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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 May 21 - 27  > Education minister uses FB to monitor school education
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2014 May 21 - 27 [EDUCATION]

Education minister uses FB to monitor school education

May 19 & 23, 2014
The Education Ministry instructed public schools to prompt children to take home and read moral teaching materials which the ministry compiled with the aim of instilling “patriotism” into school children, revealed Japanese Communist Party councilor Tamura Tomoko on May 22.

The ministry made a complete revision of supplementary readers on moral education in February and delivered new side readers to public elementary and junior high schools throughout the country in order to have them used from the 2014 school year starting in April. The new version highlights “love” for Japan in particular, by listing many Japanese great figures such as the New York Yankees’ right fielder Ichiro Suzuki and bacteriologist Noguchi Hideyo, who is well known for his study of syphilis.

The ministry’s notification, which was issued on May 15, orders school authorities to urge children to take the book home and read it with their parents. A couple of days before that, Education Minister Shimomura Hakubun called on people who have Facebook accounts to check if public school teachers actually tell students to do so.

In a Lower House education committee meeting in April, Shimomura stated that the contents of the Imperial Rescript on Education, which served as a tool to mobilize the general public for Japan’s past war of aggression, are “perfectly reasonable”.

Imatani Kenji, the secretary general of the All Japan Teachers and Staff Union, criticized the minister, saying, “Whether to use supplementary readers or not is up to school principals and boards of education. The authorities’ move shows the true colors of the Abe administration aiming at state control of education.”

Nagoya University Professor Nakajima Tetsuhiko said, “The state has no authority to order public schools to use specific teaching materials. The minister’s call to make use of Facebook accounts is tantamount to using the public to monitor school education.”

Past related articles:
> Education minister praises imperial rescript on education [April 9, 2014]
> Education minister requires local town to use textbook glorifying Japan’s aggressive war [March 15, 2014]

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