint degree programs with American University, and introduced the unique efforts of each university. To end the first half of the symposium, Prof. Shingo Ashizawa, Professor of the Faculty of Global and Regional Studies, Toyo University, and Mr. Koichi Nakasaki, Chief Research Officer, Institute for Future Engineering, introduced efforts to improve the international applicability of certificates of academic achievement under the theme of Introducing Digital Credentials to Japanese universities.

In the second half, Prof. Simon Marginson, Professor of Higher Education, Department of Education and Linacre College, University of Oxford, commented on the current state of education in the UK, problems with online education from a global perspective, the impact of the pandemic on international student mobility around the world, and the future. Based on Professor Marginson's presentation, a panel discussion was held by all the speakers under the facilitation of Ritsumeikan University Vice President Ryuzo Ueno, and there was a lively exchange of opinions and a question and answer session with the participants regarding the international exchange of the university after pandemic. Finally, Naoto Sekimura, Vice President of the University of Tokyo, summarized and closed the symposium series by saying that there has been a meaningful discussion on the issue of quality assurance of education.

As a leading university for internationalization, Ritsumeikan University will continue to cooperate with universities selected the Top Global University Project to share good practices.

President Yoshio Nakatani
President Yoshio Nakatani
Prof. Simon Marginson, University of Oxford
Prof. Simon Marginson, University of Oxford

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