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JUKU-GI – Aiming for virtuous cycle between resolution of problems on site and formulation of educational policy –

MEXT has been promoting the formulation of educational policies and resolution of problems at educational sites through JUKU-GI since April 2010. JUKU-GI is a process of resolving problems and formulating policies through deliberation and repeated discussions among the many concerned parties. In concrete terms, the process involves the following: (1) the parties concerned (children's parents or guardians, teachers, neighbors) get together, (2) to study, deliberate and discuss the issues, (3) to better understand one another’s positions and the roles which each is responsible for, (4) so that understanding can be reached and (5) everybody becomes able to appreciate and carry out his/her role.
 The efforts to carry out JUKU-GI are being made by combining "NET JUKU-GI" (JUKU-GI carried out online through the website "MEXT Policy Creation Engine JUKU-GI KAKEAI") and "REAL JUKU-GI" which happens when the concerned parties meet face-to-face.

Expanding the Use of NET JUKU-GI

 Expanding the Use of NET JUKU-GI Expanding the Use of NET JUKU-GIExpanding the Use of NET JUKU-GI

By the end of FY 2010, JUKU-GI taking place through the internet involved approximately 20 themes, with more than 14,000 dialogues and opinions expressed by over 2,400 participants from 47 prefectures both nationwide and overseas. Through the JUKU-GI process on “Measures for Improving Teachers Quality”, participants proactively and interactively produced a "Paper on Proposals to MEXT" via the website. This document was handed directly to the Senior Vice Minister of MEXT, and then was also reported to the Central Council for Education. It is now actively being used as material for the Council. (See Photos in the middle and on the right)

Expanding the Use of REAL JUKU-GI

Expanding the Use of REAL JUKU-GI Expanding the Use of REAL JUKU-GIExpanding the Use of REAL JUKU-GI

The REAL JUKU-GI process has been carried out approximately 100 times at various locations nationwide, from Hokkaido to Okinawa, by the end of FY 2010. Some of the results have been adopted as operating mechanisms by Boards of Education and School Management Councils in various locations. These results have also influenced midterm planning measures taken by local residents in government-designated cities and school-building/town-building efforts, allowing for community involvement. MEXT is urging the entire nation to employ REAL JUKU-GI, in their decision-making process, and is actively supporting this idea by posting notices on the JUKU-GI KAKEAI website, providing reference materials, and so forth.
 Also, based on the amended Course of Study, MEXT created a pamphlet to introduce children's efforts at creating a better class and school life through discussions and practices during special activities using the JUKU-GI process. Using some examples, the introduction describes these cases as "Children’s JUKU-GI." (See Photo on the right)

[1] Promoting Reduced Class Size

With a dwindling birthrate, aging population, and swiftly progressing globalization, expectations Japanese citizens have towards School Education are becoming higher as society becomes increasingly knowledgebased.
 In order to achieve the highest level of education effectiveness in the world, a variety of measures are necessary. These include smooth execution of the new Course of Study, appropriate responses to educational challenges such as bullying, and securing time for teachers to spend one-on-one with their students. To do so, staffing levels of teachers and other personnel must be improved, and class sizes must be reduced so that a higher-quality compulsory education results from these measures.
 MEXT has received many requests to implement class-size reduction from various sources. These include hearings conducted by MEXT which have involved educational organizations and experts, public citizen comment through the website, and exchange of opinions using the MEXT JUKU-GI web site (see topic in Chapter 1). Furthermore, the Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee of the Central Council for Education has discussed a proposal entitled "Improvement of Legal Standards for Class Size and Staffing Levels of Teachers and Other Personnel.” The proposal states that methods such as advocating the reduction of class size are key.
 Furthermore, a new method referred to as "Policy Competition" was introduced during the process of budgetary planning for FY 2011. As a matter of fact, the public comment which took place resulted in an overwhelming response of over 40,000 people stating that "reduction in class size is necessary."
 Due to the strong demand for class-size reduction by various parties, coupled with other factors, the "goal of reaching a maximum class size of 35 students in both 1st and 2nd grade" was given a B evaluation, requiring further investigation to take into consideration challenges in future fiscal years. During the process of budgetary planning for FY 2011 which followed the discussion, an increase of teacher and other personnel staffing levels by 2,300 employees to meet the goal of no more than 35 students per first-grade class was approved. Further, the "Act on Legal Standards for Class Size and Staffing Levels of Teachers and Other Personnel at Public Compulsory- Education Schools, and the Provisions for Revising the Act on the Organization and Operation of Local Educational Administration" was passed on April 15, 2011 and then enforced on April 22 of the same year.
 The passage of this Act marks the first time legal standards for class sizes have been reduced in the last 30 years. In 1980, a system of requiring a maximum of 40 students per class was introduced.
 In addition, the national government is set to investigate continuous revisions regarding legal standards for class size for 2nd graders and beyond in elementary and secondary school and to take the necessary legal action and other measures mandated by the investigation.
 It is a worthwhile endeavor to begin promoting of reduced class size when the New Course of Study is in full effect. This amendment allows teachers to secure time to interact with each child, from which the following educational results can be expected:

