ENTREPRENEURIAL UNIVERSITIES: GOVERNANCE, MANAGEMENT LEADERSHIP, AND FUNDING

 

The Formulation of Neo-liberal Policies in the English and Japanese Higher Education Systems

Keiko K Yokoyama

Research Institute for Higher Education

Hiroshima University

 

Abstract

The study examines the formulation of neo-liberal policies in England and Japan in the last decade. The study argues that neo-liberalism does not determine a single pattern of policy formulation, since a different political culture has shaped the particular policy-making structure in the two countries. In England, a different value regarding the methodology of the application of neo-liberalism rather than the principle of neo-liberalism between individual influential stakeholders within the central authorities and the research intensive pre-1992 universities shapes the neo-liberal policy-making structure. In Japan, conflict and compromise between neo-liberal and anti-neo-liberal groups shape the structure of neo-liberal policy-making.
The study took case studies: The Future of Higher Education (2003) in England, and A New Image of National University Corporations (2002) in Japan. The study applied the following qualitative method for data collection: (i) documentation; and (ii) semi-structured interviews with selected stakeholders involved in the two higher education systems.

Introduction

The definition of neo-liberalism is not clear, in which the power balance between the state and the market is not definite.  The ambiguity of the definition on neo-liberalism allows multiple interpretations of it.  Neo-liberalism theoretically has two implications for policy-making structure.  The first is the empowerment of consumers, in particular students and employers.  The second is arguably the empowerment of central authorities, since neo-liberalism emphasises not only market forces but also state power.  Neo-liberalism, together with the expansion of higher education, might have an implication for the number of stakeholders. 

            There is no evidence that the application of neo-liberal policy to higher education brings about a single form of policy-making across the higher education systems.  It can be assumed that the form of policy-making, to a significant degree, relies upon a different political culture and climate. 

            Putting the idea of neo-liberalism into context, neo-liberal discourse and policy are commonly observed in the English and Japanese higher education systems in the 1990s and 2000s.  However, the interpretation and practice of neo-liberalism differ between the two, which might be related to the different political culture and climate.  In England, the New Labour Government’s neo-liberal policy in the context of higher education can be characterised by the following: (1) the increase of market forces; (2) the increase in state steering of higher education; and (3) the compatibility between neo-liberalism and social justice (Yokoyama, 2003).  It can be assumed that the implication of these characteristics for stakeholders and the policy network is not straightforward.  Firstly, the New Labour Government has applied market-oriented policy by strengthening the consumer’s power through the introduction of student tuition fees in 1997, and the introduction of proposed the differentiation of tuition fees by institutions from 2006 onwards. 

            Secondly, government regulation of higher education has continued in the areas of funding and quality through funding allocation and teaching and research assessments, a contract between the government, the funding councils, and individual institutions on the basis of a ‘Financial Memorandum’, and a link between the result of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and the research funding allocation to the institutions.   

            Thirdly, neo-liberal policy and social justice are not antithetical in England.  The empirical evidence for compatibility between the two concepts includes the exemption from an annual tuition fee for students from lower income families, special funds which attempt to widen access to the universities, and the access regulator, the Office for Fair Access (OFFA).   

            In Japan, government neo-liberal policy has been based upon the party consensus on neo-liberal strategies from the mid-1990s onwards, as evidenced by the New Party Platform of the LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) – a ruling party – which was enacted in 1995.  The New Party Platform incorporates the New Right values of ‘smaller government’ and deregulation, and concomitantly, the conservative value of respect for tradition: 

 

In order to lessen the government’s burden on the public we aim to establish smaller government by resolutely carrying out administrative reform, deregulation and federal decentralization… With respect for our traditional culture we aim to teach morals to Japanese youth so as to realize a higher quality of education and an enriched family life for Japan’s citizens (LDP, 1995).

           

            The government’s neo-liberal policy in the context of higher education can be characterised by the following: (1) the increase of market forces; (2) the continuity of the steering of the MECSST (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology) on higher education and a greater latitude to individual universities; and (3) the gap between the governments’ neo-liberal discourse and their practice.  The second and third characteristics imply the MECSST’s influence on the governments’ neo-liberal policy-making.  Firstly, the government’s emphasise on the ‘principle of competition’ (kyouzo no genri), providing project-based research grants selectively since the 1980s, and encouraging the increase of external funding not only to private universities but also to national university corporations since 2004.

