The Future of International Higher Education Aiming for SDGs: Collaboration with Japanese Studies Students around the World

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Keiko Unedaya

Abstract

We have been facing the COVID-19 pandemic and at the same time the larger crisis of exceeding “Planetary boundaries” as well. To solve these complex, serious, global problems, international cooperation is indispensable. Education provides a basis for international cooperation and it is through education that we can develop scientific viewpoints and knowledge, our consciousness as a global citizen, and Global Competence. Global Competence is defined in, and added to the evaluation metrics of, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA 2018) of the OECD. The development and improvement of Global Competence are also desired in higher education in a wide variety of fields. In this paper, from the above understanding, an overview and consideration of Online International Exchange Education are provided. The online method has prevailed during the COVID-19 pandemic instead of in-person International Exchange Education, traditionally useful for the development of Global Competence in international education. Furthermore, Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) between Japanese major students at Burapha University and students at Kagoshima University is presented. It is reported that both groups were well able to gain the benefits of international exchange education even through online interaction. From this example, it became clear that both groups are mutually valuable as a collaborative learning partner because overseas students majoring in Japanese studies have strong interest in Japan and their interest is also significant for Japanese students. Therefore, it is pointed out that it will be meaningful that Japanese universities utilize this special relationship with overseas students majoring in Japanese studies positively, and construct the multilateral human network to provide transnational co-learning opportunities for students. This network will contribute to the international education networks in other fields by spreading laterally and fits with the interdisciplinary orientation to solve global problems. Consequently, it is stated that the conscious positive effective development in education of these large human networks possible online will define the significance and possibilities of university international education, and will contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals. 

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