MEXT Minister Masahiko Shibayama visited the Central Council for Education on April 17th to submit an inquiry on the following 4 items for elementary and secondary school education in a new era.
1 Modality of compulsory education corresponding to a new era;
2 Modality of higher education corresponding to a new era;
3 Modality of education corresponding to the increasing number of foreign children;
4 Modality of teachers corresponding to the future era and enhancing educational environments.
In detail, the council will examine the modality of compulsory education by reviewing the conventional system of assigning teachers per class versus teachers per subject, and teaching students according to their various levels of understanding. For the modality of higher education, the council will examine creating a balanced educational program including a wide range of subjects not limited to the conventional classification of either the humanities and social sciences versus natural sciences. The council will also examine promoting cross-subject education, or STEAM education, which is effective for solving general problems faced by actual society. For the modality of teachers, the council will review the distribution of teachers and the teacher certification system.
Minister Shibayama stressed these items are crucial for determining the future course of Japan and asked the council to actively proceed with the review.
Members of the council appraised the inquiry for providing a golden opportunity to comprehensively reform the educational curriculum, the distribution of teachers, and the teacher certification system to reform Japan’s education towards a new era. Others commented that assigning teachers per subject not only improves the quality of education, but will advance work-style reform by reducing teacher’s working hours. On the utilization of teachers outside of school, council members said the issue has remained at a standstill from the standpoint of securing quality education, stressing that further review is necessary to broaden the teacher certification system while ensuring quality education. Other members stressed the enhancement of ICT environments should begin immediately with the new Courses of Study to begin from fiscal 2019.
Bearing in mind the various emerging issues in a rapidly changing society, the council will invite experts to the subcommittees to investigate the future modality of compulsory education, higher education, teachers and schools.