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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 August 22 - 28  > Overcrowded schools undermine disabled children’s right to learn
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2018 August 22 - 28 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Overcrowded schools undermine disabled children’s right to learn

August 22, 2018

A group of Japanese Communist Party local assemblypersons in Shiga Prefecture on August 21 petitioned the Education Ministry to create standards for establishment of schools for children with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses.

JCP member of the House of Councilors Yamashita Yosiki also took part in the petitioning.

The number of students at public schools for children with special needs across Japan increased by 30,000 over the past decade and so these schools have to accept more students than their capacity. The reason behind this situation is that there are no national standards regarding special schools’ classroom size, playground space, and other school facilities.

In the petitioning, a Shiga public school for disabled children was cited as an example. Although the school has a 3.6 times larger enrollment than that at the time of its founding, the school environment has never been improved, which caused various problems. As the school kitchen infrastructure is inadequate to provide a sufficient amount of school lunches to all students and teaching staff, teachers have to skip lunch or bring their own.

The JCP assemblypersons’ group pointed out that overcrowded conditions threaten disabled children’s right to learn and demanded that the government create official standards for setting up schools for special needs children.

In response, the ministry insisted that the absence of uniform standards enables schools to manage their operations in a flexible manner.

JCP Dietmember Yamashita said, “Using the word ‘flexible’, the ministry intends to gloss over its reluctance to provide support for disabled children. It is a kind of discrimination,” requesting the ministry to set minimum standards regarding schools for disabled children.

Past related article:
> Teachers strive to defend disabled children’s right to learn [January 18, 2013]
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