Sixteen Japanese universities have teamed up to host students fleeing war-torn Ukraine to help rekindle hope for building a future that seemed impossible after the Russian invasion.
The colleges, including Christian International University, Meiji University and Sophia University, plan to provide about 70 students with completely free education and a safe environment to study.
They will offer short-term programs of one to one and a half years, after which some will also offer degree programs.
The photo provided shows Pathways Japan Representative Director Norimasa Orii giving an orientation to Ukrainian students in Tokyo on May 19, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Pathways Japan) (Kyodo)
“Education is a right for students. Through this initiative, we want to provide students with a safe environment to pursue their studies,” said an official from CIP. In May, the university in the western suburbs of Tokyo welcomed five Ukrainian students whose studies had been disrupted by the invasion.
The initiative is co-led by the Tokyo-based organization Pathways Japan, which provides education and career support to refugees from Syria and Afghanistan.
Norimasa Orii, the organization’s representative director, said students might feel like their future in Japan “is different from what they expected. But we want them to take advantage of this opportunity to work for new dreams and self-realization,” pledging to extend their support until they become economically independent and settle well in Japan.
Applications for admission will be open until June 24, and successful applicants are expected to arrive in Japan in August before the start of the new academic session in September, according to Pathways Japan.
Selected students will receive support such as air tickets to Japan, accommodation, tuition fees, support in issuing visas and residence permits, as well as stipends or help in finding jobs in part-time.
About 2,000 educational institutions in Ukraine were shelled and shelled, including 194 completely destroyed, according to the latest figures released by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science.
The universities’ initiative comes as the Japanese government continues to accept Ukrainian evacuees, with some 1,200 entries on Saturday since Moscow launched its invasion on February 24.
Sophia University, which is expected to accept up to 10 students, hopes its contribution will “spur more action in Japanese society” to help fleeing Ukrainians, adding that it will work with other participating universities to help students.
Some universities believe the initiative will also be a learning experience for Japanese students. This, they say, will give them a chance to help war-scarred Ukrainian students build a new life in Japan.
“This initiative will be of great importance for the education of our students as they will take on some of the responsibilities to support the lives of students” from Ukraine, said an official from Meiji University, which aims to accept up to 10 students .
Applicants must meet certain criteria to apply. They must be unmarried, Ukrainians or foreigners unable to return to their home country, and fluent in Japanese or English, among other conditions.
Other universities participating in the program are Keio University, Waseda University, Kansai Gaidai University, Kansai International Studies University, Temple University Japan Campus, Musashino University, Rikkyo University , Ryukoku University, Soka University, Daito Bunka University, Ferris University, Tokiwa University, and Tokyo Women’s Christian University.
Under the same educational program, 25 Japanese language schools are also expected to accept around 100 students affected by the Ukrainian conflict to provide them with language training to help them pursue higher education at Japanese universities, according to Pathways Japan.