Foundations of education and research are endangered -- Akahata editorial, March 28 (excerpts)

An advisory council of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has submitted to Minister Toyama Atsuko the final report on a study concerning the plan to put state-run universities under independent agencies' administration. The ministry will draft a bill based on this report.

The final report's proposal for agency administration has been strongly opposed by universities and mass media since it was put forward in the advisory council's interim report last September.

The final report proposed that state-run university teachers and administrative staff be treated as non-public service employees. This will induce them to simultaneously take jobs at corporations for profit.

If university teachers and staff are considered as non-public service employees, their employment status and position will become unstable. This will make it difficult to produce good results of study and will undermine freedom of research and education.

The final report said that the education minister will set goals to be achieved by each university and give them government subsidies in proportion to their achievement.

It also said that members of the board of directors responsible for decision-making at each university should include people from outside the university. This will allow corporate people to take part in university management in order to make education and study better serve government and business interests.

Universities reorganized under independent agency's administration won't work as academic centers in a liberal atmosphere. Basic research which doesn't meet required standards set by the government and business circles will decline, inadequate educational conditions will be maintained, and tuition fees be increased.

The Koizumi Cabinet wants to carry out the "structural reform of universities" to change universities to ones that help increase major corporations' competitiveness. The final report is part of this reform plan.

The final report will only allow the government to minimize its responsibility for higher education and hamper the free development of universities, which are the intellectual foundations of Japan. (end)