- Careful instruction varying with each child's interest and level of understanding.
- More active in-class participation, allowing increased opportunity to speak and present
- More flexibility in class to allow for a variety of educational activities
- Tighter relationships between teachers and children
- Improvements in personal attention to address issues involving student guidance

These results are expected to allow for children to go to school and enjoy a sense of fulfillment.

[2] Promoting Special Needs Education Based on the Philosophy of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

<The Movement on the Disability Policy Reform by the Government of Japan>

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted at the United Nations General Assembly in December, 2006, and became effective in May, 2008. On the other hand, the Government of Japan signed the Convention in September 2007; however, it has not been ratified yet by Japan. Therefore, the Government of Japan is currently investigating how to reform the current national system including national laws concerning the disability policy, to ratify the convention as soon as possible. In concrete terms, major topics, which include education-related matters, are currently investigated by the Ministerial Board for Disability Policy Reform and the Committee for Disability Policy Reform, which was established as a subsidiary committee of the Board. The main topic among the education-related matters is about the Inclusive Education System.
 On June 29, 2010, the Cabinet decided that each individual field should be investigated by the relevant ministries. Concerning education, the Cabinet Decision states, "Regarding the future direction of the education system including organizational and financial matters, an investigation shall be conducted by the end of FY 2010 aiming to come to a conclusion about the basic direction of the system reform which will be led to the amendment of the Basic Law for Persons with Disabilities, based on the philosophy of the convention to develop the Inclusive Education System, that children with and without disabilities receive education together.”

<Concerning the Special Committee of the Future Directions of Special Needs Education of the Subdivision on Primary and Secondary Education of the Central Council for Education>

Based on the Cabinet Decision on June 29, 2010, “Special Committee of the Future Directions of Special Needs Education of the Subdivision on Primary and Secondary Education of the Central Council for Education” conducted professional surveys and discussions, and the Special Committee brought them to a conclusion as a report on December 24, 2010. The following are suggested in the report:

- Under the Inclusive Education System, it is important to develop diverse and flexible system to provide the most appropriate guidance that fits individual educational needs of the moment for children in need, while pursuing to educate children with and without disabilities together in the same space.
- It is appropriate to change the conventional system of enrolling children with disabilities who satisfy school enrollment criteria for Schools for Special Needs Education in that School in principle, and to enable school enrollment decision from comprehensive viewpoint based on status of disabilities, individual educational needs, opinion of children and their guardians and experts and so on. Final school enrollment shall be decided by Municipal Boards of Education after providing sufficient information to children with disabilities and their guardians. The utmost respect should be paid to the opinions of children and their guardians, and consensus should be formed on educational needs and required support among children and their guardians, boards of education and schools, in principle.
(Reference: http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/shingi/chukyo/chukyo3/044/houkoku/1300890.htm)

<Future Direction of Special Needs Education Based on the Philosophy of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities>

Although improvements of the Special Needs Education system by individual Boards of Education and School is making a certain progress since it was enacted on a nationwide level in FY 2007, further progress of Special Needs Education including the development of the Inclusive Education System is needed. Important to note is that, on July 29, 2011, the Diet passed the Law which partially amends the Basic Law for Persons with Disabilities during its ordinary FY 2011 session, and that the Law became effective on August 5 of the same year. It is necessary to promote Special Needs Education from now on based on the intention of the revised Basic Law for Persons with Disabilities.

