Osaka Metropolitan University Plans Academic Year Restructuring to Boost Internationalization

Osaka Metropolitan University

Tokyo, The Gulf Observer: Osaka Metropolitan University (OMU), established two years ago through the merger of Osaka City University and Osaka Prefecture University, has announced a groundbreaking plan to restructure its academic year, shifting from the conventional April-March schedule to a fall-to-summer system. This move is part of OMU’s broader strategy to promote internationalization and enhance collaboration with scholars globally.

The decision to align its academic calendar with institutions in the U.S., UK, Canada, Vietnam, and China aims to facilitate smoother coordination with foreign academics and make it more accessible for both OMU students to study overseas and for international students to pursue education at OMU.

The transition will occur in phases, starting with the undergraduate engineering department and specific graduate school programs in the fall of 2027. Subsequently, other departments will follow suit, with the ultimate goal of having all students commence their academic years in the fall.

Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura of Osaka Prefecture expressed strong support for the initiative, emphasizing the importance of Osaka becoming more international. He stated, “Moving forward, Osaka must become more international, and in the broader picture, so must Japan as a whole, and if they do not, they will continue to decline. They are actually in decline right now, as the world is growing.”

In addition to the academic calendar shift, Governor Yoshimura proposed a future change in the official language of the university to English. While no formal decision or timetable has been established, the suggestion reflects a broader vision of strengthening ties with the global community.

However, this move is not without potential challenges. The proposed shift could decouple OMU’s academic schedule from the traditional rhythms of life in Japan, raising concerns about the impact on students entering the workforce. With many Japanese companies hiring new employees in April, students graduating under the new schedule may face obstacles in aligning with this recruitment cycle.

Governor Yoshimura acknowledged the potential pitfalls and announced plans to organize investigative boards to discuss and address concerns related to the restructuring, showing a commitment to carefully navigate the potential challenges associated with this innovative approach.