On July 7th, GTI (Global Technology Initiative) Consortium*, which Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT) represents the executive office, and PIITs（Project Indian Institute of Technologies)** hosted the Cross-cultural PBL.
PIITs is an organization that provides a program for 3rd year students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to experience work in Japan for 2 months as a career course after graduation. Willings Inc. and Tonichi Printing Co. are assigned as the executive office of PIITs.
This program aims to discuss social issues of Japan, identify its problems and propose solutions with students from IIT, students from GTI Consortium member universities and members from private enterprises. Besides SIT members, 35 students from Utsunomiya University, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo Woman's Christian University, Tokyo City University, Tokyo University of Science, Doshisha University and University of Toronto also attended the program.
By actively interacting with varying experiences and knowledge, this program helps to cultivate the students’ ability to express their own opinions and thoughts, understand and consolidate opinions of group members and derive conclusion. In addition, it provides an opportunity for university students to interact with foreign students and working professionals.
The main topic for discussion this year was “Work-Style Reform”. Participants were asked to discuss and propose a solution towards domestic and foreign perspectives about the Japanese way of working and rising issues concerning the increasing number of foreign workers.
The program started with an orientation session, in which SIT faculty lectured about Japanese societal issues relating to the “Work-Style Reform”, such as declining birthrate, increase of aging population and working environments in Japan, while comparing the population pyramid of India and Japan. Participants were assigned into 6 groups to prepare for the final presentation. Presentations were evaluated by other groups and also by the members from the sponsored companies following 4 criteria (cooperation, member responsibility, research and presentation) and the winner was awarded at the end of the day.
The highest evaluation was given to the group which proposed the ideas under the title "My Japan -Young at Heart 'Let's Make It!'", proposing improved taxation scheme for working women and plans for lifting economic strain for foreign workers.
Other shared ideas included:
- focus on quality, not on quantity of work
- improved taxation scheme for families with children
- improved childcare subsidy system
- cheaper mandatory education
- shifting focus of English educational programs to conversational skills
- introducing English as a second language immediately after elementary school