The Issues Japanese Higher Education Face in the Digital Age—Are Japanese Universities to Blame for the Slow Progress towards an Information-based Society?
A quarter of a century has passed since the Internet was opened to general use. The impact of the Internet, which was initially moderate, is gradually taking shape. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is materializing with the advent of the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. At the same time, higher education is in a period of drastic reform, driven by the globalization, marketization, and massification of higher education. However, adapting to the digital age has not been a priority, and as the turmoil of reforms is settling down, the gaps among universities in terms of adapting to the digital age have become apparent. Japanese universities are among the adaptation laggards. They have also drawn criticism for not being effective enough in producing skilled IT engineers and fostering the development of IT-related startups. But are Japanese universities to blame for the shortcomings of the Japanese IT industry?
This paper analyzes the slow progress towards an information-based society in Japan by first comparing the measures taken by universities at the beginning of the digital age and the criticism Japanese universities have drawn. It then discusses the issues Japan is facing in transitioning to an information-based society and the contributions Japanese universities could make.
J. Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds, Doubleday, 2004, p. 336.
P. Gourdain, F. O’Kelly, et al., La Révolution Wikipédia: Les encyclopédies vont-elles mourir? Mille et une Nuits, 2007, p. 144.
D. Bok, Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education, Princeton University Press, 2004, p. 256.
M. Trow, Twentieth-Century Higher Education: Elite to Mass to Universal, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010, p. 640.
Y. Masuda, The Information Society as Post-Industrial Society, Transaction Publishers, 1980, p. 178.
D. Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting, Basic Books, 1976, p. 616.
A. Toffler, The Third Wave, Bantam, 1984, p. 560.
Council on Information Processing Education, Ministry of Education, Japan, “Quantitative Basic Data for Raising Information Engineers,” 1971. In Japanese, Jyoho-shori-gijyutsusha Yosei-keikaku-no Teiryoteki-kiso.
National Forum On Information Literacy, “What is NFIL?,” NFIL website, http://infolit.org/about-the-nfil/what-is-the-nfil/.
National Information Processing Center (NIPC), “About the Research Meeting on Information (Processing) Education.” 2008. In Japanese, Jyoho-shori-kyoiku Kenkyu-shukai ni-tsuite.
A. Sugie and M. Ohsaki, “Information Literacy Education in the Year 2006 Problem,” Nagoya Bunri University Kiyo, vol.7, 2007 , p29-32; http://www.nagoya-bunri.ac.jp/information/memoir/files/2007_05.pdf
Y. Otani, “Development for Information Retrieval System in Japan Information Center for Science and Technology (JICST),” Kokubun Mejiro, vol. 53, 2014, p.33-42.
K. Konishi, “The History of National Institute of Informatics―the Activity for the Constitution of Infrastructure of Scholarly Information―,” proceedings at a lecture talk, 2005; http://www.sousei.gscc.osaka-cu.ac.jp/ws/wspdf/media/m050113.pdf
Science and Technology & Academic Council, “Midterm Report on the Deployment of Computers and Network for Academic Information Infrastructure,” 2005. In Japanese, Gakujyutsu-jyoho-kiban toshite-no Computer oyobi Network no Kongo-no Seibi-no-Arikata ni-tsuite.
