This paper presents an empirical study of international collaborative education offered at an Institute which was jointly established by two leading universities of China and the US—namely Shanghai Jiaotong University and the University of Michigan. The Institute was formed in Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2006 under the regulatory scheme “Chinese–Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools”; it offers undergraduate, masters, doctoral, and international collaborative programs in the field of engineering. Adopting a case study approach, this work aimed to explore the prospects and challenges generated through international collaboration in higher education. Qualitative data were acquired by document analysis and semi-structured interviews with key informants. The author first examined the motivation of each parent university to pursue the establishment of the Institute, explored the outcomes of the collaboration, and finally discussed the remaining issues. The findings generated from the case analysis were as follows.
The US parent university intended to create an educational/research hub for their students and faculty in China to provide opportunities of collaborating with Chinese students and researchers at the Chinese partner university. It also expected to gain access to high-achieving Chinese students for recruitment to graduate programs in the US parent university. Another intention was to enhance its reputation in China through the collaboration with the Chinese parent university, which is a leading higher education institution in China. Meanwhile, the Chinese parent university particularly aimed to gain know-how in academic–industrial partnership, enhance international competitiveness through joint research, and improve the quality of their education by importing advanced educational resources and curriculum through the collaboration.
While the data of this case analysis reveal that most of the objectives of both parent universities were achieved satisfactorily, complexity was also observed. As depicted above, one of the objectives was to strengthen the research collaboration between the existent departments, the Institute, and the US parent university. The research collaboration however remains limited; there is an emerging competition between the existent departments and the Institute in terms of student recruitment. This is attributed to the duplication of the programs offered by the existent departments and the Institute. Furthermore, a so-called “brain drain” has emerged as a complex issue. A large portion of the graduates of the Institute have pursued advanced degrees at graduate schools mostly in the US, and most of the graduates have been admitted to graduate programs at the US parent university. For the US side, this initiative can certainly be recognized as a successful outcome. By contrast, for the Chinese side, it presents a complex issue in terms of retention of highly skilled human resources. Another remaining challenge is the inequality of access to the programs offered at the Institute. Although the Institute is considered an academic department of the Chinese parent university, its tuition fee is much higher than those of the existent departments. Consequently, access to the programs at the Institute is limited to students from affluent families.
During the basic education curriculum reform instigated from 2001 in China, the introduction of the “Comprehensive Practical Activity” received publicity. In the past, school education in China had tended to teach knowledge by focusing on “passive learning, rote memorization and mechanical training”. To reflect on that tendency, the goal of curriculum reform in 2001 was to enhance students’ abilities to collect, select and process information, to acquire new knowledge, to analyze and solve problems and to communicate and cooperate, by emphasizing the importance of experience and encouraging students to learn through their own experiences. To achieve the above educational goals, traditional subjects were restructured, the “Comprehensive Practical Activity” introduced, and a system of “school-based curriculum” approved. This study aims to examine the case of Haitang Elementary School in Shanghai, to investigate the matter of how the development of the “Comprehensive Practical Activity” unfolded in China.
Shanghai, the focus of this research, is on its way to building a modernized socialist city, and had independently initiated curriculum reform in advance of other regions.
Among schools in Shanghai, Haitang Elementary is widely known as a school that actively tackles the development of “Comprehensive Practical Activities”, and at the same time shares their results with many other schools. Therefore, it can be argued that Haitang Elementary School is worthy of consideration as a model case of trends of reform in China’s “Comprehensive Practical Activities”.
Through a literature survey and two field surveys (September 28, 2016, March 16, 2018), this research came to the following conclusions. First, the reality of curriculum development of “Comprehensive Practical Activities” at Haitang Elementary School is that, while focusing on traditional subjects, the school has incorporated various experiential activities and problem-solving learning to revitalize the entire school curriculum and to diversify the learning method and lifestyle of its students. Second, in the process of curriculum development, Haitang Elementary School has shared
educational resources and built a more widely-scoped collaborative system by sharing educational goals with other schools, regions, and parents, as well as by cooperating with six other primary schools. Third, Haitang Elementary School creates effective practices by providing their students with diverse experiences and taking their students’ actual needs as a departure point for linking activities to subject learning. Overall, curriculum development in Haitang Elementary School provides a suggestive practice, reflecting trends of reform of “Comprehensive Practical Activities” in China.
