Tokyo Tech News

President Mishima at the Global University Summit


Published: May 30, 2013

Yoshinao Mishima, President of Tokyo Institute of Technology is now attending the Global University Summit held in London, UK.
The Global University Summit has taken place every year since 2008. This year the Summit's theme is 'universities and economic growth'.

Following the Welcome Reception held on May 28, addresses and discussions were held on the second day. President Mishima was a lead discussant at the session "Growth through technology" and discussed the development of online study and its impact on traditional models of teaching and knowledge dissemination with discussants from other countries.

2013 Global University Summit website:

President Mishima speaking as a lead discussant

Speech by President Mishima

With the globalization of economic activities together with rapid development of information technologies, on-line education for various purposes has been developing with a tremendous speed all over the world. The form of on-line education focused on higher education, MOOCs, have gained millions of students so far although there remain many problems to be solved or improved such as qualification on credit approval, propriety of tuition fees, and the need for tuning the education skills of teachers.

The utilization of presently existing MOOCs by higher education in Japan has been slow as compared typically with the United States. One reason may come from the inability in English skills of young students and also a general tendency of a passive attitude of students for learning in college and universities. Japanese universities are currently asked by the government to improve the quality of education to the world-class level to overcome these deficits, and the methods of utilizing MOOCs will become more and more important as both effective tools for education and for the management of universities.

Tokyo Institute of Technology has been well-known for its hands-on education and university-industry collaboration in its more than 130 year history. As the top science and technology university in Japan, we have placed high value on face-to-face education such as through project based learning and research based education in the professor's laboratory. In order to further strengthen these methods, it is important for students to experience open innovations created on campus to solve practical projects proposed by industry. An example of such an open innovation at Tokyo Tech is described on page 17 as a case study of the Growth through Technology session. The case study introduces the success story by a pharmaceutical company in developing a new medicine for dengue fever using our world greenest supercomputer, TSUBAME 2.0. Similar open innovations are expected at our new research institute in the Energy, Environmental Innovation building, equipped with 5000 solar panels and fuel cells to supply self-sustaining electricity.

MOOCs and face-to-face education are not in opposition, but will play complementary roles at universities in the future. It is therefore essential for university management to properly assign the role of each tool to establish the most effective educational output.