by Noriyuki Morimoto
If the function of a university is to supply human resources to society, the university’s customers are not students, but the society that needs human resources. If so, the students are products to be supplied, and the mission of the university is to deliver excellent products to society.
If a university strengthens its relationship with society and offers an environment where its students can have a better grasp on what the society needs, it will ultimately enable students to choose their profession efficiently. Efficiency here means maximal alignment of students’ wishes with needs of society.
Education based on the students’ point of view cannot accurately meet the demands of society and, in the end, does not benefit the students. If university education is positioned as a preparatory stage for students to participate in society, it means that education from the perspective of society is also in the interests of students. Universities must be a place to create added value by efficiently matching students’ desire for their careers with the demand for human resources in society.
Society, including industries, seeks human resources, and universities supply them. Rather than being an organization comprising faculty and staff, universities have to be an open market in which students, faculty and staff organizations, and the entire society seeking human resources participate. This is reflected in the economic structure of the university. Universities earn income not only from tuition fees, but also from various funds flowing in from the whole society seeking human resources.
Tuition fees account for only a small portion of income at national universities, and large amounts of tax money are provided to them. Private universities are also subsidized by tax money. This input of tax money cannot be justified without the university’s social function of developing human resources based on social demand. Neither the act of the university soliciting donations from society nor the funding related to joint research, contracted research, and outsourced business from industries make sense without the premise of the role universities play for the wider society.
The demand for human resources in industries is diversifying in quality while being relatively declining in quantity. As the number of students declines demographically, universities that cannot respond quickly to changes in demand in the industrial world have no choice but to be eliminated.
Chief Executive Officer, HC Asset Management Co.,Ltd. Noriyuki Morimoto founded HC Asset Management in November 2002. As a pioneer investment consultant in Japan, he established the investment consulting business of Watson Wyatt K.K. (now Willis Towers Watson) in 1990.