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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 April 23 - May 6  > Abe gov’t proposes bill to destroy university autonomy
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2014 April 23 - May 6 [EDUCATION]

Abe gov’t proposes bill to destroy university autonomy

April 26, 2014
The Abe Cabinet on April 25 decided on a bill to revise the School Education Law and submitted it to the Diet. If the draft law is enacted, it will undermine university autonomy which is guaranteed by the Japanese Constitution.

Japan’s universities are guaranteed their autonomy based on Article 23 of the Constitution which stipulates academic freedom. The aim of the provision is to enable universities to fulfill their responsibility for national education free from state control. The School Education Law embodies academic freedom.

Article 93 of the education law guarantees faculty senates the right to deliberate on matters related to university administration. The measure presented by the government, however, will downgrade faculty senates into mere organs allowed to offer opinions only when a university president needs it. On top of that, matters to be discussed are limited to those concerning educational research, and thus teaching staff cannot engage in university management, such as budget formation and personnel affairs.

This bill will deprive the faculty of the right to deliberate, and make university autonomy devoid of substance.

The Abe administration claims that they will promote and establish university presidents’ leadership. In a university, which is often called a “seat of learning”, there are various opinions among faculty members. What is required of university leaders should be the capability to bring together diverse perspectives and opinions.

If the professorate forfeit the right to freely express their views, it will help consolidate a president’s top-down management and undermine teaching staff’s right to educational research and university operations.

The real intent of the draft law is to destroy university autonomy so that the government and business circles can put in place people who do not ask questions.

Past related article:
> Gov’t panel recommends control of education by power [December 14, 2013]
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