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技職國際趨勢

國外編輯部/人文無用?從安倍政府推技職、欲廢文科說起…

 

作者/John W. Traphagan

編譯/李苾琳、余欣融

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人文無用?從安倍政府推技職、欲廢文科說起…

日本NHK針對60所日本國立大學調查指出,其中26所有人文社會科學系的學校已證實未來將計劃廢除或減少招生名額。起因為安倍政府制訂的國立大學改革計劃:大學培育的人才應為「社會所需」。前任文部科學大臣下村博文發信要求日本所有的國立大學,要積極廢除人文社會科學院,或是轉型成自然科學院。

部分國內最富盛名的大學,諸如東京大學、京都大學皆拒絕此要求,滋賀大學校長和隆光澤圭公開譴責負責大學事務的文部科學省,表示這種想法「大逆不道」、而由上位領導者帶頭更是「反智」;然而也有一些國立大學表示能理解文部科學省的政策,他們會停止人文社會科學系的招生,符合法令的要求。

安倍政府的目標是大力推動符合社會需求的「技職教育」,但卻遺漏了一點。安倍只看到「經濟成長」此一社會需求(喔,但經濟學隸屬社會科學,得淘汰了),但卻沒發現人類行為、社會組織、文化藝術等專業,才是「真正有型」地符合社會所需。所有組織的中心都將回歸到「人」,不論是政府、企業、軍事單位,或其他形態的組織,為了讓「人」能有效率地工作,他們得瞭解人類行為的多樣複雜性、文化形塑思想的重要性,並發展具分析及解決隨著人們開始共同工作而不斷產生需求的智能工具。

當然,像日本這樣重視技職教育的工業社會中,讓部分國立大學變得就業導向很合理,但是教育不應該處於欠缺諸如藝術、文學、道德等深度討論的真空狀態。如何詮釋ㄧ個人的世界、如何建立一個人對外在環境的美感、如何與他人互動等等,對於人能作為一個人,抑或成為一名成功的員工都是至關重要的。

安倍政府對人文社會學科的攻擊說來有些諷刺,因為日本政府一直積極地向全世界推銷日本的流行文化。日本未來的宮崎駿會怎麼樣呢,他們能進入日本的國立大學就讀嗎?宮崎駿就讀私立的學習院大學(Akushuin University),雙主修政治和經濟,同時也加入了兒童文學(漫畫)研究社。他的電影享譽國際,在國內也有極高評價,作品反思人類與大自然的衝突、人類社會的複雜性,難以想像他的價值觀沒有受人文社會科學所啟發。

宮崎駿

日本國寶級動畫大師宮崎駿,執導的電影常反映出人類對於自然及科技之間的關係。(圖/Flickr)

 

接受專業培訓、找工作都是很重要的事,然而一個優秀的員工還需要會思考、會分析、會應對,針對各種商業行為提出合乎倫理的做法。這些「技能」看似不是社會所需,卻是能讓一個國家穩定、具備國際競爭力的重要元素。如果沒有賈柏斯的審美哲學,沒有設計師、工程師為他效勞,今天的蘋果會在哪裡呢?

社會需要什麼?不能單用一張財務狀況表就能算出。把人文社會科學從國立大學中排除,就代表此高等教育短視近利,其後也會負面影響日本的國際經濟地位。

 

【作者介紹】John W. Traphagan

德州大學奧斯汀分校宗教系及人類行為系教授

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The Japanese Government’s Attack on the Humanities and Social Sciences

Recent news stories about education in Japan have noted that 26 of the 60 national universities that offer courses in the humanities and social sciences have confirmed they will either close or reduce faculties in these areas. This follows a decree issued by the Japanese government that universities “serve areas that better meet society’s needs” in a letter sent from Education Minister Hakuban Shimomura to all of Japan’s national universities. The letter called on them to take “active steps to abolish [the social sciences and humanities]” or convert them to academic opportunities in the natural sciences.

Some of the country’s most prestigious universities, such as the University of Tokyo and University of Kyoto have refused to comply with the order, and Takamitsu Sawa, president of Shiga University, recently published an op-ed piece in the Japan Times denouncing the ministry’s philosophy, calling its proposals “outrageous” and its leaders “anti-intellectual.” However, several national universities have indicated that they will cease recruiting students to humanities and social science courses and comply with the edict.

The goal expressed by the Abe government is to promote practical vocational education to anticipate the needs of society. But one is left wondering what, exactly, Abe sees as the needs of society beyond economic growth (oh, and economics is a social science that would be eliminated). It is difficult to comprehend how studying human behavior, social organization, culture, and the arts is only tangential to anticipating the needs of society. All organizations involve humans – whether government, industry, the military, or anything else. In order for humans to work effectively and efficiently, they must understand the dimensions of human behavior, must recognize the importance of culture in shaping ideas, and must have the intellectual tools necessary to analyze and address the constant flow of human needs that arise as people work together.

While there is, of course, an important place for vocational education in industrial societies like Japan, and there may well be reasons to shift some of the national universities in Japan to a more vocational orientation, that education should not occur in a vacuum devoid of deep discussions about topics such as art, literature, and ethics. Understanding how to interpret one’s world, how to assess the aesthetics of one’s environment (including the space in which one works), and how to think about interactions with others is fundamental to being human and to being a successful worker/employee and should be addressed thoughtfully in any educational institution – whether or not it is primarily vocational.

There is a certain irony in the Abe government’s attack on the liberal arts, because for some time the government also has been actively promoting exports of the country’s popular culture around the world. What will happen to the future Hayao Miyazakis of Japan – perhaps the most significant icon of contemporary Japanese popular artistic culture around the world – who might attend a national university? Miyazaki attended Gakushin University, which is private, and majored in political science and economics while also participating in the university’s research club on children’s literature (manga). His films, many of which are considered masterpieces both nationally and internationally, show a deep awareness and understanding of the human condition and the nature of conflict, the complexities of human social organization, and the varied ways in which we interpret our world. It is difficult to imagine that his perspective is not at least in part a product of the education he received in economics and political science at university. And, of course, this exploration of humanity comes to us through the powerful aesthetic sensibilities expressed through the worlds created in his drawings.

While gaining vocational training and getting a job is important, good employees are those who can think creatively, understand and interpret the contexts in which they interact with others, and employ an ethical approach to the activities of business and life in general. These are not tangential to vocational training nor to the needs of society, but are central elements in generating a capable and inventive workforce that is able to make any country secure and internationally competitive. Where would Apple be without the aesthetic ideas of Steve Jobs and the designers and engineers who worked for him?

The needs of society, like the needs of individual humans, are not able to be simply calculated on a balance sheet, but involve not only the pragmatics of learning a skill, but equally the pragmatics of learning to live and work with others in a thoughtful, analytical, and ethical manner. Eliminating the social sciences and humanities from national universities represents a stunningly narrow-minded and short-sighted attitude about the purpose and aims of higher education. And it will work against ensuring Japan a strong economic position internationally in the future.

 

【Author】John W. Traphagan

Professor of Religious Studies and Human Dimensions of Organizations at the University of Texas at Austin.

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圖片來源:flickr@Eric G.Gonzalo Alonso

原文刊登於《THEDIPLOMAT》,經作者John W. Traphagan授權編譯,未經許可不得轉載

 

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