On January 28, 2005, the Central Council for Education report "The Future of Higher Education in Japan" was released. The major content of the report is as follows.

1) Trends in quantitative changes to higher education

 It is forecast that the capacity (number of enrollees/number of applicants) of universities and junior colleges will reach 100% in 2007. The important issue in the future is development of higher education in which anyone can study the field they choose at the level they choose at any time.

2) Clarification of the diverse functions, individuality and distinctiveness of higher education

 While, as a whole, higher education diversifies, it is necessary to further make clear the individuality and distinctiveness of each school in order to accurately respond to the various needs of learners.

3) Guaranteeing the quality of higher education

 Guaranteeing the quality of higher education in order to protect learners and maintain international validity will be an important issue. For this reason, accurate operation of the approval system for establishing new departments and enhancement of the third-person evaluation system are necessary.

4) The Ideal Form of Higher Education Institutions

 In order to enhance education, it is important to review and reconstruct the form of "liberal arts education" in undergraduate courses and strengthen the organizational development of courses of education at graduate schools.

5) The Role of Society Aiming for the Development of Higher Education

 Efforts to expand public funding of higher education and the building of a multifaceted funding system tailored to the diverse functions of each institution are necessary.

 The report also describes policies (the "twelve proposals," etc.) that must be worked on to realize the future of higher education.

 MEXT intends to continue to actively advance higher education reform based on this report.

(Higher Education Policy Planning Division, Higher Education Bureau)