            Secondly, the Ministerial jurisdiction has not substantially declined in the higher education sector, despite the government’s deregulation policy.  On the contrary, the regulation of the MECSST has increased in the area of evaluation since the 2000s.  Concomitantly, an official publication indicates the governments’ encouragement for a greater latitude of individual universities.

            Thirdly, the government’s discourses have included radical neo-liberal terms such as ‘privatisation’, ‘deregulation’, and ‘small government’.  The government’s neo-liberal practice has, however, been rather moderate in the higher education sector, with only partial deregulation in the area of curriculum and course setting, the maintenance of Ministerial jurisdiction, and the withdrawal of the idea of the ‘privatisation’ of national universities, but a more moderate reform – the ‘corporatisation’ of those universities. 

            These different characteristics of the governments’ neo-liberal policies in England and Japan might be related to the different values of the stakeholders and the policy network.     This study examines the governments’ neo-liberal policy-making.  It focuses upon neo-liberal policy formulation rather than policy implementation and evaluation.  The purpose of the study is to identify the similarities and differences in neo-liberal policy formation in the English and Japanese higher education systems, and to explain these similarities and differences in the political context.  The paper addresses two research questions:

 

(i) What are the similarities and differences in the governments’ neo-liberal policy formation in England and Japan?

(ii) What are the causes of the similarities and differences identified in (i)?

 

These differences fall into five main focus areas: who are included and excluded in the process of the governments’ neo-liberal policy-making; how a particular neo-liberal policy is developed; which values and discourses in neo-liberal doctrine predominate; whose interpretation is valid and most influential; if neo-liberal doctrine has changed or empowered particular stakeholders such as consumers (e.g. students and economic interest groups).  The study takes in-depth case studies.  The study treats England – rather than the UK – as a unit to be analysed because of differences in the higher education systems of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

            The structure of the paper follows: theoretical underpinning; the method of the study; the result of analysis; and conclusion. 

 

Theoretical Underpinning

T

he formulation of the governments’ neo-liberal policy is not straightforward because of intricate informal and formal interaction between the stakeholders, which changes for different issues and time periods.  It can be assumed that the number of influential stakeholders, and involved and excluded stakeholders, are contextual and contingent.

            Nevertheless, a broad pattern for the policy formulation could be observed in England and Japan.  In both countries, the pluralist model could be applied, but in a different way.  In England, the applicability of a professional and elite decision-making model in the contemporary context is, as Maurice Kogan and Stephen Hanney (2000) argue, limited, because of the government’s top-down non-participative and non-consultative policy-making, the creation of new elites as a result of the expansion of the universities, and elite fragmentation. 

            The pluralistic policy formulation is based upon individual influential stakeholders within central authorities and research driven pre-1992 universities, in which the influence of central administration is limited.  The study refers the English model of policy formulation to pluralistic political and academic elite models.  The influential stakeholders include the Secretaries of State, the Vice-Chancellors, and a Chief Executive of the HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England).  The consumers, such as the students or the student union, are not usually incorporated in neo-liberal policy formulation.  The collective bodies of employers, such as the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) as well as individual employers, can be linked to political parties, central administration, the funding councils, and the universities (Yokoyama, 2003).  Such employers’ bodies, as pressure groups and partners in the public sector, attempt to influence the university sector.  However, the extent of the CBI’s influence in the university sector is not entirely clear.

            It is not simple to identify the power and the influence of the education department; there are not enough indicators to identify the exact power of the DfES (Department for Education and Skills).  John Fletcher (1995) argues that the diffusion of educational responsibilities across government departments prevented the DES (Department of Education and Science) [a precursor of DfES (1964-1992)] and the DfE (Department for Education) [a precursor of DfES (1992-1995)] from controlling the policy-making and implementation process.  His argument implies the limitations of the power of bureaucracy.  Kogan and Hanney (2000) deny the ultimate influence of central administration in the higher education system, pointing out the absence of evidence that the department did not even achieve a departmental consensus in terms of economic related value.   

            The study supports Fletcher’s, and Kogan, and Hanney’s argument, although it concomitantly admits the influence of the Special Advisors of the DfES, who tend to have informal relationships with those from the HFECE, the universities, and the Treasury.  The study identifies inter and intra staff mobility in the DfES, and the central administration’s lack of a funding allocation mechanism.  

