Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Article Why Japanese Students are turning to Australian TAFE

Article


Why Japanese students are turning to TAFE?


By Peter Hanami


Increasing numbers of Japanese students are coming to Australia to study at TAFE, according to figures from AEI International; there was a 16% increase in 2003. The highest growth of all education sectors. Overall 4639 Japanese students enrolled in Australian TAFE courses. Japanese people see Australia as a friendly destination that is relatively safe. Over 715,000 Japanese tourists visited Australia in 2002 (ABS). A correlation exists between visitors and student numbers, as people’s positive experiences are shared when they return.


Students are attracted to TAFE for a number of reasons, English, Australia’s expertise, the practical skills gained, the relative ease of entry and the international recognition of courses.


Japanese students mostly begin by studying English and when they feel confident they then select a course that meets their needs. Although students learn English for up to eight years in Japan they still don’t feel competent, as there are limited opportunities to listen to or speak English in Japan. A student’s English level has a big impact on the type of job they can get, making it a much-desired skill. “They want to learn practical English that allows them to communicate”, according to Keiko Tanikawa of ISCS, a student agency.


TAFE’s courses are leading edge and this is a major draw card. For Example, Australia’s expertise in Hospitality is just one of the many courses that is not available in Japan. “Employer needs are changing but the (Japanese) education system is not changing fast enough. This is the opportunity for Australia” according to Dr. Greg Story of Austrade at a recent IDP Exhibition.


Japanese companies have been cutting workers so we have begun to see the demise of the corporate samurai… Young people are in no doubt about the direction employment is taking. They get the connection between useable skills and job security”, Dr. Greg Story. Following recent high levels of unemployment amongst graduates in Japan, students are looking to gain valuable work experience as part of their course. Nica Wang, of Austasia Education Services, explains, “ Those on student visa’s tend to prefer internship programs where they can study and work at the same time ”. Understand Japan, which undertakes research of the Japanese market in Australia and New Zealand, shares a recent interview. Saki, a Melbourne TAFE student “I believe that I can show the practical abilities obtained from TAFE”.


Entry to TAFE for Japanese students is often easier than for University, as there is no foundation year requirement. This is important as the extra length of study has a big impact on the overall cost of study. An extra year of study can add as much as $20,000 to a students cost. As Japanese students have a level 1 visa category it is relatively easy for them to obtain a visa for study in Australia.


International recognition of a course is an important consideration for Japanese students, as they want their study to be recognized when they finally return to Japan. The added bonus of worldwide recognition allows a great choice of jobs and employment opportunities. Makoto Sanada, of MTSC, explains, “Japanese students want a qualification, something that shows that they are licensed in the subject. The Japanese education system is very different to the Australian system, for example if you want to become a doctor in Japan you study at University and after that you must sit an exam to get a license to practice. Licensing is required for a lot of employment areas”.


Australian TAFE has many advantages for a wide range of students including Japanese students. Australia is currently the number one destination for Japanese High School trips, whereby students visit for a number of weeks and learn about the country and culture. Often students who visit Australia during high school trips return on working holiday or Student visa’s, these could be our future students.




“Why Japanese students are turning to Technical and Further Education (TAFE) in Australia”,

Australian TAFE Teacher magazine,

Australian Education Union 

Melbourne, Australia , Spring, pp 18. 2004



Copyright Peter Hanami. 2004. All Rights Reserved.


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