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PM's panel recommends more competition and state control in education

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's advisory panel, the Education Rebuilding Council, on January 24 approved a report setting out policies to practically apply the Fundamental Law of Education that was adversely revised last December.

The report proposed strengthening state control over education and escalating competition and screening.

It recommends an increase in the number of classes formed according to proficiency levels and the introduction of the system in which students choose a school to attend.

The report also calls for the introduction of a fixed-term teaching license system in which teachers are required to apply for renewal on the grounds that the teachers unsuited to teaching need to be got rid of.

Receiving the panel report, the prime minister stated that his cabinet will submit to the ordinary session of the Diet three education-related bills, including a bill to revise the teaching license law.

Asked by the press to comment on the panel report, Japanese Communist Party Vice Chair Ishii Ikuko said, "This report is unacceptable because it will intensify the competition and control that have formed the basis of Japan's education system and state intervention in education."

Ishii also criticized the panel for having discussions behind closed doors since its inception, stressing that this secrecy is entirely inappropriate to deal with matter of education which affects the interest of the public as an issue related to basic human rights.
- Akahata, January 25, 2007

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