Monday, November 5, 2012

Politic initiative or abuse of power?

Ms. Makiko Tanaka, the newly Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, rejected the applications for establishing 3 new universities in the next year. The reason of reject is deemed to the excess of colleges.
(Daily Yomiuri Online, Nov. 3 2012)

The Japanese law provides that approval by the minister is necessary to establish a university. But the Minister is to refer the opinion of the special committee about higher education. In this case, committee allowed the establishment of 3 universities. Of course it is likely to impossible to evaluate the value of each university for a minister. So former ministers have not ever rejected the proposal by the committee before.

Stakeholders of fetal universities are in confusion now. Some local governors claimed that the decision of Ms. Tanaka was abuse of power.

In future, population of Japan is decreasing. It is a strict fact.
And it is also said that not a few universities in Japan are useless for its low quality. Some universities cannot collect appliers and even are in financial crisis.
Maybe, the adequate number of university in Japan is less than now.
Because of this, some people admire the decision of Ms. Tanaka. They says that the Minister showed political initiative.

However, I think that the two things are different each other.
Decreasing facilities and improving quality of chosen ones are important and long-term challenges. Whether she approves the new establishment of a university or not is a here and now issue. It is a different matter, and maybe less important.
The Minister should make long-term plan for justification of universities with a long-term point of view.

In Japan, for several years, the prime minister changes every year. So ministers and other politicians also hardly have enough time to think. They tend to make simplistic thinking. It is a big problem in Japan.


1 comment:

  1. I agree with your comment, however, I have to point following things out:

    1) Why this "approval" was usually issued in NOVEMBER? It`s too late. I assume there is some kind of problems in this approval system itself.

    2)"Justification(Quality-control?)" means closing some low-quality university in the future. Recently, a Horikoshi Gakuen education group in Takasaki was decided to close in 2013(as the Yomiuri Online mentioned), though this university had economical trouble since 2008... It looks like a bit difficult to do "Justification of university" in Japan, especially in forcing to go the low-level universities out.

    3) So I conclude that this is a problem of system. However....what the Japanese newspaper says? It looks that they are more focusing on Ms. Tanaka`s character problems, and the "poor" students who planned to go to those universities, and brabrabrabra.... All of those are not essential.

    I hope that Japanese people focus on the essential problems and discuss to solve the problems.