Asia Pacific Education Review

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 89–97 | Cite as

The search for a new role of liberal education in an age of globalization: the challenge of transferable skills to liberal knowledge at Japanese colleges and universities

  • Misao HayakawaEmail author


One of the tasks facing Japanese colleges and universities is to implement a continuum of effective educational programs in order to properly respond to the impact of globalization. Effective university educational programs are needed to construct a new higher education system for nurturing transferable learning skills and cultivating hope for the future among our youth. First, the present tasks of Japan’s just and caring society in an age of globalization are discussed in relation to the changing mission and role of our higher education. Second, the nature of liberal knowledge required in an age of uncertainty and polarization is examined with regard to the changing roles of undergraduate and graduate education and the drifting lifestyle of the Japanese. Third, the role of the generative and transferable type of knowledge and skills is explored with specific reference to John Dewey’s theory of reflective inquiry in precarious situations. The need for cultivating the mindset of “collaborative inquiry” is also emphasized for the education of hope among our youth. The purpose of this article is to propose that the search for the generative and transferable type of learning and inquiry in higher education will lay a foundation for preparing our youth for the challenges of the knowledge society and participating in the construction of a new type of just and caring community in our country.


Liberal education Transferability Reflection Cooperative intelligence Active intuition Depth of mind 


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Copyright information

© Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Education and Human DevelopmentNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

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