May 24, 2017
Tokyo- The Diet, Japan's parliament, enacted on Wednesday legislation to establish new higher educational institutions that provide practical vocational courses to cultivate specialists.
The bill to revise the school education law was approved by a majority vote with support chiefly from lawmakers of the ruling coalition at a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet.
The House of Representatives, the lower chamber, approved the bill earlier in May.
Under the revised law, the government hopes to open a vocational university or a vocational junior college in April 2019. It will mark the first major change in Japan's higher education since the junior college system was established in 1964.
The new institutions for vocational education are aimed at nurturing specialists in such fields as information technology and tourism. The graduates will obtain bachelor's or associate's degrees.
Under an ordinance, the education ministry plans to require that at least about 40 percent of full-time teachers at the schools be business people and that 30-40 percent or more of the credits needed for graduation have to be earned in internship and other practical training programs.
Students with certain business experience can earn degrees in shorter periods of schooling than the standard four years at universities and two to three years at junior colleges.
A four-year vocational university is allowed to be divided into the first period of two to three years and the second part of one to two years so that students can work between the two periods. (Jiji Press)
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