            In Japan, the particular pattern of neo-liberal policy formulation in the contemporary context can be conceptualised by applying the pluralistic model, rather than the power-elite model.  The power-elite model emphasises three influential stakeholders – the LDP, central administration, and economic interest groups.  The model was frequently applied in policy-making analysis until the 1970s.  There are two difficulties in applying the power-elite model in neo-liberal policy formulation observed in the 1990s and 2000s.  The first difficulty is that the power-elite model cannot explain the conflict within the central authorities, in particular between the LDP and central administration.  The second difficulty is that the power-elite model does not give attention to the role of bunkyo-zoku, which is unofficial cliques composed of LDP Members of Parliament sharing an interest in education, typically composed of those MPs having served in posts in the Policy Affairs Research Council (Seimu Chosakai or Seichokai), a policy review organ in the LDP.  Bunkyo-zoku became influential in the 1970s, having a policy network within the MECSST (Schoppa, 1991).

            The pluralistic policy formulation in Japan is based upon the significant power of the central administration, conflict within the central authorities over the application of neo-liberal policy to higher education, hierarchical relationships between the central administration and the universities, and the significant roles of bunkyo-zoku and economic interest groups.  The study refers the Japanese model of neo-liberal policy formulation to the bureau-centred pluralistic model.  The power of consumers, of students and of student unions, is limited in the model (two interviewees).

            The power of central administration is significant, not only as a key player in playing an administrative role at the stages of both policy formulation and implementation and in providing public funding to the universities, but also in conducting informal political negotiations with the political parties, through personal networks and zoku-giin.  The power of bunkyo-zoku continues since the creation of zoku-giin in the 1970s, according to some commentaries and MPs.  The collective bodies of employers are involved in the decision-making process, by accessing political parties and the MECSST and becoming committee members of the University Council (Yokoyama, 2003).  They are, in Schoppa’s terms (1990), ‘incorporated external actors’ in the education policy-making structure.   

                      

Method

T

he study applied case studies to examine the formulation of neo-liberal policy.  The reason for the application of case studies relied upon the claim that the case study is, as Robert Yin argues, appropriate to answer ‘how’ or ‘why’ propositions, and to analyse a contemporary phenomenon (1989, pp. 13-26).  The study employed the following cases because of the tangibles of the political struggle: the forthcoming introduction of top-up fees in England (2006), and the corporatisation of national universities (2004) in Japan. 

            The study applied the following qualitative method for data collection: (i) documentation; and (ii) semi-structured interviews with selected stakeholders involved in the two higher education systems.  These particular methods were chosen because it allowed identification of the value and political stances of the individual stakeholders.  Method (ii) was selected in order to obtain data on the process of policy-making, which was not available in documentation.

 

 (i) Documentation

Documentation included position papers, the Government’s White Paper, official documents, and newspapers, which were related to the British New Labour Government’s neo-liberal policy and the Japanese Ministerial policy.   

            The study took two stages of data collection and analysis.  At the first stage, the study analysed the following two documents thoroughly, to identify the New Labour Government’s and the MECSST’s positions: the New Labour Government’s White Paper, The Future of Higher Education (2003) in England; and A New Image of National University Corporations (2002), which was produced by a Study Team Concerning the Transformation of National Universities into Independent Administrative Corporations in Japan.  These policy texts were treated as the representation of neo-liberal policy and the outcome of the struggle and compromise between incorporated stakeholders in the policy formulation of the New Labour Government and the MECSST. 

            At the second stage, the study collected and analysed selected stakeholders’ position papers which were related to two cases of the above.  The purpose at this stage was to identify the value and stances of particular stakeholders which were incorporated or excluded in the formulation of the governments’ and the ministries’ neo-liberal policies.  Documentary analysis was based upon the examination of language, change in the use of language, argument, and logic.  Analytical schemas of language, and change in language included the identification of:

 

Š      the repetition of key words and phrases

Š      prominent and detailed concepts and logic

Š      patterns of variation within and between text(s) (e.g. to reconcile counter alternatives, and to shift language forms)

Š      the absence of concepts or discourses

Š      omissions and disconnections.

