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Friday, Oct. 5, 2001

Global university strives to become Oita's melting pot


Staff writer

BEPPU, Oita Pref. -- Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, aiming to become a pioneer in the internationalization of higher education, accepted new students of diverse nationalities in a ceremony earlier this week.

The university, set up in this hot spring resort city last year by Kyoto's Ritsumeikan University, recruits about half of its students from overseas.

It now has 904 students from 64 countries, who account for about 48 percent of all students at the institution.

When the university opened in April last year, 243 students from 25 countries enrolled, accounting for 34 percent of all students.

"We needed great efforts to gather excellent students from different parts of the world," said Kazuichi Sakamoto, president of the university.

The university has established cooperative relations with more than 300 high schools overseas that recommend students, said Hidetoshi Maeda, deputy director of university administration and student services.

The university has also set up offices in South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan for student recruitment, he said.

With two faculties -- the College of Asia Pacific Studies and College of Asia Pacific Management -- the university features an education system that takes advantage of its multicultural learning environment, university officials said.

Nearly half of the faculty are of foreign nationality, and its language education aims to have students acquire sufficient proficiency to take classes in both English and Japanese by the time they are in their third or fourth year, the officials added.

Mongols get school

OITA (Kyodo) The alumni association of a soon-to-be-closed high school in Oita Prefecture has raised funds to help build an elementary school in western Mongolia, according to school officials.

Noriaki Enomoto, principal of Kamae High School, said the new elementary school in Shargaljuut, Bayanhongor Province, will use the prefectural high school's name as its own in gratitude.

The alumni association shouldered 3 million yen of the estimated 15 million yen construction cost, after learning of plans to build the school from the Mongolian Embassy in Tokyo.

The new school, completed last month and named Shargaljuut Kamae Elementary School, is attached to a junior high school.

Enomoto and other Kamae school officials attended the opening ceremony Monday and presented the school with classroom supplies, such as pencils, purchased with money raised from the sale of the Japanese school's unwanted articles.

Due to a sharp decrease in the number of pupils, Kamae High School, established in 1948, will be integrated with a junior high school in March after its 35 seniors, the school's whole student body, graduate next spring.

"We wanted to help the Mongolian school, which resembles an elementary school of old Japan, at a time when we didn't have anything," said Hozumi Masuda, president of the alumni association.

"We hope the Mongolian school officials will take this opportunity to teach the children about Japan."



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