Graduate School Education in a Globalizing Society(Policy Report by the Central Council for Education)

Regarding enhancements in graduate school education, based on the "Guideline for Promoting Graduate School Education" (MEXT, March 30, 2006) that followed "Graduate School Education in the New Era" (Policy Report by the Central Council for Education, September 5, 2005), MEXT has supported them with a revision of the Standards for the Establishment of Graduate Schools, which has mandated that graduate schools publish their purpose concerning the fostering of human resources by each department major, and supported them by Global COE Program, and Program for Enhancing Systematic Education in Graduate Schools.
 With five years having passed since that time, the Central Council for Education reviewed progress in systematic education in graduate school, repeatedly discussed measures to improve future graduate school education, and established the Policy Report "Graduate School Education in a Globalizing Society" on January 31, 2011.
 The Policy Report states that, although the effort to improve systematic education is making steady progress as a whole, doctoral course especially tends to rely too much on supervisor’s laboratory work, and there is an overall downtrend in the matriculation of top students into doctoral course. This is due to their career paths after graduation and a mismatch between the competencies demanded by industrial circles and the types of thinking/skills developed through doctoral courses. The report states that it is urgently required to drastically enrich doctoral education/research to enable quality-assured graduate school graduates to play an active part in various areas both domestically and abroad.

Fig. 1 Natural Science and Engineering Doctoral Degree

Fig. 1 Natural Science and Engineering Doctoral Degree

Fig.2 Number of Doctoral Degree Holders per Million Population (2005)

Fig.2 Number of Doctoral Degree Holders per Million Population (2005)

Fig. 3 Percentage of Doctoral Degree Holders among Researchers in the Private Sector (2006)

Fig. 3 Percentage of Doctoral Degree Holders among Researchers in the Private Sector (2006)

In concrete terms, the followings are desired:
(1) Provide graduate school education as a degree program that has the clear goal to acquire knowledge and skills by: developing systematic curricula closely linked from coursework to research work; establishing an organized education and research guidance system; improving the transparency of educational information; establishing an environment where students can learn and research with future prospects ; and strengthen collaboration with industry, etc. and establishing diverse career paths.
(2) Develop consistent doctoral program to foster highly qualified person to play an active role globally by: establishing consistent doctoral education to carry out ingenious research activities through coursework and laboratory rotation; Launching new initiative "Leading Graduate Schools" to foster doctors who lead the world; and supporting universities that provide collaborative education beyond border.
The government, universities, and industries are expected to make further efforts to enhance graduate school education based on this Policy Report.

Publication of the Financial Information of School Corporations

- School corporations that establish private schools are responsible to the students for steady and sound operation while the students are enrolled at their school, and are accountable to not only students but also to the entire society, including students' parents or guardians and applicants for admission. Therefore, they are required to proactively publish financial / operational information.
- MEXT has been urging school corporations to make proactive efforts to publish their financial information making practical use of the Internet, in addition to their obligation to make financial-related materials available to the concerned parties since April, 2005, based on the revision of Private Schools Act. As one of those efforts, MEXT conducts an annual survey on the status of financial-information publications by school corporations and publishes the results in order to understand the status of financial-information publications among school corporations that operate universities or junior colleges under the jurisdiction of the Minster of MEXT.
 The survey is about the status of efforts to proactively publish information such as web postings, and efforts to explain financial information in an easily understood way.
- According to the FY 2010 survey, among the school corporations under the jurisdiction of the Minister of MEXT, 94.6 % or 628 corporations (an increase of 2.4 points compared with the previous year) published their information either by positing it on their website, inserting in publications such as public relations magazines, or posting on bulletin boards at school. The rate of school corporations that use their website is 87.2% of the total, or 579 corporations, which is a 5.8 point increase from the previous year (Fig. 2-4-1).
- MEXT has posted and published the survey results on the MEXT website. Also, since FY 2010, MEXT adds URLs for the financial information of each school corporation on their website. Note that in July, 2010, the Association of Private Universities / Junior Colleges established "On the Financial / Operational Information Publications of School Corporations" as guidelines for information disclosure, and it has notified every member school regarding proactive efforts for information disclosure.
- Through these efforts, it is expected that further publications of financial information will be promoted at every school corporation. And every school corporation is expected to make efforts to disclose its information in an easy-to-understand manner so that it can be practically used as published financial information by prospective students and their parents and guardians who want to enter a university, junior college or college of technology established by the school corporation.

