2014 Volume 81 Issue 2 Pages 164-175
The aim of this paper is to analyze the policies discussed since 2000 regarding “Global Human Resource Development” among actors (mass media (newspapers), industry, government (the Ministries of Economy, Trade and Industry [METI] and of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology [MEXT]), and universities), to examine what stances this discussion takes on “Localism,” and to consider the effect of this discussion on higher education.
Materials for analysis are newspaper articles, research reports or proposals from industry or the Ministries, business plans of universities regarding “Global Human Resource Development,” and statements regarding organizational reform of universities.
As the result of the analysis, five findings have been clarified. 1. Japanese industries need a new type of employee to develop overseas branches. They call this new type of employee “Global Human Resources” and have worked toward their cultivation since 2000. 2. It is not easy for companies to develop so-called “Global Human Resources” in their in-service training. They require the collaboration of the Ministries (METI and MEXT in order to develop these types of people, with universities targeted as sites for the actual development. The conditions to meet these requirements are thought to include study-abroad programs and higher levels of practical English (ie TOEFL or TOEIC) in university education. 3. The MEXT is assigned to play the role of supporting universities by distributing a competitive budget to promote study abroad and increase English ability (this is called the “Global Human Resource Development Enterprise”). 4. Prestigious universities try to organize educational programs for the purpose of study abroad and practical English in compliance with the MEXT to acquire the budget. 5. On the other hand, small universities which are not affected by the government competitive budget try to follow this movement. They reform their faculties or departments to meet “Global Human Resource Development.”
The issue of “Global Human Resource Development” for economic globalization was originally a corporate in-house concern. This local issue has become a national issue in terms of collaboration between industries and the Ministries. Now “Global Human Resource Development Enterprise” is becoming an all Japan issue. The focus on university students' study abroad and increased English test scores as a solution remains based on the same notion of catch-up to developed societies as in the past. It is also a local discussion.
Globalization brings new issues which cannot be solved by a single country and call for collaboration among countries: ie environmental problems, resources and energy issues, and international conflicts. It is key for universities to develop students who can take on these global issues. Japanese universities should deeply consider this point.