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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 May 25 - 31  > Citizens urge gov’t to ensure that visually impaired teachers can keep teaching
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2016 May 25 - 31 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Citizens urge gov’t to ensure that visually impaired teachers can keep teaching

May 31, 2016
A group of visually impaired persons on May 30 submitted a petition signed by 6,500 people to the Education Ministry, protesting against a private college which unilaterally transferred an associate professor with impaired vision to clerical work. The group calls for the withdrawal of the transfer order.

The petition points out that Okayama College (Okayama Prefecture) ordered Associate Professor Yamaguchi Yukiko to give up teaching and instead work as a clerical worker on the flimsy grounds that she failed to notice students having food and drink in her class. The written request urges the Education Ministry to give appropriate instructions to the college based on the law banning discrimination against the disabled, promote education on human rights, and increase efforts to encourage the social participation of people with disabilities.

At a press conference held prior to the submission, Yamaguchi said that she has been teaching students who want to be childcare workers and that she, as a teacher with visual impairment, has provided them with a good chance to think about a barrier-free society. Yamaguchi stated that school authorities should not exclude teachers with impaired vision from being faculty members.

University of Shizuoka Graduate School Professor Ishikawa Jun, who has a visual impairment and heads the Cabinet Office’s policy commission on the disabled, also took part in the press conference. He said that the emergence of such a case is unacceptable as the government is about to submit a report on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the United Nations after ratifying it two years ago.

Shigeta Masatoshi, representative of an association of teachers with visual impairment, explained that more than 20 visually impaired persons are teaching in universities around the country. He stressed that he wants more people to know that with appropriate policies in place, those teachers can do their jobs and do them well.

Ogoda Makoto, who is a blind lawyer, stressed that as the anti-discrimination law took effect in April, universities now have a responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations for each staff member with disabilities. He pointed out that if Okayama Collage intends to pressure Yamaguchi to leave the college with the transfer order, its act will amount to power harassment that can be brought to court.

Past related articles:
> Japan should make law banning discrimination against disabled and ratify UN treaty [February 26, 2013]
> Basic law for disabled persons revised [July 30, 2011]
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