• Kyodo

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Nagasaki Prefecture is implementing a new education credit exchange system whereby all university and college students at both state-run and private schools in the prefecture will be able to enroll in courses and collect interchangeable credits.

The system will become official Oct. 16, when the presidents of all the schools participating will sign a formal credit exchange agreement.

Nagasaki prefectural officials say that while a number of schools in Kyoto and Kumamoto prefectures have introduced similar exchange systems, theirs is the first to be enacted on a prefecture-wide basis.

The Nagasaki system stipulates that credit will be given for courses as long as students pass the final exams.

Underlying the educational initiative is growing concern about the decreasing number of prospective higher education students in Nagasaki, given Japan’s overall declining birthrate and the fact that increasing numbers of prefectural candidates opt to study in large urban centers outside of the prefecture.

Education officials in Nagasaki hope to win back students by creating a “federated university” in which students may more freely learn whatever subjects they choose.

At present, the four colleges and universities in the prefecture offer some 840 lecture courses.

Interchangeable credits are likely to apply to only between four and 10 of these courses per student when the system is first implemented.

Each university will have to decide which courses they will recognize for credit. Nagasaki officials, however, say they would like to emphasize Peace Studies as particularly fitting to Nagasaki’s civic image.

The universities and colleges affected by the plan are spread out widely in the prefecture, in cities like Nagasaki and Sasebo, and officials are looking into establishing teaching and study facilities near railroad stations to make commuting between courses easier.

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