Japan’s universities too diversified, too focused on abstractions … say critics

Japan’s universities ‘focusing on abstractions’


With institutions of higher learning being lambasted over failing to imbue their students with real-world skills, there has been much discussion over what kind of knowledge students should possess upon graduating.

Acknowledging such criticism, the Central Council on Education, an advisory panel to the education minister, compiled a report in December on how to improve undergraduate programs. In it, the panel proposed graduation requirements irrespective of major. These include cultural awareness, self-management and career-oriented practical skills, such as communication and problem-solving.

The report says today’s Japanese tertiary schools have educational goals much more abstract than those at higher learning institutions in other developed countries, where the focus tends to be on helping students acquire skills. It also adds that Japan’s undergraduate programs have become “too diversified,” and that they do not guarantee a minimum standard in any major.

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