Liberal Arts and Sciences to Learn in English
As a part of its academic reform campaign, Kyoto University has declared that it will increase its commitment to campus internationalization.
The master plan for the University's internationalization is detailed in the new international strategy, the "2x by 2020 Initiative," which sets the objectives of hosting more international students and having more of its own students study abroad. Accordingly, the Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences (hereafter "ILAS") is enhancing the learning environment for international students by improving the quality and quantity of classes taught in English, which, it is hoped, will also encourage Japanese students to participate in study abroad programs while at the University. We believe that providing students with opportunities for more exposure to the English language outside of their English classes will significantly improve their English proficiency.
Fortunately, now that this initiative has been adopted as part of the national government’s program to advance the reform of national universities in 2013, government subsidies have been made available for hiring faculty members who are proficient in English. 60 suitable teachers were hired as of the end of 2015. We aim to continue increasing the number of such teachers to around 100, and they will teach classes in English not only at ILAS, but also at the graduate schools and faculties of Kyoto University.
ILAS will begin offering courses that are currently taught in Japanese in the English language as well. In consideration of the need to assist students in preparing for study abroad programs and the specialties of current faculty members, however, courses that have not hitherto been offered may be taught in English.
It is true that an increasing number of high schools are stressing listening comprehension and speaking in English, but only a few students are proficient enough to attend classes taught in English by the time they enter university. From an educational perspective, therefore, it is not appropriate to offer classes with challenging content in English, and thus it is planned to offer courses that match students' English proficiency.
At the same time, students will be encouraged to take the TOEFL test so they can gauge more accurately their competency in English, and they will be offered assistance in their English studies while at the University. To this end, International Academic Research and Resource Center for Language Education was established in 2014.
Excluding some courses, the Liberal Arts and Sciences to Learn in English courses are designated as E2 classes (classes that contribute to English-learning) for students to enroll in or after 2016. ILAS hopes that they will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to enjoy learning their courses in English.