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Tax incentives needed to promote recurrent education

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Beppu, Oita Pref. – There are no countries in the world that do not wish for eternal prosperity. Nothing can ensure such prosperity except education of their people. Many people may take that to mean school education for children and youth. However, what will be far more important going forward will be recurrent education, that is, educating adult members of society.

In an age of the internet of things and artificial intelligence, the speed of change is quite rapid. Even the latest knowledge quickly become obsolete. In other words, expert knowledge that is instantly useful for society will become useless in practically no time at all. Studying hard at universities and graduate schools may no longer keep you employed for your whole lifetime.

European and North American countries are often said to be advanced in adult education. For example in Finland, where six out of every 10 people in the working population change jobs — including those who get hired in fields completely different from their previous jobs — half of these people reportedly acquire specialized knowledge in the new fields or a degree pertaining to such knowledge. In a “100-year life” driven by AI, we need to build a society where people freely go back and forth between businesses and university/graduate school — for example, periodically going back to school to study after working for 10 years, give or take.

The idea of such free exchanges between society and higher education is nothing new. Al-Azhar University in Cairo, one of the world’s oldest universities established in the late 10th century, is known for its........

© The Japan Times