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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 23 - 29  > JCP Inoue calls for small-sized classes and increase in education budget
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2007 May 23 - 29 [EDUCATION]

JCP Inoue calls for small-sized classes and increase in education budget

May 23, 2007
At a House of Councilors education committee meeting on May 22, Japanese Communist Party representative Inoue Satoshi urged the government to establish a national policy of reducing the school class size.

Inoue pointed out that while the government still maintains the policy of setting the maximum number of students per class at 40 as the national standard, European countries and the U.S. are setting it at 30 or less.

He said all Japanese prefectures except Tokyo have already reduced the class size to smaller than the national standard because “small-sized classes are called for by the public and have been proved to be educationally effective.”

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, however, rejected the adoption of a smaller class size as the national standard by saying, “While maintaining the national standard, the government will encourage local governments to take their own measures.”

Educational Minister Ibuki Bunmei said, “At some point in the future, we would like to reduce the class size to 35.”

According to a survey cited by Inoue, 90 percent of schools with small-sized classes reported that students’ academic levels have been going up and that the number of students who have trouble catching up in classes have decreased.

Inoue also stated, “If the government really aims at raising Japan’s education level to the highest in the world, it must increase the budget to meet the world standard.” He pointed out that Japan’s education budget makes up only 3.5 percent of its GDP, the lowest among the 30 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

During the five years under the Koizumi Cabinet (2001-2005), the education budget decreased by 1.6 trillion yen, or 29 percent. - Akahata, May 23, 2007
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