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April 01, 2009

OECD head recommends abolishing university faculty system

41187289van%20damme.JPGDirk Van Damme, the head of the OECD's Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, was highly critical of university 'conservatism' at a European Policy Centre debate and had particularly harsh words for Japanese universities. He argued that traditional university faculties are standing in the way of progress.

He advocated abolishing university faculties saying that 'faculties are the most conservative bulwarks against change', and proposed moving to a trans-disciplinary approach because 'most of the interesting things happen on the boundaries of the discipline.'

He stressed that it is time for European universities to reform and reinvent themselves, but said that the problem is even worse in Japan. He thinks that 'compared to Japan and even China, European schools are much more innovative. Japan teaches hierarchy and respect, whereas European schools teach us to challenge convention.'

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