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"Innovative Japan Project by KOSEN" supported by Program for PromotingInter-University Collaborative Education (MEXT).

 
I. Intent of Project
We are striving to establish an educational system for training students of colleges of technology called koto-senmon-gakko in Japanese (hereafter "KOSEN" or "KOSEN college") to become engineers who can bring innovation and change to our society. We aim to contribute to the realization of innovation as social reformation, as well as the creation of future key industries, through capacity development of young people.

1. Background
Japanese industry experienced a significant transition from catch-up oriented development by learning from Western countries to the pursuit of innovative changes as a frontrunner. In reality, however, individual research achievements have not necessarily led to the fulfillment of social issues so far; we are now urged to put our efforts in KOSEN education to equip future engineers with excellent skills, in order to create new basic industries in Japan.
Leveraging the unique characteristics of KOSEN colleges, we are working to formulate and share the program of social implementation education to produce engineers demanded by society.

2. Our initiatives
(1) Proposal and practice of social implementation education
- Equip students with ability to take action based on their own idea of what to create -
We have suggested "social implementation education" to provide students with opportunities of facing up to real social issues and creating value in cooperation with people in society through dialogue and engineering solutions, which we think are necessary experiences for future engineers. On the basis of specialized skills in the fields of engineering, social implementation education focuses on the strengthening of communicative competence as engineering literacy, independence in facing real social problems, and creativity that connects science technology with new values.

(2) Implementation and deployment of KOSEN education
- Organize and analyze the actual situation of KOSEN colleges and KOSEN school system in a systematic manner to explore the future vision of KOSEN and new tuition systems -
The KOSEN school system was established more than 50 years ago, since when KOSEN graduates have been highly valued. However, the advantages and issues of KOSEN education have not been elucidated in an objective manner. Moreover, scientific evidence must be developed in regard to KOSEN's educational effects, with a view to educational reform in the future. Against this backdrop, our Project, joined by researchers from the fields of pedagogy and the like, promotes "KOSEN research" activities including (i) a survey on graduates' career paths and (ii) interviews with teachers, graduates and students.

3. Collaborating KOSEN colleges
Ichinoseki Kosen, Oyama Kosen, Tokyo Kosen (representative), Nagano Kosen, Numazu Kosen, Wakayama Kosen, and Okinawa Kosen

4. Project period
From FY2012 to FY2016 (five years)
 
II. Practicing Social Implementation Education
We have been practicing social implementation education with dedicated curricula, which start from lower grades and are aimed at project-based graduation work, so that KOSEN students are involved in the social implementation of technology.

1. Social implementation project activities
While addressing the needs of society, students set their own themes and work on the social implementation of technology, taking advantage of the features of their colleges, as well as regional characteristics. In parallel, teachers are striving to develop learning communities by making effective use of local resources, with the intention of encouraging students' active.

Increase in participating KOSEN colleges
Social implementation project activities are now joined by 16 KOSEN colleges, showing a notable increase from the seven collaborating colleges in the first project year.
※Participating KOSEN colleges (other than collaborating colleges)
Hakodate Kosen, Fukushima Kosen, Ishikawa Kosen, Maizuru Kosen, Anan Kosen, Ube Kosen, Kitakyushu Kosen, Sasebo Kosen, and Kumamoto Kosen (as of April 2015)

2. Introduction into curricula
The seven collaborating KOSEN colleges have started to incorporate social implementation education into their curricula.

3. Production of instruction materials for social implementation education
We are working to develop instruction materials to allow engineering students to deepen their understanding of the innovation process, in order to realize effective social implementation education.
 
III. KOSEN Research
We also engage in full-scale academic research on the KOSEN education system itself - we are working on various surveys to elucidate the strengths and weaknesses of KOSEN in an objective manner. These survey data are analyzed and evaluated by the KOSEN Research and Survey Committee and provided to all KOSEN colleges, not only to those cooperating in the survey, as scientific evidence based on which educational reform should be carried out. The data is also used for the evaluation and improvement of the social implementation education that we suggest in the Project.