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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 January 16 - 22  > Central Education Council calls for more school hours and tougher state control
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2008 January 16 - 22 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Central Education Council calls for more school hours and tougher state control

January 18, 2008
The Central Council for Education on January 17 submitted to the education minister a report calling for an increase in school hours at primary and junior high schools as well as tougher state control over school education.

The Education Ministry will revise its official guidelines in accordance with the panel report this spring.

The report stated that the guidelines “should fully reflect” the adverse revision of the Fundamental Law of Education made in December 2006.

The report stressed, in particular, the need to give priority to “education about Japanese tradition and culture, moral education, and firsthand experience” in order to foster patriotism in students. It proposed to require all junior high school students to take martial arts class as well as to attach importance to Japan’s traditional culture in classes such as Japanese, civics, music, and arts.

The panel also is attempting to strengthen state control over education by proposing to introduce a system in which the education ministry specifies important items of guidance in each subject and check whether students have acquired a good understanding of them through national academic achievement tests or other means.

The ministry plans to increase school hours for all grades by one or two hours a week and to introduce foreign language courses in primary schools.

Among teachers and experts, however, concern is growing over increased burdens on students caused by the intensified cramming of knowledge. The panel proposed to separate students into classes according to their level of understanding. These policies will possibly lead to an increase in disparities among students, and students who are unable to keep up with classes could be neglected.

The need now is for the government to improve educational conditions and secure the freedom of educational practices so that teachers can carefully deal with students, not to impose control onto classes.
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