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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 July 22 - 28  > Science Council criticizes gov’t policy to abolish humanities departments
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2015 July 22 - 28 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Science Council criticizes gov’t policy to abolish humanities departments

July 24, 2015
The Science Council of Japan (SCJ), the representative organization of Japanese scholars and scientists in all fields of sciences, has expressed opposition to the government directive to abolish humanities departments in state-funded universities.

SCJ President Onishi Takashi on July 23 held a press conference and published a statement in the name of the SCJ Executive Board, criticizing the June notice of the education ministry instructing all national university corporations and other higher educational institutions to abolish or reorganize undergraduate departments and graduate schools responsible for education in the humanities and social sciences.

The SCJ claims that the ministerial notice disparaging the humanities and social sciences “may result in higher education in Japan losing its breadth and depth”.

The statement points out that “there is a need for the natural sciences and the humanities and social sciences to work closely together in order to produce a more comprehensive knowledge base that can respond to the various challenges” facing society.

The statement says that some societal demands can be effectively met by setting concrete goals and outcomes. However, it goes on to say, “[T]here are other types of social demands, more latent, which should be met by universities; the university needs to articulate knowledge that is based on a long-term perspective, bolster diversity, and nurture the foundation on which creativity can flourish.”

Regarding “global human resources”, the statement points out that they should not be limited to “talent equipped with global competitiveness but also include such talent that can engage with and contribute to the global community while cherishing cultural diversity”.

It stresses the importance of having “a good sense of judgement” and of thinking “critically” based on an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the society, culture and history of Japan and other countries.

Past related articles:
> Education Ministry instructs national universities to reduce humanities and social science courses [June 10, 2015]
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