 

            Documentation and documentary analysis were, furthermore, used for coding particular concepts for the analysis of semi-structured interviews.  These were based upon a constant comparison of the data in which categories were elicited and relationships among categories sought.  The documentary analysis was useful to identify a particular stakeholder’s political stance in terms of neo-liberalism, and the change of its logic and policy stance during negotiations between stakeholders.

 

(ii) Semi-structured interviews

Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with stakeholders who were involved in the formulation of the British New Labour Government’s The Future of Higher Education, and the Japanese Government’s policy on the corporatisation of national universities.  The reason for the employment of semi-structured interviews was that it merited both induction and deduction from the propositions, avoiding empirical disorder and assertions derived from the pre-determination of conclusions.  The interview was useful for identifying the following points:

 

Š      The policy stance of particular stakeholders towards neo-liberalism

Š      The struggle of stakeholders who attempted to influence the logic and rationale in the aforementioned issues

Š      The emergent conflict and alliance within the policy network 

Š      Inclusion or exclusion of stakeholders in the process of policy-making.

  

            The total number of those interviewed for the study of policy formulation was 23 in two countries, which included MPs, civil servants in central administration, Vice-Chancellors / University Presidents, and those in a funding council, economic interest groups, and staff and student unions.  The principle of the selection of interviewees was related to the assumption that they were significant informants and observers for policy formulation, identified through official documents and informal conversation with higher education researchers and policymakers.  Data from mass media was not collected because of the practical difficulties in data collection and its analysis.

            The interview comprised a combination of open and closed questions, which allowed flexibility in research.  Both types of questions focused upon policy determination (or policy process) and policy content associated with neo-liberalism.  Analysis of policy determination and policy content are, according to Ian Gordon, Janet Lewis and Ken Young, significant in terms of analysis of policy (1993: 5).  The analysis of policy determination focuses upon the inputs and transformational processes operating upon the formulation of public policy.  The analysis of policy content tends to be descriptive, giving attention to the purpose and operation of specific policies. 

            Closed questions were formulated to examine the logic linking the data to the propositions, attempting to answer the following questions: 

 

Š      Whose values predominated? [Whose knowledge (belief, ideas, interpretations or ideologies) was being used?  Whose knowledge was not considered?  Who was included or excluded from the policy process?] 

Š      What values predominated? [What kind of knowledge did it claim to be?] 

Š      When did a given set of values predominate?  [When did knowledge come to be produced, propagated and used / abused or ignored?]

Š      How did a given set of values predominate?  [How was knowledge used in the policy process?  How was knowledge produced?] (Parsons, 1995: 54-57)

 

             

            For the analysis of interviews, some open-coding was done, once interviews had been transcribed.

   

Results of the Analysis

T

he higher education policy-making process is often made informally, contextually and contingently.  This study, acknowledging the nature of policy-making, analysed two particular examples of the governments’ neo-liberal higher education policy-making in England and Japan: the introduction of the differentiation of tuition fees by institutions in England; and the corporatisation of national universities in Japan.  Government proposal on top-up fees in the Future of Higher Education was partially compared with Higher Education in the Learning Society (the Dearing Report in 1997) by a National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, in order to clarify the nature of the White Paper.  The latter focused on not only on A New Image of National University Corporations per se, but also on the process of setting-up the Study Team between 1996 and 2002, since it could clarify conflict and compromise between stakeholders on the issue.     

 

England

 

The Future of Higher Education (2003), a Higher Education White Paper, was the New Labour Government’s higher education policy proposal, which emphasised a neo-liberal agenda by empowering consumers and strengthening state regulation in access and quality.  The status of the White Paper differed from Higher Education in the Learning Society, which was a consultative document to the New Labour Government.  The policy proposal in the White Paper, as one interviewee observed, was mainly made without consultation.  The rationale behind the government’s release of the White Paper was to develop a ‘sustainable funding regime with greater freedom for them to be able to access new funding streams on their own account’ (p. 19).  The discourses observed in the Future of Higher Education include the following: freedom; fair access; student choice; diversity; and widening participation.  The logic in the White Paper follows:

 

…individual universities should be able to secure increased contributions from their graduates to supplement the substantial support that they receive from the taxpayers, subject to firm limits to protect access and fairness.  Different courses and universities bring different benefits to graduates, and we think that it is right both that universities should get differential benefits, and that graduates should make differential contributions to reflect that (DfES, 2003: 20).

