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  5. Universities and Society: Seeking the Possibility of Collaboration between Industries and Universities in Education

2009 Vol.2
Universities and Society: Seeking the Possibility of Collaboration between Industries and Universities in Education

2009/04/01

With the coming of the knowledge-based society, the importance of universities’ functions to create, transmit and apply knowledge has come to be widely recognized afresh worldwide. In Japan, too, the collaborative efforts between industries and universities have vigorously developed over the past decades. Especially, the collaboration in research between universities and industries and the contracted research with the companies has increased, and many technology-licensing organizations (TLOS) have been established to transfer newly developed technology to industries. However, while the collaborations between industries and universities in the research field have grown so quickly, those in the development of human resources, that is, education, have not necessarily evolved effectively. Companies have placed emphasis on in-house training under the lifelong employment system. On the other hand, universities have persistently adhered to provide academically specialized education. However, having experienced drastic changes in the business environment, companies have begun to seek graduates who are ready to function effectively in the workplace. For universities, through tougher competition for the applicants in the period of decline in 18-year population, and increasing pressure for accountability and quality assurance and improvement, it has become necessary to make clear the profile of the graduates and the added values through their education programs.
Developing “Generic Competencies” such as problem-solving ability, communication skills and the ability to work in a team, which are vital for becoming a good citizen and a functional member of an organization, is strongly expected for university education today from the society at large no matter what the student majors in. Constructive dialogue and collaboration between universities, industries and community must be further developed with regard to what sorts of competencies and abilities students should achieved through their university education.

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