The Founding Principles of Kanazawa Institute of Technology
According to the Japanese School Education Act, the aims of universities, as centers for academic activity, are to help develop intelligence, morality and practical skills through the teaching and research of specialized arts and sciences, as well as to bestow knowledge. Colleges of technology (kosen) aim to foster the capabilities necessary for actual professions through the teaching of specialized arts and sciences.
John F. Kennedy made a speech entitled “A Strategy of Peace” at the commencement ceremony of American University on June 10, 1963, a speech which is said to be historically famous comparable to the Gettysburg Address given by Abraham Lincoln. In this speech, he spoke of the mission of universities, drawing upon elegant words, saying that “there are few earthly things more beautiful than a university”, because it is a place “where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see.”
The School Education Act defines the mission of universities theoretically and former president Kennedy defines it in a highbrow tone. Indeed, universities are centers of academic activity, where high-level education and innovative research activities are carried out, aiming to contribute to national and international progress in science and technology and the enhancement of international culture. Colleges of technology aim to produce excellent engineers who will play a prominent role in the further development of Japanese industry.
The Principle of Education
As advocated by the philosopher Fichte, the purpose of general education is to cultivate human beings as themselves, each as his true self. In addition, educator Paul Natorp says that education is the act of cultivating character, meaning the formation of personality.
KIT has three main missions: the cultivation of character, academic research and occupational education. Although these three missions each have important significance, we focus on the cultivation of character as our ultimate mission. In short, although character can be formed through academic research and occupational education, the latter cannot be accomplished without character cultivation. Therefore, we are positive that the true nature of our mission is to be a place that produces highly intelligent people possessing deep cultural refinement.
Considering the above, we regard our school as a setting for the cultivation of character. Student life consists not only of classrooms, laboratories and libraries, but all aspects of life including cultural activities, physical exercise, guidance in dormitory life, health facilities, hygiene management, counseling for school life, job placement, etc.
The Ethics of the School Community
Cultivation of character is the most important mission for both public and private schools. In private schools especially, we must appreciate that not only professors but also board members and school staff are involved in education. Accordingly, our school community, consisting of board members, school staff and students as a trinity, must become a place for the cultivation of character and a seedbed for the nurture of citizens suitable for the democratic society of Japan.
Although they are subject to the Private School Act and have to abide certain rules, private schools enjoy a degree of freedom compared to public schools that are regulated by complicated rules and subject to bureaucratic control. In the prewar era, the government supervised and controlled private schools strictly. However, private schools have established distinctive traditions and solid school cultures in spite of this strict control.
While every private school faces many challenges in management planning and finance, they continue to maintain their pride because they enjoy a position of freedom. Our school has set a goal of innovative academy-industry partnership, a policy that makes us a forerunner in the technological age. Our board of directors aims to establish a noble academic tradition through various activities, freely demonstrating our strengths as a private school in order to accomplish our policies of “cultivation of high character”, “deep technical innovation” and “superb academic-industrial cooperation” with the full support of our school’s staff and students.
There are many private schools built through the founders’ personality and insight. They have strengthened themselves by weathering hardships over long periods of time, and are proud of their traditions and school cultures. For example, we can see Okuma’s spirit and intentions in Waseda University, Fukuzawa’s in Keio University and Niijima’s in Doshisha University. KIT must also establish a style based on our school’s principles stated here that sets an example as a model worthy of veneration in Japanese academic circles.
Path to Glory
Following World War II, Japan’s amazing economic development far surpassed that of West Germany, which also came following war defeat. This great success can be attributed to a combination of Japanese wisdom, technology and diligence.
With this great national strength as a backbone, our school plays a central role as a technical base and academic foundation for regional development in Ishikawa Prefecture, the Hokuriku region, Chubu region and the coastal area along the Sea of Japan. We are also responsible for producing the leading engineers and top class managers that are required for Japanese industry to be competitive in the world market.
Learning from the school management principles of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said to be the “sacred ground” of modern American science and technology, we will realize our ambition of becoming a first-class university boasting the highest standards, from space development to industrial sociology, and provide great honor to the academic world of democratic Japan. In order to accomplish this national mission, we will devote ourselves by combining all of our capabilities with cooperative might and determination.