New Ability Invigorated by ICT and Changing Hegemony in Bringing Up Educated Humans: A Historical Reflection

Chiaki Ishida


The aim of this paper is to discuss the changing ideals of ability to be educated in relation to information and communication technology (ICT) applied to tertiary educational spaces. It also examines whether such changes have marginalized students’ capabilities once they become accepted institutional practice. As a result of the development of higher learning since the Meiji restoration, Japan has achieved relatively high standards of «universities for all». Along with this expansion in higher education, Japan has institutionalized diverse learning opportunities. This paper discusses the changes that have been made to skills training in higher education, especially after the introduction of ICT into tertiary learning from the 1980s. First, the author examines the theoretical assumptions of problem setting in this paper, setting out the discussion of «the multitude». Second, there is a review of the historical transition of the concept of skills that university students should acquire. Third, the author describes to what extent the «new concept of ability» has been introduced into the university curriculum, especially in the relationship with the digital environment. Finally, to examine how the above historical background and discussions have been accepted as an effective and practical concept, the author conducted qualitative analysis of several universities’ syllabi data. Through this process, the author considered what aspects of «institutionalized value» (Illich, 1977) occur in the name of skills appropriate to the ICT/AI age. In addition, the author seeks out university attempts to create «commons» in which academic society endeavours to maintain critical and practical potential that forms the general intellect.


Higher Education; Non-specialized Education; Information Communication Technology; New Concept of Ability; Cognitive Capitalism; The multitude; Commons

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