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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 October 22 - 29  > Education Minister’s remarks denying equality of educational opportunity unacceptable
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2019 October 22 - 29 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Education Minister’s remarks denying equality of educational opportunity unacceptable

October 29, 2019
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Education Minister Hagiuda Koichi recently made an anachronistic and discriminatory remark claiming that students from low-income families should try their luck at affordable university entrance exams.

Hagiuda made this remark on the satellite TV news program “Prime News” aired on October 24 by BS Fuji covering the Education Ministry’s plan to introduce private-sector English proficiency tests in the standardized university entrance exams from 2020. The host of the show pointed out that many experts say that the ministry’s plan will deny equality of educational opportunity on the grounds that students from low-income families and those living in rural areas will have difficulties in taking privately-prepared English tests. Asked about this point, Hagiuda said, “Students from affluent families may prepare by taking similar English tests more than once so that they will get accustomed. That can happen. I hope each student applying to take entrance exams will make a decision taking into consideration the quality of test preparation they were able to obtain.”

Hagiuda is basically an apologist for the widening economic inequality which goes counter to Article 26 of the Constitution which states, “All people shall have the right to receive an equal education correspondent to their ability, as provided by law.”

Hagiuda did not take serious notice of students who fear that they would suffer disadvantages in university entrance exams, one of the major important life events, because of their financial conditions. In addition, regarding students in rural areas who normally have to go to cities to take private English tests, the Education Minister asserted that it would be a good experience for students to take tests in a city distant from their hometowns. Hagiuda’s remarks has illustrated serious questions regarding his qualification to be the Education Minister.

Past related articles:
> Zenkyo calls for suspension of plan to introduce private-sector English tests for university entrance [October 3, 2019]
> Concern is growing over Japan's new standardized university entrance exam system [September 18, 2019]
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