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.