Relocating to central Tokyo, expanding faculties, becoming a co-educational school — Keisen Jogakuen has stopped accepting applications: “Even prestigious schools are in danger! Struggle for survival of a “women’s university in adversity | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Relocating to central Tokyo, expanding faculties, becoming a co-educational school — Keisen Jogakuen has stopped accepting applications: “Even prestigious schools are in danger! Struggle for survival of a “women’s university in adversity

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Otsuma Women’s University is gaining popularity by moving many faculties to the city center

A prestigious women’s university has effectively closed its doors.

On March 22, news broke that Keisen Women’s University (Tama City, Tokyo), a mission-oriented university founded in 1929 and formerly known as Keisen Jogakuen, announced that it would stop accepting applications for the next academic year. The decision was based on the premise that the school would be closed due to a continuing decline in enrollment.

University journalist Reiji Ishiwata explains.

There were three main reasons for Keisen Women’s University to stop accepting applications: first, it was a small school with few attractive faculties for prospective students (two faculties, the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences); second, prospective students are becoming increasingly interested in co-educational schools, and there is a growing trend away from women’s colleges; and third, the location of the school is poor.

The third is the poor location. The university is located in a residential area about 10 minutes by bus from Tama Center Station on the Odakyu and Keio lines. It is not conveniently located, which must have been a negative factor for prospective students.

Musashino University has tripled the number of faculties by becoming a coeducational university.

Website of Keisen Women’s College, which announced in the name of its president that it would stop accepting applications.

Keisen is not the only women’s college struggling with financial difficulties. According to Ishiwata’s research, there are more than 10 women’s colleges in Japan with a capacity-filling ratio of less than 70%. The three problems that have forced Keisen University to stop accepting applications are not unique to each school. Let’s look at the first issue, small size.

A growing number of women’s colleges are adding faculties in an effort to break away from their small size. Until the 1990s, female students were mainly employed in the general job market, so women’s colleges could cope with this problem if they had a department of literature or home economics.

However, the second Abe administration, which was enacted in 2012, advocated “womanomics.” It recommends hiring female students for career-track positions and promoting women to management positions. For prospective students, the image that law and economics faculties are more advantageous for career-track employment than home economics faculties is likely to work. Women’s universities have responded to this trend by establishing new business-related, international, and science-related departments.

The following is a comparison of the number of faculties at major women’s universities between 2004 and 2010. Women’s universities that have increased the number of faculties tend to have better capacity utilization rates and higher deviation scores.

Musashino University is a good example of the success of the second issue, the desire for co-education. The university’s predecessor was Musashino Women’s College. The school changed its name to Musashino Women’s University in 2003 and became coeducational the following year. The only campus was in Nishi-Tokyo City, about 15 minutes by bus from Kichijoji Station, but in 2012, another campus was opened in Ariake, Koto-ku, near Odaiba. The university has four faculties at the time of the change to a co-educational university, but with the addition of the School of Data Science and the School of Global Studies, it is now a comprehensive university with 12 faculties and is popular with students preparing for entrance examinations.

In the third location, a number of women’s universities are relocating to central Tokyo.

Otsuma Women’s University had a campus in the suburbs of Sayama City, Saitama Prefecture, but closed it in 2003. The four faculties, including the Faculty of Social Informatics and the Faculty of Comparative Culture, were moved to the Chiyoda campus in the heart of Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace. The headquarters of the prestigious Tsuda College is located in Kodaira City, more than 10 minutes by bus from Kokubunji Station.’ The Faculty of Policy Studies, created in 2005, is located at the Sendagaya Campus, adjacent to the National Stadium. We have moved from a one-campus system.

Of course, simply establishing a new faculty and improving the location will not necessarily increase the popularity of the university among prospective students. However, the reality is that women’s colleges are in danger of closing if they remain content with the status quo. As long as the declining birthrate is not halted, women’s colleges will continue to struggle for survival.

Tsuda College’s Sendagaya Campus near the National Stadium
Otsuma Women’s University’s Chiyoda Campus, with its modern buildings near the Imperial Palace and Chidorigafuchi
Tsuda College’s English name has changed from “TSUDA COLLEGE” to “TSUDA UNIVERSITY” as a result of the establishment of new faculties.
Tokyo Kasei Gakuin (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo), which has not been able to increase its capacity.
  • PHOTO Takayoshi Yamazaki

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