- I’m thinking of entering graduate school, but I’m concerned about job prospects after I graduate. What career paths have graduates of this course followed?
The situation varies a little between the Social Education Laboratory and the Library and Information Science Laboratory. Graduates of the Social Education Laboratory most commonly obtain positions in universities and research institutions. Within the field of social education, ** students research a broad range of topics/each student researches a broad range of topics,** so graduates are increasingly being hired not only in the field of social education as such, but also in fields of study as diverse as labor issues, the environment, welfare and culture. Among students currently enrolled in the course, as well as those researching social education as an administrative field, there are also an increasing number investigating areas such as the slow food movement, the LOHAS (lifestyles of health and sustainability) sector, education of children outside schools, the creation of pictures and lectures as popular education media, distance education, education of the aged, and town planning. Applying these kinds of specialist knowledge, some graduates are engaged in educational activities in NPOs and NGOs. In the field of library and information science, some graduates have obtained positions in universities offering librarianship courses, others have been hired to work in undergraduate schools of information and communication, and still others (after obtaining a Master’s degree) have been employed in university and public libraries, or in media and publishing. Regardless of the field, some of our graduates have had to work on a contract basis before obtaining permanent positions, but overall, for a graduate school in the field of humanities, employment prospects for graduates are currently good.
- I have heard that it is difficult to obtain a PhD from Tokyo University’s Graduate School of Education as the requirements are very demanding. Is that the case?
Until recently, it was difficult to obtain a PhD in any area of the humanities at Japanese universities. Recently, however, so long as students apply themselves, it has become possible to obtain a PhD in three to five years, and this is also the case in the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Education. In the Lifelong Learning Infrastructure Management course, the number of graduates obtaining their doctorates in three to five years is increasing. Over the past two years, course faculty have strengthened and improved the system for supervising students’ dissertation writing, and although results naturally depend on individual effort, we anticipate that the path to obtaining a PhD will become even smoother in the following years.
- I currently work at a library/community center, but am thinking of entering graduate school. Is there any benefit in doing graduate study if I return to my current workplace after graduating, as I plan to do?
Taking work in a library as an example, whether or not graduate study is worthwhile depends on what you hope to gain by undertaking it. Many changes are taking place at libraries at present, with advances in electronic information distribution and the introduction of designated manager systems. If you would like to look at the day-to-day work of libraries from a broader perspective, familiarize yourself with concepts, ideas and ways of thinking to help improve libraries, and gain management knowhow, graduate study definitely has a lot to offer you. On the other hand, we do not offer courses in particular skills related to the day-to-day operation of libraries (such as, for example, cataloging), so if your aim is to undertake training in the narrow sense, this course is not for you.
- My background is in science, but I would like to undertake research with more of a connection to social issues. Would it be difficult for someone with my background to pass the entrance exam, and to keep up with the work if accepted into the course?
There are specialized subjects in the entrance exam, so you would need to study in preparation for these. It is also necessary to pass an English exam. However, if you prepare for these exams conscientiously, having a science background should not present serious difficulties. You may need to do additional study after entering the course in order to obtain background knowledge in particular areas, but if you study and conduct your research seriously, you should not encounter any major difficulties.
- What computer facilities do you provide?
As a rule, a computer is made available for each graduate student. In the Library and Information Science Laboratory, most of the computers run on the Mac or Linux (Ubuntu/Debian, etc) operating systems and there are also many Windows machines. In the Social Education Laboratory, most of the computers run on the Windows operating system. The network environment and peripheral equipment such as printers are very good for laboratories in the field of humanities.
- You say that the course emphasizes links with society at large. What practical activities are the course teaching staff actually involved in?
