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Part2 Educational Reform Q&A
Q37: I have heard that national universities are to become in dependent administrative institutions.What will national universities be like when this happens?

A:We are currently examining the issue ofturning national universities into indepen-dent administrati-ve bodies from the perspective of achieving a global standard ofeducation and research.

A Cabinet decision of April1999on turning national universities into independent adminis-trative bodies resolved to"investigate the matter as part of the reform of universities while re-specting the autonomy of universities and reach a conclusion by2003."To this end,MESSC has been moving forward with its examinations,holding the Roundtable on the Future of Nation-al Universities and Other Institutions-a kind of"private roundtable"for the Minister of Educa-tion,Science,Sports and Culture-which heard opinions from learned individuals with broad-ranging viewpoints.Further,in Septem'ber1999,the Conference of National University Presi-dents and Interuniversity Research Institute Pre-sidents developed the following points concern-ing the basic direction for examining the trans-formation of national universities into indepen-dent administrative institutions.Education and research at national universities should be carried out on the basis of autonomy,independence and self-responsibility.The inves-tigation into making national universities into independent administrative institutions must devise special measures which take these char-acteristics into consideration.By devising these special measures,the transformation of national universities into inde-pendent administrative institutions will have the following benefits compared to the current sys-tem.

a)With independent status,universities will be able to exercise self-authority and responsi-bility in their management similar to univer-sities in Europe and the United States.
b)There will be a relaxation of government regulations in a variety of areas,such as in-stitutional organization,deployment of teaching staff,salary agreements and budget enforcement meaning that the independence and autonomy of universities will increase.
c)More flexible system planning will be facili-tated across the whole coverage of university operations including education,research and deployment of teaching staff leading to ex-pectations for the promotion of universities with individual characteristics and the crea-tion of a more competitive environment.

The transformation of national universities into independent administrative institutions will grant juridical status to each university,includ-ing research institutes attached to universities and university hospitals.Broadly speaking,it is therefore necessary to consider the following points as specific extraordinary measures.

a)To guarantee independence and autonomy to universities with the setting of interim objec-tives and approval of interim plans by the competent Minister.
b)In the evaluation of the results of corpora-tions,to implement evaluation of education and research not by the central government,but rather by third-party organizations com-posed of university-affiliated persons.
c)To guarantee independence and autonomy for universities in the personnel affairs of teach-ing personnel,including university Presi-dents.

Meanwhile,with the increase in university inde-pendence and autonomy,the management re-sponsibilities of the universities will naturally increase.In addition,while the independent ad-ministrative system of corporations does not assume self-supporting status,it will require more efficient and effective management than in the past.Therefore,it is necessary to review the management structure to facilitate timely and appropriate decision-making under the leader-ship of university Presidents,with administrative viewpoints taken into account.In relation to this,we will investigate the method of selection for university Presidents and the makeup of Vice-Presidents and management inquiry committees.In future,we will continue to examine the spect-fic orientation for special measures while hear-ing opinions from related parties,including the National University Association of Japan and plan to reach a conclusion as early as possible in FY2000.In light of this,it will be necessary to spend sufficient time to carefully consider the details of the system.

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