 

            Both the Future of Higher Education and the Dearing Report emphasised graduates’ contribution to the cost of higher education, as well as the national interest in higher education.  The difference of the Future of Higher Education from the Dearing Report relied upon the following characteristics of the White Paper: 1) radical neo-liberal proposals; 2) a narrow theme; 3) compatibility between neo-liberalism and social justice; and 4) emphasis on the diversity of the university system.  Firstly, the proposals in the White Paper were more radical than those of the Dearing Report, proposing the abolition of up-front fees, the introduction of top-up fees between 0 pounds and 3,000 pounds, and the introduction of an Access Regulator – which attempted to promote the access of non-traditional students by setting up an access agreement between each institution and the state.  In contrast, the Dearing Report offered the principle of the contributions of multiple stakeholders (e.g. government, students and their families, graduates in employment, and employers), examining the rate of return.

            Secondly, the Future of Higher Education proposed a more limited number of themes than the Dearing Report.  These themes in the White Paper included funding, access, and teaching and learning.  Thirdly, the White Paper related neo-liberalism to equity, linking the introduction of top-up fees to the Access Regulator mechanism, in which institutions are required to develop ‘Access Agreements’ with the state:

 

We do recognise, through, that a wholly unregulated variable fee scheme could pose dangers to access, with universities setting fee levels that some students simply could not afford.  Our challenge has been to combine the benefits of variable contributions while making certain that fair access is not threatened.  (DfES, 2003: 84)  

 

Fourthly, the White Paper emphasised the significance in the diversity of higher education institutions.

 

Included Stakeholders

The above analysis on value which dominated in the Future of Higher Education – such as the contribution of graduates in work to the cost of higher education, the diversity of higher education, and the differentiation of tuition fees by institutions – was useful to identify included and excluded stakeholders.  Stakeholders who were involved in policy-making structure followed: the Government (including the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, the Minister of State for Lifelong Learning and Higher Education, and the Secretary of State for Science and Innovation), the Department of Education and Skills, the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), the Treasury, the HEFCE, and four research-oriented universities – Imperial College London, Oxford University, Cambridge University, and University College London.  These stakeholders supported a market-oriented policy, sharing the idea of graduates’ contributions towards their higher education costs, and the introduction of differentiated tuition fees by institutions.  With the exception of four research-oriented universities, they concomitantly emphasised the general idea of social justice, attempting to establish a support system for non-traditional students. 

            The analysis of the interviews indicates that stakeholders included in the policy-making process took different stances in terms of the balance between the state and the market.  The stakeholders’ stances on the balance between the state and the market can be understood by locating them on a continuum.  The full control by the state is at one end of the continuum, while that by the market is at the other end.  The four universities – Imperial College London, Oxford University, Cambridge University, and University College London – could be located in a position near the market end.  They emphasised the consumer’s power in the higher education market, supporting the introduction of the differentiation of tuition fees without any ‘cap’ imposed by the state.  They objected to state involvement in access, the introduction of an Access Regulator.  The New Labour Government could be positioned closer to the state planning end than could these four universities.  It supported the introduction of the top-up fee, and the access regulator.  The Treasury, the DfEE, and the HEFCE could be positioned slightly nearer ‘the state’ than the positioning of the New Labour Government, taking a conservative attitude.  They supported the introduction of the top-up fee and the Access Regulator.  However, they were cautious about the further differentiation of tuition fees between institutions, supporting the ‘cap’ of a maximum of £3,000.  The position of the DTI on the introduction of top-up fees was not clear; the DTI emphasised the introduction of 6* in the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise), rather than the issue of funding.             

 

Excluded Stakeholders

 

Stakeholders who were excluded from the policy-making structure were: the Conservative Party, Research Councils (such as the Economic Social Research Council), the Quality Assurance Agency, the UUK (a collective body of Vice-Chancellors and Principals in the UK), modern post-1992 universities (a collective body of Vice-Chancellors of post-1992 universities), the 94 Group (a collective body of Vice-Chancellors of research intensive universities), the Confederation of British Industry, Teachers’ Unions [the NATFHE (National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education) and the AUT (Association of University Teachers)], NUS (National Union of Students), and the new universities.  These stakeholders did not take radical neo-liberal positions; they objected to, or at least did not support, the introduction of the differentiations of the tuition fees by institutions.  They supported social justice in principle, but not the Access Regulator.  The NUS was an exception, supporting the Access Regulator.  