The particular projects that staff are involved in naturally change over time, but in 2008 staff members were engaged in the following activities. Atsushi Makino pursued three main areas of work. Firstly, he carried out interdisciplinary work combining the fields of social education and gerontology, creating, with the cooperation of the University of Tokyo’s Gerontology Organization (currently a privately supported research program within the University that is funded by endowments, and that will begin operation as a separate organization in 2009) and local governments, a new model to deal with the aging of society and depopulation. He will begin work testing the model from 2009 with some local governments/a local government. Graduate students participated in the surveys and research carried out as part of this work, and in so doing improved their survey skills. Secondly, he carried out joint research activities with international researchers from the East Asian region (in Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan) on the situation of societies with aging populations and low birth rates and possible new types of communities to deal with the problems these societies face. Thirdly, he carried out fieldwork investigating community education in the East Asian region, particularly community institutes in China and community colleges in Taiwan. He is also engaged in various other activities, including those related to the question of historical consciousness in the East Asian region. As well as serving as president of the Chiyoda Ward Library Council, a member of the Nara Prefectural Library and Information Center Management Committee, and an advisor to Iwaki City Library, among others, Akira Nemoto spoke before and carried out various activities in the Japan Library Association, the Japan School Library Association, the National Diet Library, and boards of education and libraries throughout the country/in various parts of the country, and made active use of the social network he has developed as a result of these activities in his research and teaching. Based on a conception of how information transmission and distribution may evolve in future along with changes in the information media environment, and in order to develop a model of new media networks providing information in multiple languages, Kyo Kageura constructed an information environment designed to meet the needs of online translators and facilitated its actual use among target users. This practical work assisted the translation activities and information transmission activities of individual volunteer translators and NGOs/NPOs, such as the Global Voices translation team and translators working with the group Tea Not War. He also carried out sort of action research by teaching the theory of translation and how to read English NPO materials at a free school.
- In which academic societies and technical communities are teaching staff carrying out research activities?
At the domestic level, the strongest connections teaching staff have with academic societies are with the Japan Society of Library and Information Science, the Japan Society for the Study of Adult and Community Education, and the Japan Association of Lifelong Education. Akira Nemoto is currently (as of 2008) president of the Japan Society of Library and Information Science, and is also active in the Mita Society for Library and Information Science. Atsushi Makino serves on the editorial committee of the Japanese Educational Research Association’s journal, and heads the steering committee for the Society’s 68th annual conference, to be held at the University of Tokyo in 2009. He also serves as national committee member of the Japan Society for the Study of Adult and Community Education, and is a member of the editorial committee for the Society’s annual report. In order to carry out research into history, China, and relations with Asia, among others, he is also active in the Japan Society for Studies on Asian Education and the Japan Society for the Historical Studies of Education. In the Japan Society for Studies on Asian Education he serves as a board member and heads the editorial committee responsible for the Society’s journal. In the Japan Society for the Historical Studies of Education, he is a member of the editorial committee responsible for the Society’s journal. In addition, he is also a member of the Japan Comparative Education Society and the Japan Association for Modern China Studies. As a result of dealing with the relations between information media and language, Kyo Kageura is active and has served on the boards not only of the Japan Society of Library and Information Science, but also the Mathematical Linguistic Society of Japan, and the Natural Language Processing Society of Japan. At the international level, in the field of library and information science, teaching staff have presented their work at conferences of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the American Library Association, and at conferences of the American Society for Information Science and Technology and in its journal, Information Processing and Management. They also regularly participate in/present their work before international conferences such as the Asia-Pacific Conference on Library and Information Education and Practice (A-LIEP). Due to the fact that his work overlaps with the fields of language and information, Kyo Kageura has served on the board of the International Quantitative Linguistic Association, and is a co-editor of the journal Terminology and the research book series “Terminology and Lexicography: Research and Practice”. He is also active in conferences devoted to computational linguistics (COLING, ACL, etc). In the field of social education and lifelong learning, Atsushi Makino is active in academic societies dealing with education and historical studies of education that focus mainly on East Asia. In particular, he is invited to Taiwan every year to attend the International Forum on Promotion and Practice of Elder Education held by National Chung Cheng University’s Graduate Institute of Elder Education.
- Are any of the classes conducted in English?
At present, classes in the Graduate School of Education are taught in Japanese. However, interns on medium-term stays and visiting foreign students can be provided with guidance in English for their research when necessary.