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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 February 19 - 25  > 4.13 million signatures calling for tuition-free education for private high school students submitted
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2020 February 19 - 25 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

4.13 million signatures calling for tuition-free education for private high school students submitted

February 21, 2020

Neary 4.13 million signatures calling for tuition-free private high schools were handed over to lawmakers of the Japanese Communist Party and other political parties at a rally held on February 20 in the Dietmemebers’ office building.

In the rally hosted by a civil group promoting a signature-collection drive for tuition-free education for private high school students, co-head of the group Nagashima Tamio delivered a speech. He stated that with the improvement of the state program to subsidize parents of private high school students, households whose annual income is less than 5.9 million yen will receive a subsidy of 396,000 yen, equivalent to the national average for private high school tuition. He said, “This was achieved by nearly a half-century of the grassroots-based movement in which the number of signatures submitted to the Diet over the years totaled 600 million.”

Nagashima, who is also the chair of the National Federation of Private School Teachers and Staff Union (Shikyoren), pointed out that while some prefectures established their own subsidy programs to decrease parents’ burden of private school fees to almost zero, there is also a move among prefectures to slash the budget for their financial support programs. He stressed the need to work even harder to push the national and local governments to maintain and improve their subsidy programs.

A high school student from Niigata Prefecture said, “Many students are struggling to pay their school fees working two part-time jobs.” A mother of a high school student who came from Toyama Prefecture said, “I’m happy to hear that our tenacious efforts moved the state government to take action. In order to give the opportunity to access higher education to all children, we need to work to further promote the signature-collection drive.”

JCP lawmakers, Hatano Kimie (Lower House), Ito Gaku, Kira Yoshiko, and Yamazoe Taku (Upper House), delivered speeches in solidarity. Hatano referred to gaps in municipalities’ subsidy programs and expressed her determination to work hard to improve the state subsidy program.

Dietmembers who gave speeches included those of the Liberal Democratic Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for The People, and the Social Democratic Party.

Past related article:
> 6.9-million citizens want tuition-free private high schools [February 21, 2014]
> Teachers and parents launch signature campaign for better educational environment [July 13, 2013]
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