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Home > Debates Last Updated: 14:31 03/09/2007
Debate: Comment (June 4, 2002)

Rejoinder to Professor Dore

Shumpei KUMON (Executive Director, GLOCOM)


Thank you very much for your comments. Here is my humble response to them.

1) To me, informatization is no hype. It is a long historical process of social change. If industrialization meant a long historical process of economic empowerment of people and organizations, informatization means their intellectual empowerment, extending hundreds of years to come.

2) As this process of overall intellectual empowerment unfolds, the form and substance of service industries will have to change accordingly. Higher education will be no exception.

3) Some fifty years ago, I chose to take the entrance exam to Todai because I believed it the place where best students gather. In fact, Todai to me was already a place more for learning than for education. I seldom attended lectures, spending most of my time in peer-to-peer interactions between student-activists and laborers in the Keihin industrial zone.

4) As for the attitude of today's high school students to Todai, I have no concrete data. Let me suggest that Miyao-san ask somebody at Kawai-juku, perhaps the best watchers of Japan's higher education, to comment on that.

5) President Rudenstine is proud of the research library system American universities created. That is what Japanese universities lack, among other things. Our librarians tend to be guardians of precious books. As a student (and also as a new faculty member) I was alienated by our library system. Today, I am extremely happy in that I can use the internet not only as a source of useful information and knowledge but also as a convenient means for ordering books online. That is something I definitely could not do ten years ago. I can bear witness to the fact that the joy of online book buying is far greater than visiting brick and mortar stores, particularly for a weak-sighted old man like me :-)

6) Doubtlessly, information revolution empowers dishonest plagiarists as well as honest researchers. However, life for future plagiarists will not be as easy as it used to be, because eventually the power of search engines will also be enhanced so that one can immediately identify the source of plagiarism.

Best wishes,

Shumpei Kumon

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