            The analysis of the interviews indicates the political stance of excluded stakeholders.  The UUK, which was profoundly involved in setting up the Dearing Committee, did not reach a consensus within the organisation regarding top-up fees, according to the observations of two interviewees, although it expressed general acceptance of student payments without the significant degree of differentiation of tuition fees between institutions.  The Research Councils and the QAA did not take a strong political stance regarding graduates’ contribution to the issues of the costs of higher education and fair access. 

            The Russell Group – a collective body of Vice-Chancellors from research intensive pre-1992 universities – emphasised the differentiation of tuition fees among institutions and selectivity in research, but was not directly involved in the creation of the White Paper.  However, the influential members of the Russell group – Imperial College London, Oxford University, Cambridge University, and University College London – were involved in the policy formulation, as aforementioned. 

 

Neo-liberal Policy Formulation

There was general neo-liberal consensus between the main stakeholders in the English higher education system, supporting both state and market forces (Yokoyama, 2003).  Those stakeholders also support the general principle of social justice.  The chief differences in policy stance between the main stakeholders did not rely upon the application of the principle of neo-liberalism in higher education, but of the practice.  The example of the different views in the practice of neo-liberalism included the differentiation of tuition fees, the level of the cap for the top-up fee, and the methodology to incorporate social justice, rather than ‘who contributes the costs of higher education’, which was a main point in the Dearing Report.  Such differences formulated the conflict and alliance with the policy network.

            The analysis of the inclusion and exclusion of stakeholders in the policy formulation suggests the particular pattern of policy network in the creative process of the Future of Higher Education:  (i) the decline in the power of the UUK, in comparison with that during the Dearing Report; (ii) the strong influence of the Vice-Chancellor of Imperial College London; (iii) the significant input of the Science Minister; (iv) the influential voice of the Chief Executive of the HEFCE; (v) limitation of the influence of the new universities; (vi) the strong leadership of the Secretary of State for Education and Skills; and (vii) the increasing power of the Russell Group.  These findings indicate that individual stakeholders played significant roles in the policy formulation.  Firstly, the power of the UUK declined in comparison with its role during the creation of the Dearing Report.  One interviewee observed that the UUK did not function at all during the creation of the Future of Higher Education.  Instead, the role of the Russell Group became significant.  The interviewee explained that the reason for the dysfunction of the UUK was due to the diversity of value within the organisation, as a result of the incorporation of the Vice-Chancellors of the post-1992 universities into the organisation in 1992.  Another interviewee observed that the UUK, as an insider, was previously more influential in the decision-making process than it is now.  The UUK turns out to be a lobbyist, rather than an insider, attempting to influence government policy outside the policy-making network.  Secondly and thirdly, the Vice-Chancellor of Imperial College London and the Science Minister were, as a couple of interviewees observed, influential, in particular on the issues of research and science.  Fourthly, a couple of interviewees suggested that the HEFCE not only played a consultant role to policy-makers, but was also involved in planning.  Fifthly, there was not sufficient evidence that new universities were incorporated in the policy-making process in the creation of the Future of Higher Education.  Sixthly, the power of the Education Secretary of State was testimony to his zealous proposal – the introduction of Access Regulation – and the exclusion of the proposal on the empowerment of the research degree award to HE colleges, which was proposed by his precursor as Secretary of State, Estelle Morris, who resigned during the creation of the Future of Higher Education.  Seventhly, an observer noted that the Russell Group attempted to increase its influence on higher education policy-making by using its insider status.  Another observer mentioned that the establishment of the Russell Group in the mid-1990s resulted from the inefficiency of the UUK and caused the decline of the UUK’s power.

            The power of consumers, including students and economic interest groups, was not incorporated in the policy-making process.  Those groups were rather lobbying, for the former directly and fiercely, and for the latter, indirectly and from an informal, personal communication basis.