However, the focus of Haitang Elementary School on learning effect may be coming at the expense of students` psychological and developmental issues during the learning process. Therefore, to achieve the goal of “Comprehensive Practical Activities”, schools need to validate educational effects, not only by concentrating on how effectively their students learn, but also by focusing on cultivation of such matters as self-awareness of their students.
The purpose of this study is, firstly, to clarify the admissions system of Indonesian students under the Reparations Agreement signed between Japan and Indonesia in 1958, and secondly, to paint life-histories of these students based upon interviews conducted during a two-month stay in Indonesia in July and September, 2017, and between February and March, 2018 with seventeen informants.
These students’ mission was to acquire knowledge of the newest technology as well as to learn the origin of and discover the reasons for the rapid economic development of Japan after the Second World War, for the purpose of founding the new independent state of Indonesia and for the modernization of that country.
After 1960, the Japanese government admitted a total of 389 students, eighty percent of whom were science majors and twenty percent humanities majors. These students learned mainly Japanese language for one year, and, after that, were admitted for four more years of study to national and private universities according to their major.
This research is based on the cooperation of seventeen ex-student informants who were introduced through PERSADA (An association of Indonesian alumni of Japanese universities) in Jakarta, Indonesia. The survey emphasizes interviews, rather than employing macro or quantitative methods.
While staying in Japan, these students learnt not only new technology, but also gained many opportunities to observe Japanese society. Meanwhile, in the Indonesian motherland, political and financial confusion—for example, the 9/30 Incident against the communists which tipped the balance of political power from Sukarno to Suharto, had been occurring throughout the 1960s. As a result, these students sometimes were not all able to successfully or smoothly resume life after returning to their mother country.
Findings of this research are as follows;
1) The admissions system of Indonesian students under the Reparations Agreement had been spearheaded mainly by Dr Kusnaeni and Dr H.Enoch Amangku, who had both studied at Japanese universities.
2) Informants emphasized that it is important for Indonesia to develop discipline such as that found in Japanese society for the purpose of founding the independent new state of Indonesia as well as for its modernization. A lack of discipline and ethics causes delays in national development, widespread corruption, decline of the will to work, and so on. Even now Indonesians are suffering from such delays.
3) In addition, after the passing of more seventy years since Independence in 1945, even today it is still the case that Indonesia continues to suffer from conflict between traditional values (Islam, Adat) and modernization.
4) Darma Persada University, established in 1986, was founded by graduates of Japanese universities, mainly former Indonesian students under the Reparations Agreement who have since been pouring their energy into developing ties between Japan and Indonesia.
It is increasingly recognized in studies conducted on university students that study abroad has a significant impact on students’ intercultural and communication skills and self-awareness. However, assessment among younger students, such as junior high school students, is scarce, and thus little is known about the impact on them. Our previous study found that short-term study abroad programs have a significant positive impact on junior high school students in terms of fostering intercultural friendships, interest in foreign affairs, self-esteem, and positive attitudes toward new challenges. This paper aims to identify the long-term effects of the same programs on students’ personality and life course after graduation from junior high school.
To observe these long-term effects, semi-structured interviews were conducted among nine university students and three technical college students who had participated in study abroad programs organized by city governments when they were in junior high school. Applying modified grounded theory approach (M-GTA) for interview analysis, the result showed that medium- and long-term positive impacts were observed. This was particularly evident in fostering self-confidence and intrinsic motivation, acquiring global awareness, the willingness to further participate in study abroad programs conducted in various countries during high school, university, and technical college periods, and aspiring to obtain international careers which will allow them to visit various countries and interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. These findings suggest that
study abroad programs for junior high school students have a long-lasting positive impact on the students.
As obstacles discouraging youth from participating in study abroad programs, insufficient English language skills, inability to access information, and cost were found to be major factors. Providing financial support is particularly important, as this is the critical reason for them giving up on participation or even searching for information about programs in the first place.
We conclude that it is important that junior high school students be given access to opportunities to participate in study abroad programs, and that financial support is crucial.These findings provide a new insight into understanding of the educational effect of study abroad programs for junior high school students.