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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 6 February 2023

Ayaka Noda

This study aims to examine the rationales for and obstacles to developing a national qualifications framework (NQF) in Japan. From a research perspective, it attempts to propose a…

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the rationales for and obstacles to developing a national qualifications framework (NQF) in Japan. From a research perspective, it attempts to propose a model of a qualifications framework in the national context to provoke further political discussion in developing the Japanese Qualifications Framework (JQF).

Design/methodology/approach

To propose a possible model of a qualifications framework in the Japanese context, this study employs a qualitative document analysis approach to known NQFs. Next, based on documents and the literature, including government data and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Tokyo Convention (2011a, b), this study analyzes the motives and challenges in developing the JQF.

Findings

Japanese motives to develop the JQF can be summarized in four conditions: (a) International expectations along with the Tokyo Convention and establishment of the National Information Center, (b) avoiding qualification holders’ disadvantages in mobility, (c) quality assurance of qualifications with a competence-based approach and (d) lifelong learning by promoting recognition of diverse learning. The challenges in developing the JQF are (a) fitness with the traditional employment system and (b) multiple stakeholders’ involvement. The current priority in developing an NQF in Japan is to make educational qualification information “visible” based on legal grounds, particularly entrance requirements, to facilitate mobility.

Originality/value

This study explores the possibility of the JQF by summarizing the background and roles of NQFs worldwide and clarifying the motives and challenges for developing the JQF. This study provides suggestions for the possible qualifications framework model in the Japanese context from academic and practical perspectives in Japan, where official discussions on establishing an NQF have not progressed. Ensuring the international compatibility of qualifications so that qualification holders can smoothly take the next step in their studies and employment is important.

Details

Higher Education Evaluation and Development, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-5789

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 6 July 2018

Ayaka Noda, Angela Yung Chi Hou, Susumu Shibui and Hua-Chi Chou

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the Japanese and Taiwanese national quality assurance (QA) agencies, National Institution for Academic Degrees and Quality Enhancement…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the Japanese and Taiwanese national quality assurance (QA) agencies, National Institution for Academic Degrees and Quality Enhancement (NIAD-QE) and Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT), transform their respective frameworks in response to social demands, and analyze and compare the respective approaches for the key concepts of autonomy, accountability, improvement and transparency.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a qualitative document analysis approach, this paper initially examines the higher education system, major policies and QA developments, after which the methods associated with the QA restructuring transformations are outlined in terms of motivations, expectations and challenges. Finally, the NIAD-QE and HEEACT evaluation policies and frameworks are compared to assess how each has prepared to respond to emerging challenges.

Findings

During the QA framework restructuring, both the NIAD-QE and HEEACT struggled to achieve autonomy, accountability, improvements and transparency. While the new internal Japanese QA policy is assured through the external QA, the Taiwanese internal QA, which has a self-accreditation policy, is internally embedded with university autonomy emphasized. The QA policies in both the NIAD-QE and HEEACT have moved from general compliance to overall improvement, and both emphasize that accountability should be achieved through improvements. Finally, both agencies sought transparency through the disclosure of the QA process and/or results to the public and the enhancement of public communication.

Originality/value

This study gives valuable insights into the QA framework in Asian higher education institutions and how QA has been transformed to respond to social needs.

Details

Higher Education Evaluation and Development, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-5789

Keywords

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