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Commissioner Tibor Navracsics to participate in G7 Education Ministers meeting in Kurashiki, Japan

EU News 158//2016

12 May 2016

Today, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth & Sport Tibor Navracsics, will leave for Japan to participate in the meeting of G7 Education Ministers taking place on 14-15 May. The discussions will focus on social inclusion through education, the impact of new technologies on education, employability, international cooperation for inter-cultural understanding and education for sustainable development. In the margins of this meeting, Commissioner Navracsics and Hiroshi Hase, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, will advance their plan for a new policy dialogue between the EU and Japan on issues of common interest in higher education.

Ahead of his visit, Commissioner Navracsics said: "Europe and Japan have world-class institutions of higher education. A common policy dialogue will strengthen our higher education partnerships. It will expand our bilateral cooperation and encourage more mobility and exchange of good practices in order to help European and Japanese higher education institutions continue delivering high-quality education for future generations."

The policy dialogue envisages close contacts between senior officials and experts from both sides on a wide range of current challenges. These include the forecasting of skills needed for the future, developing the role of universities in society, effective use of technologies as well as removing barriers to students and researchers, staff mobility and the recognition of qualifications. During his one-week visit to Japan, Commissioner Navracsics will also meet with Toshiaki Endo, the Japanese Minister in charge of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as Ryohei Miyata the Japanese Commissioner for Cultural Affairs, before delivering a lecture at the Waseda University.


The EU's 4,000 higher education institutions currently host 45% of the 4 million students who study outside their home countries each year. They are attracted by world-class curricula, teaching excellence and cultural diversity.

The Commission is committed to maintaining and developing the quality of European higher education, particularly in the light of the massive increase in demand and increasing international competition. Overall, the number of higher education students in the world is expected to quadruple, from around 100 million in 2000 to 400 million in 2030. The main instruments for this are policy dialogue and EU funding programmes, Erasmus+ and Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. Together, these strengthen academic partnerships, improve quality and increase innovative joint degree programmes and mobility opportunities between European universities and their partners worldwide.

Japan has an excellent reputation for higher education and innovation. It has made internationalisation a priority for growth and competitiveness in an increasingly globalised world. The government is funding the 'Super Global University' programme (2014-2023) which aims to enhance international compatibility and competitiveness at 37 leading Japanese universities. The programme includes financial support for international student and faculty exchange, joint research and transnational education programmes. Currently, Japan has only 32,000 students studying abroad (three EU Member States are in the top five destinations but the US accounts for 58% of the overall total) and 136,000 international students are hosted in Japan (the 11 most favoured destinations are all outside Europe and China alone accounts for 66%).

The opportunities to increase these numbers is clear.

It is expected that officials and experts will confirm the priority topics of mutual interest and propose later in the year to establish a formal policy dialogue. These dialogues between the EU and strategic partner countries are normally held at the level of senior officials, approximately once every couple of years, by mutual agreement.

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