Greetings from the President

01.04.2022 Update

president picture
president sign

A new academic year has once again started along with the unpredictability caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, even though its peak has passed. Against these circumstances, please be assured that Ochanomizu University is doing our best to guarantee opportunities for you to learn, with considerations for the safety and security of our campus.

Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has served as a reminder of just how interconnected our world is. For example, even if a country manages to control the spread of the virus, its people will be forced to live in fear and under severe restrictions as long as the virus continues to be spread in other countries and regions. We also continue to face many other pressing issues that will require collective action on a global scale to solve, such as climate change, resource depletion and demographic upheaval.

Despite such an era with many challenges, Ochanomizu University stands strong with our mission to cultivate global women leaders capable of collaborating with people from around the world, understanding cultural diversity, engaging in mutual respect, and cooperating to build a more peaceful world. For this reason, we proactively engage in international exchange activities that include offering study abroad programs to our students, accepting students from abroad, and participating in research exchange programs. We also think it is important for our students to gain advanced knowledge through their regular coursework, discovery of critical issues, and search for ways to solve these problems through dialogue.

The pandemic has renewed our recognition of the significance of IT and other digital technologies. While COVID-19 has been restricting our daily lives in many significant ways, IT has supported us with the virtual realm and enabled our everyday communication allowing universities to continue to function as educational institutions.

That said, Japan has fallen behind much of the world in terms of digitalization. Tackling this pressing issue will require major upgrades of technologies such as IT and AI, and the use of these technologies to help solve the various problems that exist in Japan and around the world. Doing so will help us meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations. By providing our students with both knowledge of IT and the ability to apply it, our university will succeed in educating individuals with foundations in mathematical sciences, data science and AI, all of which will be indispensable to realizing the concept of Society 5.0.

I believe that solving these modern challenges will require comprehensive knowledge that encompasses an understanding of not only science and technology but also philosophy, history, and other areas in humanities as well as social sciences. Providing such comprehensive knowledge-based education is our university’s strength, which, despite its small size, offers a wide variety of programs. Our most important tasks are twofold. First, we must broadly share the knowledge and experiences we have diligently accumulated with society by proactively disseminating our educational and research achievements in Japan and overseas. Second, we must continue to pursue advanced and creative research, and disseminate and share our findings.

Established as the Tokyo Women’s Normal School, Japan’s first national institution of higher education for women in 1875, our university will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2025. Women aspiring to scholarship gathered here from all over the country. Our university has blazed a path as a pioneer in women’s education, even when it was difficult for Japanese women to receive a higher education and play an active role in society. Our role has been to educate women who recognize and respect people from diverse backgrounds in gender, age, race, nationality, culture, religion, and social class among others, and help them create a better society. As its name implies, the Tokyo Women’s Normal School was established as an institution for educating future teachers. However, its graduates went on to pursue successful careers not only as educators but also as excellent researchers and leaders in fields including economics, industry, and the media.

While it is true that Japan has made a progress in the advancement of women in recent years thanks to various initiatives, our country placed 120th out of 156 nations in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021. This ranking places Japan the lowest among the G7 nations. Most notable was the slow advancement of Japanese women in political empowerment and economic participation and opportunity. Our country was also unable to achieve its goal of having women in at least 30 percent of leadership roles by the year 2020.

The percentage of female researchers in Japan, especially in STEM-related fields, also remains low compared to those in other countries. Cultural and systemic factors in Japanese society continue to hinder the success of the extremely capable and talented women who account for half of the country’s population. In this context, I believe that educating outstanding women at women’s universities has a great social significance.

When we became a national university corporation in 2004, we articulated a singular mission to “be a place where all women who are motivated to learn can realize their earnest dreams.” This mission is meant to help every woman and girl around the world realize her vision, and includes supporting the education of girls in developing countries and elsewhere—something our university has worked on for many years.

This mission is also directly connected to our goal of “leaving no one behind,” the central principle of the SDGs. Ochanomizu University aims to show the world that we are a leader in the drive to create a society in which all of humanity can happily coexist, and to become an educational institution that confronts and endeavors to solve social issues through our world-class education and research, and advanced university management.

April 1, 2022
Sasaki Yasuko
Ochanomizu University

  • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加