People and Society
Will Studying at a University be Useful for My Future?
Jun Kameno , Associate Professor
Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education, Graduate School of Education
High school : Himeji Higashi High School, Hyogo Academic background: Graduate School, Division of Econ
Academic background : Graduate School, Division of Economics, Hokkai-Gakuen University
- Research areas
- Human Resource Development， Career Education, Pedagogy, Labor Policy
- Research keywords
- occupation, education, human resource development, labor problem，economic policy
What kind of research / education are you doing?
I suppose you are high school students. For what purpose will you go on to college? Some of you may have a clear future goal, such as entering a certain profession, others may be persuaded by their parents who say, “College education will give you an advantage for employment, you need to enter XX University to get a job.” Others may think, “I will study hard until I get into college and then play to my heart’s content.”
What was the intent of students at Hokkaido University in entering the University? Many of them may be at a loss which faculty to choose in relation to their future occupation.
Then, why does a university education gives you an advantage for employment? How is faculty specialization related to one’s future occupation? I am studying such issues. In other words, I am studying the relationship between education and jobs. More specifically, I am pondering the following questions in my research: “How is education linked to jobs?,” “Is education of help when working in an occupation?,” “What abilities are necessary for working in an occupation?,” and “What kind of education will cultivate abilities?”
How did you start the research?
After graduating from the Faculty of Economics, Hiroshima University, I entered the former Ministry of Labour (current Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) where I engaged in policy planning, analysis of the labor market, and long-term economic planning for about nine years. During this period, the Japanese economy experienced a recession due to a strong yen, a bubble boom, and secular stagnation after the collapse of the bubble. Various economic policies were implemented to pull the economy out of the secular stagnation without having expected effects. Then, taking a different path, I have been engaging in education and research at Hokkaido University since 2001.
Through this process, I felt that human resources had supported the development of Japan and that escaping this stagnation also would depend on human resource development. Therefore, I have been working on research and education with focus on human resource development at Hokkaido University.
What is your research method?
Because most people have education, job, and labor experience, many of them have their own thinking and opinions about education problems and labor problems. However, here is a trap. Most people have only limited experience in education. People that have education experience in multiple high schools, universities, or faculties are a small minority.
Levels of knowledge utilization and usefulness of education by country
According to the result of a questionnaire survey of graduates from universities in Japan and Europe, both the level of usefulness of education (to what degree the university education is helpful in performing the current job?) and that of knowledge utilization (how much are you using your knowledge and skills in your current job?) are low in Japan, U.K., Spain and France.
The same applies to work experience. In order to objectively analyze such diverse thoughts and opinions, scientific analysis is essential and lots of data are needed for grasping the current situation and using the results in policies. For this purpose, I use existing statistical data and implement my own questionnaire surveys. I analyze not only domestic but also overseas data.
What abilities do we need for work?
They are broadly divided into expert knowledge / skills necessary for specific occupations and general abilities necessary across different occupations. To put it plainly, the former is knowledge of the law for lawyers and medical knowledge for physicians. The latter is called “generic skills,” which cover a wide range of abilities including ability of logical thinking and the skill to convey things to others in a way that is easy to understand.
Can you acquire these abilities and skills by studying in a university? In the end, of course, you can. University education is useful. However, there are a number of conditions. The basic premise is: you need to study hard. The educational institution also needs to provide an environment and adequate style classes for this purpose.
Based on these studies, I am also studying the higher education system, internship, and career education abroad focusing on Finland and China for case studies on the effectiveness of university education.
Can I acquire abilities at Hokkaido University?
Hokkaido University has a number of specialized faculties, schools and graduate schools. You can acquire specialized abilities and abilities commonly required across occupations. Because you can acquire specialized abilities in classes of individual faculties, schools and graduate schools, choose among them according to you future career path. You need to graduate from a medical school to become a physician, but this kind of clear relationship is an exception today. You can hardly say you need to study in a specific faculty to enter a specific profession. Society and enterprises are also looking for human resources of a variety of expertise. With society growing increasingly complex, it is now common place that people of a variety of expertise think together and work together. On the other hand, you can improve abilities common across professions by studying hard in any faculty, school, or graduate school and having various experiences in addition to studying.
I am in charge of career education and internship in Hokkaido University. These education activities are not employment support in a narrow sense. I hope that young people think about how university education relate to society after their graduation, have meaningful student lives, and grow into leaders of society who provide a good service to the world.