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Is the expansion of higher education in Japan for young students only or for all? A critical analysis from a lifelong learning perspective

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The recent restructuring of higher education in Japan has been carried out in the context of neo-liberalism with an emphasis on the unbridled workings of market forces. However, civic discourse on issues such as active citizenship and social inclusion/exclusion, which is significant to higher education as a democratic public sphere, has been left behind. Focusing on this omission, this article aims at a critical analysis of the government expansion policy initiative in Japan. It includes discussion of a wide-ranging group of participants, in particular adults who are disadvantaged with regard to access to higher education in a knowledge-based society, from the point of view of lifelong learning. It is a very important subject in Japan to encourage the active participation of adults in higher education. Regarding this aspect, the article discusses significant points for building new concepts and systems in higher education, instead of the established traditional concepts and systems, which have contributed to the exclusion of adults from higher education.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Shokei Gakuin University, Japan

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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