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Universities providing crisis management sessions for students studying overseas

  • July 30, 2016
  • , Asahi , p. 35
  • Translation

In view of the recent spate of terrorist attacks, an increasing number of Japanese universities are stepping up their crisis management training for students going overseas for short-term language training or studies this summer or from September.

 

On July 25, Tokyo Metropolitan University held a “crisis management orientation” session at its campus in Yachioji. Students planning to study in Malaysia from August listened intently to a lecture about situations that require caution.

 

The TMU sends 200 students to 31 countries every year. Last year it signed a contract with Emergency Assistance Japan, a company that provides crisis management services overseas. The company briefs students on situations overseas during orientation sessions and offers assistance, such as safety confirmation and telephone assistance on medical services around the clock.

 

Emergency Assistance Japan has concluded contracts with about 50 universities, technical colleges and high schools. “Schools are holding more orientation sessions and making them available to students’ parents,” said a person from the company. “Many schools are also organizing training sessions for specific destinations.”

 

Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo Prefecture sends about 1,100 students overseas every year. It manages emergency contacts and students’ locations via its own system. Last year it sent out information emails to students studying in Paris when the city came under a terrorist attack. On July 28 and 29, it held a training session targeting students who will go overseas for studies from this summer.

 

Sophia University conducted an emergency crisis management drill on July 29 based on the scenario of its students being involved in an accident overseas. About 50 faculty members, including the president and vice president, took part in the program to learn firsthand about things such as how to communicate with families. Though it held a seminar targeting about 1,100 faculty members who engage in international exchange programs three months ago, it felt it was necessary to conduct a practical crisis management program.

 

“Universities are beginning to acknowledge their responsibility for ensuring the safety of students,” said Keincihi Ikeno, head of the board of trustees at the Japanese Council for the Safety of Overseas Students (JCSOS), which partners with 152 universities.

 

Following the terrorist attack in Bangladesh, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on July 4 called on universities to ensure they have crisis management systems in place. “MEXT and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs need to work together to establish a registration system for students, including those who study abroad at their own expense,” said Ikeno. (Abridged)

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