Nara National Institute of Higher Education and Research

The Nara National Institute of Higher Education and Research (Nara NI-HER) was born in April 2022, through the corporate merger of Nara University of Education (NUE) and Nara Women’s University (NWU).
Even after the birth of this ground-breaking new organization, NUE and NWU will not become one university, but remain as separate entities so that the two universities enhance one another’s unique strengths, and yet tighten collaborative partnership to amply fulfill their educational and research missions as part of Nara NI-HER.

Chairperson, The Board of Directors
Nara National Institute of Higher Education and Research

Prof. Hiroyuki Sakaki, Doctor of Engineering
in Semiconductor Electronics
写真:理事長 榊裕之

Chairperson’s Message

A Unique Academic Institute Bridges Two Small Distinctive Universities to Nurture Highly-motivated Students, Faculty and Staffs:
The Nara National Institute of Higher Education and Research
The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden are small nations with only a fraction of Japan’s population, but do not let their size work as a weakness. Instead, by building their unique vision and international relationship, they have made an important mark in such fields as science/culture, economics, and global politics. Similarly, the true value of a corporate or a university is determined not by the number of its constituent members, or by its budget size, but by the uniqueness and caliber of core activities of its em-ployees and/or students. California Institute of Technology, for example, has only about 300 faculty staffs, but is regarded as one of the world’s top universities, where about 1200 graduate students strive daily to conduct cutting edge research and also to develop their professional capabilities.

Nara University of Education (NUE) and Nara Women’s University (NWU), born in 1949 by reorganizing their predecessors, Nara Normal School and Nara Women’s Higher Normal School, have long contributed to society by fulfilling their respective missions as educational and research organi-zations. In 2022, NUE and NWU started a new era by forming a common corporate umbrella, the Nara National Institute of Higher Education and Research (Nara NI-HER). Although the two universities with respective faculty members of only about 100 and 200 are small, NUE/NWU students and faculty staffs have high aspirations to make the best use of intimate organizations by learning, supporting, and inspiring one another within and beyond their campus borders. By using strengths and diversity of consti-tuent members and organizations as their common resources, NUE and NWU are committed to build up a community of mutual trust and support, to nurture quality teachers with far-sighted vision (in NUE) and indepen-dent female professionals with ample leadership (in NWU) so as to get to their respective and common goals.

Today, humanity confronts daunting challenges, such as global warming and pandemics, as well as international conflicts and refugee issues, resulting from political and economic failures. To deal with these situations, the government, organizations, and individual citizens of each country are obliged to make wise decisions, based on a comprehensive understanding of each issue. Though being small in size, NUE and NWU can serve as an excellent place for students and faculty staff to develop abilities to grasp any of important issues in a comprehensive manner as their faculty staffs cover a wide range of disciplines from the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and technology. By using this trait cleverly, students can cultivate comprehensive intelligence both by in-depth mastering of a field of choice and by building broad and cross-disciplinary perspectives at the same time. Faculty staffs and students having this type of comprehensive intelligence will also contribute greatly in research and creative endeavors to meet the needs of our region, our planet, and our era.

The opportunity to spend college years in a place like Nara should be viewed as a big fortune, since the city has unusually rich cultural history of more than a millennium and a well-preserved natural environment. I hope that visiting historic temples and shrines, seeing statues of the Buddha, and experiencing cultural and natural heritages and so on in Nara inspire all the students and visiting scholars and provide an opportunity for them to realize that international exchange has enriched Japanese culture and thoughts for more than 1000 years since the time of Prince Shotoku and the priest Ganjin (Jianzhen) and also to discover some hints that navigate the world in the 21st century.

Since NUE and NWU have their origins in normal school and higher normal school where students were trained to be primary school teachers and high school teachers, the two universities are ideal places for faculty and students to grasp basic values of learning and education and also to think of teachers’ roles in the present and future society. In addition, Prof. Kiyoshi Oka’s well-known books on pedagogy, written in NWU, will be hopefully read to provide students with inspiring hints on the essence of education.

Nara National Institute of Higher Education and Research, NUE and NWU have started an initiative to build a partnership organization, called “Nara Colleges”, to promote educational and research collaboration with three other universities, one college of technology, one museum and two archaeological research laboratories. Nara Colleges have just started joint programs by coordinating the core member organizations, but now are expanding collaborative ties with Nara Prefecture and Nara City as well as local industrial and business partners. We sincerely hope that this new framework works as a common platform on which various forms of collabo-rations will be promoted in the Nara area, so that our ultimate goal of turning Nara into a unique global center for learning, research and social innovation will be reached some day.
Finally, I wish to ask everyone associated with our two universities and their partners to provide us with your generous understanding and support.

Hiroyuki Sakaki, Chairperson
Nara National Institute of Higher Education and Research

Constituent Organizations

Nara University of Education
Nara University of Education is a teacher training university whose origins go back to the founding of Nara Prefectural Normal School for Primary Education in 1888. Over its long history, spanning more than 130 years, the school has strived for excellence in teacher training and educational research and contributed to education in Nara Prefecture and Japan as a whole.

In 2007, NUE became the first Japanese university to be certified as a UNESCO Associated School. Our attached junior high school, elementary school, and kindergarten have since all been certified, and together we are pursuing education for sustainable development.

NUE consists of a Faculty of Education that offers 16 majors and a Graduate School of Education with a professional degree program (in education) and a master’s program (in education). The university enrolls approximately 1,100 undergraduates and about 130 graduate students.

Nara Women’s University
Nara Women’s University is one of only two national women’s universities in the country and the only such school in western Japan. With a history going back more than 110 years, it has a long tradition as an institution at the apex of women’s education in Japan. NWU has a 25-year education program, extending from kindergarten through graduate school, with students ranging from three to twenty-seven years of age.

Situated in the ancient capital of Nara, with its world-class national treasures, important cultural properties, and historic sites, the NWU campus is quiet, serene, and rich in greenery, providing an optimal environment for study. It is conveniently located as well, with easy access to Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe.

NWU has four faculties: Letters, Science, Human Life and Environment, and Engineering. The university enrolls about 2,100 undergraduate and 500 graduate students.

Nara International Strategy Center
Nara International Strategy Center was established to facilitate collaboration between Nara University of Education and Nara Women’s University in the planning and implementation of international programs and to promote international exchange at the Nara National Institute of Higher Education and Research.

The center provides various forms of support to the universities’ international students, arranges study abroad for Japanese students, and holds events to promote international exchange. Currently, there are about 60 international students at NUE and 130 at NWU.