|@@@@@"Japanese universities are opposite to those of America and Europe"
Extracted from gProblematic points of Japanese Constitution"
Written by Dr. Naoki Komuro.
Japanese universities are made for the sake of the nation. This fact sounds quite natural to most of Japanese people. However, this is a very serious matter to be considered. Why is that? It is because the American and European universities have quite different, or rather completely opposite histories and characters to Japanese universities.
When the universities were first established in Europe, they were all private-owned ones, none not even one related to power. In the first place in Europe, the universities were born as intended to be free and independent from power, and a guniversity made by power" is not worth its name, as it is full of discrepancies.
It was in the change from 12th to 13th centuries that the universities
appeared in Europe, and it is not that there was no higher education institutes
in Europe prior to this period. and there were some such schools here and
there with fine teaching facilities and volumes of books available. However,
it should be noted that these schools were all under conditions, and they
were protected by power as long as they follow such conditions.
To be more concrete, these schools were made by churches and/or three powers.
Therefore, it could be said that these schools were intended to train church
leaders and officials of the King. Upon entering the 13th century from
the 12th, there appeared some who were not satisfied with those educations,
followed by the trend of pursuing learning, as free from power as ever.
It is by the Crusade against Islam that this trend was motivated.
At that time, Islam enjoyed learning which was far more developed and improved than in the European countries, with more emphasis placed on studies of ancient Greece or Rome, and this is when the Europeans visiting Islam were so much intellectually stimulated by the Crusade that they came to think that they should improve the level of learning in Europe.
Then, in Bologna of Italy, some students got together and made a union, employing teachers, and this is the start of Bologna University which was established in 1088. Opposite to this, it is Paris university (established in about 1150) that was made with the union formed up first by scholars, who started teaching the students.
As can be easily judged from this fact, the universities in Europe had no relationship with power. The concept of gfreedom of university" or idea of gfreedom of learning" were born based on what these universities were.
It is needless to say that being never protected by power, the buildings
and facilities of the European universities in the beginning were very
poor. This is what shows how poor they were;
In Oxford university, for instance, said to have been established in about
1170, the students had no chairs to sit on, and sat on the straw mats for
the lecture.Without building and having no desks and chairs available,this
is really what the true university ought to be in true sense of education.
While I was studying overseas at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) I heard from Dr. Samuelson (Economy, awarded with Novel prize, economy, in 1970) that Harvard University followed the same trace as it first started out.
He also remarked that the best university would be that with a teacher sitting beyond the log ahead and with me taking the seat at this end before the log. As well said in his remarks, Harvard University upon its establishment provided an open-air classroom, but was the best in the quality of education at that time.
Publication Date : September 5, 2002
IOND University Hawaii