This presentation reviews transition in curriculum policy for non-specialized subjects, such as general education, the liberal arts, the core curriculum, remedial education, first-year experience, and career education, in the context of Japanese higher education. Through a review of the above, the presenter reports how many of these curricula cultivated a general literacy for critically reading the invisible social phenomena and how many of these subjects led students to the horizon of thought to deliver the ‘yet to be thought (Bernstein, 1996)’ in this new era of digital capitalism. In other words, the presenter measures the balance between a literacy that limits itself to mastering or acquiring certain skills or knowledge to follow the instructor’s intention and a literacy enabling critical reading that can bring the opportunity to provide an ‘alternative (Ibid).’ Pursuing this series of questions can shed light on how we can use university education as an apparatus to cultivate new literacy that cannot be replaced by artificial intelligence.
The presenter chose nonspecialized education because, depending on the social situation, it has been historically vulnerable and has become a target of reformation (Ishida, 2020). Turning that around, in nonspecialized education’s content, the presenter believes that portions of reformation or the distance between the university and society in that era tend to appear, instead of fields comparatively restrained by academic discipline (Ibid). Additionally, non-specialized curricula’s dismantling and reformation overlap myriad discussions about the function of the university itself, especially as the apparatus of a “medium” to transmit proper behavior and establish a sophisticated disposition (Ibid).
It is no exaggeration to say that literacy interpretation has always been affected by the properties of tools and media. The presenter shows what curricula have been that correspond to changes in the communication environment changes and how literacy in the broad sense and the narrower sense of information literacy have changed historically point of view. The presenter places a special focus on how technology has shaken the inflexible structure of Japanese higher education.
This presentation uses the following resources.
- Reports of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) from 1945 to the present. The report “Grand Design for Higher Education toward 2040” by the Central Education Council in particular provided vital information.
- Academic discussions of university reforms, especially in relation to non-specialized curriculum that referred to ideas of literacy, competency, and skill, especially in the context of the idea of Society 5.0.
- Data from university homepages stating curricular policies and providing examples of embodied practices.
In qualitative analyses of the resources above, the presenter clarifies the discrepancies among government policy, academic discussion, and the actual practice of instruction in universities. The qualitative analysis enabled the presenter to consider how the meaning of literacy has changed under the logic of digital capitalism and how Japanese higher education has worked to domesticate it.
Documentación de apoyo a la presentación ONLINE de la ponencia