Ueyama Takahiro – The Prospects For Reform In Academic Governance (Japan)

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Photo: nippon.com

Photo: nippon.com

nippon.com. April 2014. The organizational operations group of the subdivision on universities, Central Council for Education (an advisory body to the minister of education, culture, sports, science, and technology), met seven times beginning in June 2013 to discuss governance reform in Japanese universities, particularly national universities. On December 24 of the same year, the panel reported the results of its deliberations.

In this group, headed by Kawata Teiichi, president of the Promotion and Mutual Aid Corporation for Private Schools of Japan and former president of Kansai University, panelists from academia and business circles engaged in a lively debate on how to break the organizational rigidity of Japanese universities. Most notably, harsh criticism was voiced regarding the outdated system of university administration, which has remained unchanged for decades. Panelists from the business world offered the harsh assessment that Japanese universities not only fail to deliver on their social mission but also lack the systems of governance that any sound organization should have.

Faced as they are with the pressure to stay afloat in a global market, corporations in Japan’s advanced knowledge-based society demand the development of top-quality human resources equipped with highly specialized knowledge and creative capabilities. As Japanese universities are not living up to these demands, the argument went, they need a fundamental revision of their operating system.

Some university-affiliated members countered that businesspeople did not even begin to understand the organizational nature of universities and that unlike corporations, whose sole purpose is to maximize profits, universities are multipurpose entities that have diverse stakeholders and must respond to a wide variety of social needs. In the face of the tide of criticism, however, these objections held little sway.

Read more: http://www.nippon.com/

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