The Aug. 3 editorial “More students opt for fifth year” gave me a chance to ponder the flexibility of university-level education in our society. In colleges and universities, generally speaking, there are too many required subjects for students, and students have to take so many credits to graduate. Colleges and universities are not grade schools; students could grow and learn more for sure by concentrating on fewer, more carefully selected subjects. Shouldn’t such flexibility be required?
Even when students complete nearly all the credits for graduation by the end of their third year, they cannot graduate, because four years is the unchangeable rule. Some flexibility should be allowed for graduating in three years as well as five years. Would this kind of flexibility cause big social problems for schools and society? Obviously not.
Another problem is that teachers in colleges and universities are too busy to provide university-level education for each student. There are not enough teachers.
So, if some students opt for a fifth year to search for a better job, and if that extra year leads to the development of crucial self-improvement skills, such flexibility would be fruitful for the future of students.
Colleges and universities should be special places of learning, not only for young people but also for anyone, including retired people. My hope is that such flexibility, once it starts in the colleges and universities, will help create a more flexible society eventually.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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