Japanese workers who wish to become mature students


Excuse the rather clumsy headline, but Macromill recently interviewed 309 members of their internet research monitor group who currently worked as either private or public employees and expressed a wish to enter or re-enter further education as mature students.


Between the 4th and 5th of April 2007 309 people completed a private online questionnaire; 66.0% were male, 35.6% in their twenties, 42.1% in their thirties, 18.8% in their forties, and 3.6% in their fifties. All of them were considering entering a Japanese university as an under-graduate or post-graduate within the next five years.

In addition, 13.9% were married with no children, 27.8% married with children, 52.8% were single with no children, 0.6% were single, with children, but didn’t need to support them, and 1.3% were married with children that didn’t need to be supported. Regarding education levels, 11.0% had post-graduate qualifications, 57.6% had graduated from university, 14.2% attended college, 16.2% attended up to high school, 0.3% to middle school, and 0.6% didn’t answer.

Sadly, this survey does not highlight those wishing to do MBAs. Additionally, a number of UK and USA universities offering distance learning MBA courses in conjuction with Japanese institutions, but whether or not these would be counted as Japanese courses for the sake of this survey is not clear.

Research results

Q1: Which are you thinking most about, under-graduate or post-graduate qualifications? (Sample size=309)


Q2: How are you mainly thinking you will attend university? (Sample size=309)

Correspondance course, distance learning48.423.4
Night school28.427.9
Both day and night classes8.424.7
Daytime classes9.714.3
One-year post-graduateN/A2.6
Don’t know yet, other5.27.1

Q3: If you enter university, what are you thinking of doing regarding your current place of work? (Sample size=309)

Continue to work whilst attending further education78.3%
Quit my job then enter further education10.0%
Take a sabbatical from work5.5%
Change jobs then enter further education3.9%
Don’t know yet2.3%

Q4: In which faculties do you want to study? (Sample size=309, multiple answer)

1Commercial science, management studies (MBA, etc)30.4Politics, economics29.7Commercial science, management studies (MBA, etc)33.1
2Politics, economics27.5Commercial science, management studies (MBA, etc)27.7Law29.2
3Law26.9Law24.5Politics, economics25.3
4Psychology21.7Psychology23.9Physical science, engineering20.8
5Physical science, engineering18.1Welfare16.1Psychology19.5
6International relations12.6Physical science, engineering15.5International relations12.3
7Social science, sociology12.3Education15.5Medicine, dentisty10.4
8Welfare12.0Social science, sociology14.8Social science, sociology9.7
9Education11.7International relations12.9Welfare7.8
10Art, design9.1Art, design11.0Education7.8

Q5: Why do you want to become a mature student? (Sample size=309, multiple answer)

In order to deepen my specialist knowledge regarding my current job51.1%42.6%59.7%
Because I want to study a field I’m interested in, unrelated to work48.5%54.8%42.2%
In order to change jobs, I want to attain knowledge and skills33.0%30.3%35.7%
Because I want to widen my personal connections19.7%16.8%22.7%
Because I can raise my salary in my current job if I obtain specialist techniques19.4%20.6%18.2%
Because I want to get a graduate or post-graduate qualification17.5%16.1%18.8%
Because I want some stimulation in my life16.5%18.7%14.3%
Because I feel uneasy about being made redundant6.5%9.0%3.9%
Because I can afford the time3.9%4.5%3.2%

Q6: Have you decided which university or universities you want to enter? (Sample size=309)

Yes, and already been accepted for one17.2%
Yes, applied to a number, but not been accepted to one yet55.7%
Not yet decided nor applied (to Q9)27.2%

Q7: Is/are the university/ies you want to enter a public or private one? (Sample size=225)

Only public university24.0%16.7%31.5%
Only private university21.8%34.2%9.0%

Q8: On what basis did you decide you wanted to enter that/these university/ies? (Sample size=225, multiple answer)

Has the faculties I want to study66.2%71.1%61.3%
Has a curriculum that is easy for mature students to study36.9%41.2%32.4%
Easy-to-reach campus with the faculties I want to study at32.4%26.3%38.7%
Can acquire qualifications31.1%23.7%38.7%
Has a lecturer I want to learn from21.8%9.6%34.2%
Tution fees16.9%21.9%11.7%
Many research facilities16.0%13.2%18.9%
My alba mater10.7%1.8%19.8%
Famous institution10.2%8.8%11.7%
Examination subjects4.0%2.6%5.4%

Q9: Have you any concerns about entering university as a mature student? (Sample size=309)

No (to Q11)24.6%

Q10: What sort of concerns do you have about entering university as a mature student? (Sample size=233, multiple answer)

Burden of education costs73.0
Whether I have time to attend classes52.8
Whether I have time to study at home49.4
Whether my employer will understand about my attending university36.9
Whether I can do the studying36.5
Whether I can graduate26.2
Whether my family will understand about my attending university14.6

Q11: Is there anything unsatisfactory regarding the systems for mature students to enter univeristy? (Sample size=309, multiple answer)

 AllUnder-graduate n=155Post-graduate n=154
Fees issues43.7%35.5%51.9%
Lesson timing issues38.5%39.4%37.7%
Earning credits issues29.4%34.8%24.0%
How to take entrance examination issues26.9%26.5%27.3%
Lesson contents issues22.0%24.5%19.5%
No particular dissatisfaction18.1%14.8%21.4%
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