Subcommittee on Copyright Issues, Council for Cultural Affairs, “Issues to be discussed in the sixteenth Subcommittee on Copyright Issues, Council for Cultural Affairs,” 2016. In Japanese, Dai-16-ki Bunka-Shingikai Chosakuken-Bunkakai Housei-Kihon-mondai Sho-iinnkai ni okeru Toumen-no-Knetou-Kadai oyobi Kentou-no-Susumekata nitsuite (an); http://www.bunka.go.jp/seisaku/bunkashingikai/chosakuken/hoki/h28_01/pdf/shiryo_3.pdf
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, “Information and Communications in Japan 2009,” 2009; http://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/tyousakai/innovation/ict/2kai/siryo2.pdf
World Economic Forum, “The Global Information Technology Report 2016,” 2016, p. 291; http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GITR2016/WEF_GITR_Full_Report.pdf
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, “International ICT-related trends and ICT-Usage Survey,” 2009. In Japanese, ICT-kanren-Doukou no Kokusai-Hikaku oyobi Kokunaigai-no ICT-Rikatsuyou Senshin-Jirei-Chosa; http://www.soumu.go.jp/johotsusintokei/linkdata/h21_03_houkoku.pdf
Kyoto University, “Study on ICT Usage at Japanese Higher Education Institutions,” 2014, p. 345. In Japanese, Heisei-25-nenndo Monbu-Kagaku-Sho Sendo-teki Daigaku-Kaikaku Suishin Itaku-Jigyo: Koutou-Kyouikukikan-tou-niokeru ICT-no-Ri-Katsyo-ni-kansuru Chosa-Kenkyu (Itaku-Gyomu Seika-Houkokusho; http://www.mext.go.jp/component/a_menu/education/detail/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2014/05/19/1347641_05.pdf
Information-Technology Promotion Agency, “White Paper on IT Human Resources 2016,” 2016, p. 303. In Japanese, IT-Jinzai-Hakusho; https://www.ipa.go.jp/jinzai/jigyou/about.html
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, “Survey on the Latest Trends and Future Forecast of IT Human Resources,” 2016. In Japanese, IT-Jinzai no Saishin-Doko to Shorai-Suikei ni kansuru Chosa-kekka; http://www.meti.go.jp/policy/it_policy/jinzai/27FY_report.html
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, “International Comparative Study on IT Human Resources,” 2016. In Japanese, IT-Jinzai ni kansuru Kakkoku-Hikaku-Chosa Kekka-Houkokusho; http://www.meti.go.jp/policy/it_policy/jinzai/27FY/ITjinzai_global.pdf
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, “University-Industry Linkage F.Y. 2014,”2015. In Japanese, Heisei-26-nendo Daigaku-to ni-okeru Sangaku-Renkei-to Jisshi-Jyoukyou nitsuite; http://www.mext.go.jp/component/a_menu/science/detail/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2015/12/25/1365509_2.pdf
S. Matsuda, “Exploring the Possibility of Start-ups started by Universities—Reality, Issue, and Strategy,” Journal of Industry-Academia-Government Linkage, vol.4, 2014. In Japanese, Daigaku-hatsu-Benchaa no Kanousei wo Hikidasu—Sono Genjyo, Kadai, Senryaku; https://sangakukan.jp/journal/journal_contents/2014/04/articles/1404-02-1/1404-02-1_article.html
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, “Structural Change and Future Prospects of Global ICT Industry,”2015. In Japanese, Global-ICT-Sangyo no Kozo-Henka oyobi Shorai-Tenbou-tou ni kansuru Chosa-Kenkyu; http://www.soumu.go.jp/johotsusintokei/linkdata/h27_02_houkoku.pdf
National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, “Academic Start-ups Survey 2010: A questionnaire survey of universities and research institutions,”2011, p. 164. In Japanese, Daigaku-tou-Bencha-Chosa 2010—Daigaku-tou-heno Anketo-ni-motozuku Bencha-Seturitsu-Jyokyo to Bencha-Shien Sangaku-renkei ni-kansuru Ishiki; http://data.nistep.go.jp/dspace/handle/11035/875
J. Kokuryo, “Chapter 5 Information and Communication: Japan which failed to network,” Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance, The Efficiency of Japan’s Economy and Ways to Recover, 2000; https://www.mof.go.jp/pri/research/conference/zk030/zk030e.pdf
S. Toyofuku, “Use of ICT in Primary and Secondary Education：1. Why ICT Use in Japanese Schools is Retarded—From Policy Conversion to Learner-centered Use of ICT,” JPSJ Magazine “Joho Shori,” Vol.56(4), 2015, p.316-321; https://www.ipsj.or.jp/magazine/9faeag000000jvu7-att/5604-01.pdf