            Finally, at the implementation level, the disagreement of a substantial number of New Labour MPs (the Members of Parliament) on the Higher Education Act 2004, which was about the introduction of the diversification of tuition fees, indicates that the Future of Higher Education was formulated by only a limited number of included stakeholders, in which even the New Labour Party did not reach consensus on the introduction of differentiated tuition fees. 

 

Japan 

The effect of neo-liberalism in Japan can be understood as a conflict and compromise between neo-liberal and anti-neo-liberal groups, which created a gap between government rhetoric and its policy implementation.  The discourses and logic in A New Image of National University Corporations are testimony to such conflict and compromise between the two. 

            The underlying value of A New Image of National University Corporations was neo-liberalism.  The text emphasised the ‘principle of competition’ (kyoso no genri), deregulation, and greater institutional discretion.  The discourses used in the text included the following: competitiveness; deregulation; university discretion; the principle of competition; efficient management; institutional self-determination (jisyusei) and self-regulation (jiritusei); and accountability.  The logic of A New Image of National University Corporations relied upon the belief that deregulation and greater institutional discretion could reinforce the competitive environment of the university sector, and improve teaching and research in higher education.  The substantial proposal in the document, nevertheless, has empowered the MECSST in the area of evaluation.   

            The three following points suggest that A New Image of National University Corporations, to a significant degree, reflected the MECSST’s value, although the members of the Study Team were representatives from national and private universities, the industrial and commercial sector, and mass media (e.g. an editorial writer from the Yomiuri Newspaper).  The first evidence is that A New Image of National University Corporations was set up by the Director of Higher Education within the MECSST, followed by a Cabinet Decision on the corporatisation of national universities.  The second evidence is that the document took the same position as the MECSST’s, denying that the corporatisation of national universities was a part of Administration Reform.  It can be assumed that it attempted to dismiss any influence from the proponents of Administration Reform.  The third evidence is the absence of the reference to the issue on the relationship between the MECSST and national university corporations in the text.  The MECSST has tended to avoid discussion of Ministerial jurisdiction, despite the LDP’s policy agenda on ‘small government’. 

            The rationale behind the corporatisation of the national universities can be explained not only by economic but also by political dynamism.  As two interviewees observed, political dynamism which originated from the discourse of supporters of Administrative Reform brought about the reform, by breaking previous political immobilism on the issue of the change in the establishment status of national universities.  The issue had been discussed both informally and formally since the 1950s.

            The particular pattern of the stakeholders’ involvement in the process of the creation of A New Image of National University Corporations can be identified in comparison with two official documents which referred to the review of the establishment of national universities: the 1971 Report of Central Council on Education (CCE); and the 1987 Report of National Council on Education Reform (NCER).  Three reports commonly recommended and proposed the corporatisation of national universities, sharing the neo-liberal idea.  However, the three involved stakeholders in the formulation of policy proposals all differed.  The comparison of the three documents suggests the change in the neo-liberal policy network, and the development of the Ministry’s anti-neo-liberal stance and of the LDP’s neo-liberal stance.   

            The main stakeholder in the CCE was the Ministry.  The internal conflict within the Ministry – between reformist and conservative groups in the Ministry – deterred the implementation of the CCE recommendation on the corporatisation of national universities (Yokoyama, 2003). 

            In the NCER, the clear confrontation between neo-liberal and anti-neo-liberal groups was observed.  The neo-liberal group included the then Prime Minister Nakasone, his advisor, and economic interest groups.  The main component of the anti-neo-liberal group was the Ministry and bunkyo-zoku [unofficial cliques composed of the LDP Members of Parliament sharing an interest in education, typically composed of those MPs having served in posts in the Policy Affairs Research Council (Seimu Chosakai or Seichokai) – the policy review organ in the LDP].  The conflict and compromise between the two groups resulted in moderate neo-liberal recommendation on the issue, not using the terms of ‘privatization’ and not referring to the decline of Ministerial regulation.  The recommendation of the change in status of the national universities was not implemented by the Ministry until 2004, although many recommendations made by the NCER were crystallised by the University Council in the late 1980s and the 1990s, and subsequently implemented by the MESSC [see Kitamura (1997), for the review of the general direction of higher education reform in Japan during the period].  It can be assumed that the factor for the failure of the implementation of the issue – until revitalising the issue in the late 1990s – relied upon the Ministry’s opposition to deregulation and privatisation.

