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The JET programme as a manifestation of Kokusaika (internationalization) in Japan

Borg, Paul (2008) The JET programme as a manifestation of Kokusaika (internationalization) in Japan. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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ABSTRACT: This thesis focuses on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, under which thousands of foreign graduates have been invited to work as language teaching assistants in Japanese schools, in the name of 'grassroots internationalization'. Although JET was launched in 1987 amid a wider government-sponsored campaign of internationalization (kokusaika), opinions have differed as regards the objectives and priorities of its creators, while the concept of kokusaika itself has also been subject to a wide variety of interpretations. The thesis begins by offering five perspectives on kokusaika, as both a concept and a policy orientation. Two of these reflect common themes in 'Western' discourse on societal internationalization, namely ethnic/cultural diversity and globalization; while the remaining three pertain to more traditional Japanese policy concerns, i.e. the national economic interest, the 'national identity', and international prestige. Against this conceptual background, the Main Study assesses the characteristics of the JET Programme as an 'internationalization policy', both in te1ms of intended and de facto outcomes. Four aspects of the programme-'goals', 'operational policy', 'implementation' and 'perceived effects'-are examined, each in a separate chapter. To reflect both 'official' and 'unofficial' positions, analysis is based on a combination of data from government sources (policy statements and documents) and first-hand accounts from 'ordinary' JET participants, i.e. 'grassroots discourses'. The study detects a number of contradictions between the declared goals of the programme and the operational policy established for achieving them, and reveals a wide diversity of outcomes. Most fundamentally, the study finds that the 'internationalization' promoted by the JET Programme is geared less towards supporting systemic change within Japanese society than in furthering perceived overseas interests.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (10)
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2013 11:36
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2015 14:28
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