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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 30 - June 5  > International panel to investigate Japanese teachers’ status
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2007 May 30 - June 5 [EDUCATION]

International panel to investigate Japanese teachers’ status

June 1, 2007
The Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART), a joint panel of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has decided to send its team to Japan as early as within this year to investigate Japanese teachers’ status.

The All Japan Teachers and Staff Union (Zenkyo) made this public at a press conference on May 31.

It is extraordinary for CEART to dispatch its investigation team, and this move shows that the Education Ministry’s policy on teachers is being called into question.

The “Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers” which the ILO and UNESCO in 1966 jointly adopted, states that evaluation of teachers should be based on an objective assessment of their qualifications. Concerning disciplinary measures, it requires the authority to grant teachers the right to defend themselves.

The Education Ministry has been pushing forward a policy of removing teachers with “poor teaching abilities” from schools even without giving a clear definition of “poor teaching abilities.”

In 2002, Zenkyo filed an appeal with CEART, stating that the ministry policy on teacher evaluation is arbitrary and that the ministry must observe the international panel’s recommendation.

In 2003, CEART upheld Zenkyo’s appeal, acknowledging that the education ministry failed to act on the recommendation on the grounds that teachers regarded as having “poor teaching abilities” are deprived of their right to defend themselves. The panel advised that the ministry and Zenkyo conduct negotiations in a constructive manner, and made clear that the panel is prepared to send an investigation team if they cannot solve the problem.

At the press conference, Zenkyo Vice Chair Shinseki Yoshiaki expressed his welcome to the CEART’s decision as well as the Education Ministry’s acceptance of the investigation team. “The investigation team will conduct an investigation and verification based on the recommendation and will provide advice,” he said.

Referring to a bill currently discussed in the Diet to strengthen control over teachers with “poor education abilities,” Shinseki said, “The government must strictly follow the recommendation.”

Teachers designated as lacking “teaching abilities” have been sent to training programs, and some of them have been subject to punitive measures such as engaging in snow removal and disposed of fallen trees. - Akahata, June 1, 2007
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