            The main stakeholders observed in the process of A New Image of National University Corporations were categorised into two groups: neo-liberal and anti-neo-liberal groups.  

                           

Neo-liberal Group

 

The neo-liberal group included the LDP, the Cabinet Secretariat Office for Administrative Reform (Naikakukanbo Gyosei Kaikaku suishin Jimukyoku), the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (Somusyo), the Ministry of Finance (Zaimusyo), and economic interest groups.  The neo-liberal group was influential before setting up the Study Team for the New Image of National University Corporations in 2000, and had a limited influence thereafter.  The values of the neo-liberal group included minimal state involvement in the universities, the reduction of the higher education budget, the diminution in the number of civil servants (including teaching and administration staff at the national universities), the application of Corporatisation Law to current national universities without substantial modification, the introduction of efficiency and cost-effectiveness into the university sector, and the emphasis on managerialism.

 

Anti-neo-liberal Group

The anti-neo-liberal group included the MECSST, the national universities, and bunkyo-zoku in the LDP.  The power of the anti-neo-liberal group became significant after setting up the Study Team for the New Image of National University Corporations in 2000, overwhelming the neo-liberal group.  The value of the anti-neo-liberal group was the anti-corporatisation of national universities, the maximisation of the higher education budget, university reform initiated by the anti-neo-liberal group, and scepticism over the application of Corporatisation Law – without modification – to national universities.  The anti-neo-liberal group accepted managerialism, and the accountability of the universities to society as a whole.

            The value between the MECSST and national universities differed in respect of the practice of accountability and state regulation, in particular, in relation to the methodology in the inclusion of lay members in governing bodies, the election of university presidents, and state involvement in mid-term plans.   

 

 

Neo-liberal Policy Formulation

The gap between government’s discourses and the policy agenda relied upon conflict and compromise over neo-liberalism between neo-liberal and anti-neo-liberal groups.  The central points were the MECSST’s jurisdiction and the public funding of higher education rather than the market per se.  The former was implicit during the debate on the corporatisation of national universities; the absence of the argument on this issue in A New Image of National University Corporations suggests the MECSST’s stance on it.         

            There were five distinctive points notably applicable to the case of corporatisation of the national universities.  Firstly, there was disagreement on the application of neo-liberal doctrine within the central authorities.  Secondly, the ANUP was an incorporated stakeholder, which suggests change in the nature of the ANUP from a passive to an active stakeholder.  Thirdly, the neo-liberal discourse of economic interest groups – ‘market’, ‘privatisation’, ‘efficiency’, and ‘cost-effectiveness’ – was influential in the initial stages of the debate on the change of status of national universities before 1997.  Such discourses from economic interest groups did not, however, reflect the text of A New Image of National University Corporations.  Fourthly, individual stakeholders were significant, including university presidents from former Imperial Universities (e.g. Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka) and Education Ministers – in particular, Education Minister Arima, a former President of Tokyo University.  Fifthly, student unions, as well as university teachers’ and staff unions, were excluded in the formulation of the corporatisation policy.    

 

Conclusion

T

he study has found that neo-liberal policy formulation has not brought about convergence in English and Japanese policy formulation as the result of the government’s application of neo-liberalism, since other elements apart from political doctrine and ideology are significant in shaping the policy-making structure.  The study has, in particular, paid attention to the different political culture in England and Japan, which signifies a policy network.  In English political culture, individual influential stakeholders on policy-making, and the equivalent relationship between the government and research intensive pre-1992 universities are significant in policy formulation in higher education.  In addition, the study has found that the government’s neo-liberal policy formulation is, in particular, based upon the consensus between the main stakeholders of the application of neo-liberalism to the higher education sector.  The political confrontation between the stakeholders is derived from the methodology in the application of neo-liberalism rather than its principle.   

            In Japanese political culture, the study has argued that the MECSST’s substantial power in the policy-making structure, and the network between the MECSST and bunkyo-zoku are significant in higher education policy formulation.  In relation to neo-liberalism, the disagreement within central authorities regarding the application of neo-liberal doctrine in higher education, has brought about confrontation between the main stakeholders in the process of the formulation of the government’s neo-liberal policy.    

             

Acknowledgements

 

I appreciate the interviewees’ time and generous co-operation to this project.  Their support was very helpful for the study.

 

 

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