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Half of Tokyo’s universities to use credits to 'convince' students to volunteer in 2020 Olympics

8 Comments
By Koh Ruide, SoraNews24

Two years after announcing strict volunteer requirements for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and realizing they could not get enough help for free, the Japanese ministry has instead turned to universities and their vast human resources, going so far as to altering curriculum schedules for those willing to assist.

In the latest move to entice students to volunteer for the Olympics, a large number of universities have begun to offer academic credits as a form of remuneration. According to broadcasting corporation NHK’s survey, 49 percent of universities in Tokyo — both national and private — are now considering that option.

While rewarding student volunteers with credits to advance their undergraduate programs is a nice gesture, the move also makes clear that the Olympic Committee does not want to pay for highly-skilled individuals who must speak a foreign language, work over 10 full days, and sit through several training sessions. Not to mention that they must pass an interview.

The move also raises the question of what it means to volunteer. While it’s quite obvious by now there isn’t enough people to fill the 110,000 spots required, dangling credits to push students into assisting the event is still morally ambiguous. Those who are reluctant to help might feel pressured to do so in order to score academically, which really defeats the purpose of volunteering in the first place.

The highly controversial move has spurred Masayuki Kobayashi, a professor at the Center for Research and Development of Higher Education in the University of Tokyo, to speak up about the issue: “Volunteering is essentially willing participation, as disaster volunteers and Olympic volunteers are inherently different. It’s unacceptable that institutions are enticing university students with promises of academic credit.”

As Kobayashi stated, it’s unprecedented that the Japanese ministry is doing so much to push students into volunteering for one sporting event, whereas no such effort is seen when lives are at stake during catastrophic disasters.

Japanese netizens were generally upset at how institutions were using academic credits to sway students’ decisions:

“That’s not volunteering at all.”

“That means no one wants to do it.”

“I don’t understand this at all.”

“So those that help out in the Paralympics get credit, but those who volunteer during disasters don’t?”

“This is what education in Japan is about?”

Offering Japanese students academic credits as a carrot on a stick seems like the wrong way to encourage volunteerism, but precious time is ticking away for the Olympic Committee. If they cannot get the required 110,000 volunteers soon, an army of emotionless androids might just work.

Source: NHK News via My Game News Flash

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japan ministry urges universities to adjust curriculum to accommodate student Olympic volunteers

-- The 2020 Tokyo Olympics announces the winner of its adorable mascot election

-- Tokyo women’s university will accept transgender students who identify as female, a Japan first

© SoraNews24

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

8 Comments
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please work grueling hours in the heat for a free t-shirt. good luck with that

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Isn't that bribery?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Two years after announcing strict volunteer requirements for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and realizing they could not get enough help for free, 

I don't often laugh out loud reading the newspaper in the morning but this is an absolute diamond of an opening sentence.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Where I live, there are plenty of retirees who do volunteering as guides in Nara and Kyoto. They mostly do it for the love of chatting with tourists. I am sure if you offer them free accommodation like a dorm, they will be on the first bus in 8/2020.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is actually possible to changes in the university eductation rescript passed under Abe that took back a great deal of the autonomy universities had under the previous version. So, once again the nation seeks to enlist youth in an effort to boost patriotic pride and make Japan great again? Anyone else remember how well this went in the 1930's?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

expat good point!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Standing outside a train station holding a placard with an arrow on it. That's sure to get Japanese universities flying up the global rankings.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ironic ... and not.

As a 'tenured' Associate Professor at Jissen Women's College, just prior to taking my one-year research sabbatical to Cambodia, I was asked to sign a document drawn up especially for me, stipulating that I must follow School rules and Department rules — even if they are contradictory.

I pointed out a contradiction in that the English Communication Department required me to follow an unwritten 'rule' (order) saying, that unlike themselves, I am not allowed to participate in community outreach programs or volunteer work, or connect students with community volunteer activities ... and neither was I permitted to volunteer to help my own seminar student prepare for an English speech contest.

I was told in no uncertain terms that as a 'native speaker' — my job was restricted to being the Department's human tape recorder ... an English pronunciation / grammar instructor ... and that as 'Department Property', any working contract between myself and the university was null and void, regardless of the Dean's disagreement with the Department.

I refused to sign the document, helped the student (she won 2nd place), and was promptly stripped of my right to take a sabbatical or teach any classes the following academic year. I ended up doing exactly what they wanted ... resigning from that 'tenured' position. 'Associate Professor' indeed.

The powers-that-be are not clueless as to the meaning of those academic positions, or 'volunteerism' ... they are merely self-entitled opportunists from the get-go, and ultimately self-destructive.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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