Inuyama City sets maximum class size at 30

Inuyama City in Aichi Prefecture will be Japan's first municipality to reduce the class size for municipal schools to under 30. The city decision announced on September 24 will be implemented from April 2004.

The number of classes in municipal elementary and junior high schools will increase by 44 from the present 200. The city will also hire 33 full-time teachers.

Currently, the national standard for class size is 40, based on which the government pays half of public school teachers' salaries. Salaries for additional teachers are paid by local governments.

If the central government sets the maximum number of students per class at 30 and maintains the government's share of costs for compulsory education, all municipalities, irrespective of their financial conditions, can make the class size smaller than at present. This is what parents and teachers are calling for.

The Koizumi Cabinet, however, rejects the demand for a smaller-size class system and is even planning to end the state subsidy for half of the salaries for public school teachers. (end)