[MEXT website (Financial Publication Status of School Corporations): http://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/koutou/shinkou/07021403/1299684.htm]

Fig. 2-4-1 Trends in the Status of Implementing Financial Information Publications by Method (rate in all corporations)

Fig. 2-4-1 Trends in the Status of Implementing Financial Information Publications by Method (rate in all corporations)

[1] The asteroid explorer "Hayabusa" (MUSES-C) made the world's first successful trip bringing a substance back from a planet other than the moon

The asteroid explorer "Hayabusa" (MUSES-C) (Fig.2-5-1) was launched from Kagoshima Prefecture in May, 2003, and reached the asteroid Itokawa that was about 300 million kilometers away from the earth at that time with the purpose of carrying out scientific observations. It provided a number of findings about asteroids related to gravitation and surface conditions, with results introduced in "Science", one of the internationally authoritative journals of science.
 "Hayabusa" returned to Earth after a sevenyear journey, dropping its capsule in a deserted area of Australia, and completing its operation. During approximately six-billion kilometer journey, "Hayabusa" struggled with a number of serious troubles. These included, for example, anomaly of its ion engines and a communication blackout. Researchers and engineers, however, were able to overcome them with creativity and ingenuity to enable its successful return. This success attracted attention from many. (Photo 2-5-1)

Fig. 2-5-1 Image of Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa” (MUSES-C)

Fig. 2-5-1 Image of Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa” (MUSES-C)

 The capsule that returned to the earth was immediately carried to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and JAXA proceeded to carry out verification of collected content at its Sagamihara facility. The presence of fine particles inside of the capsule was discovered in July, 2010 (Photo 2-5-2). Then analysis conducted by a host of domestic and overseas experts determined that the fine particles originated from Itokawa. The result propelled "Hayabusa" into the spotlight of scientific and technological history as the world’s first asteroid explorer to carry substance back from a planet other than the moon. A detailed analysis of the fine particles has begun at universities and at large-scale synchrotron radiation facility, SPring-8 since January, 2011. It is expected that the results of these analyses will explain the mystery of the solar system.

Photo 2-5-1: Fireballs that ignited at "Hayabusa’s"reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. (Courtesy of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA))
Photo 2-5-1: Fireballs that ignited at "Hayabusa’s"reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. (Courtesy of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)) 

 While the fine particles discovered inside are being analyzed elsewhere, the capsule itself has been on exhibition nationwide since August, 2010. A number of visitors show up every day, and many of the visitors are interested in more than just the scientific aspects of this accomplishment.

Photo 2-5-2: An electron micrograph of fine particles collected by "Hayabusa" (Courtesy of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA))
Photo 2-5-2: An electron micrograph of fine particles collected by "Hayabusa" (Courtesy of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)) 

 Due to these remarkable achievements, the then-Minister of MEXT, Mr. Takaki and the then-Minister for Space Development, Mr. Kaieda expressed their respect for and presented a testimonial to the 119 organizations that have been involved in the "Hayabusa" project. These include private companies, universities, and others (Photo 2-5-3).

Photo 2-5-3: Presentation ceremony for the contributors in the "Hayabusa" project (Minister of MEXT Mr. Takagi (right), Professor Kawaguchi of JAXA (left))
Photo 2-5-3: Presentation ceremony for the contributors in the "Hayabusa" project (Minister of MEXT Mr. Takagi (right), Professor Kawaguchi of JAXA (left)) 

 The subject of "Hayabusa" was also raised in an audio conference between Australian Prime Minster Rudd and then-Prime Minister Kan. In addition, then-Senior Vice Minister of MEXT, Mr. Sasaki, presented the nation a scale model of "Hayabusa" as the token of Japanese appreciation for Australian supports. This scale model demonstrated the science and technology behind "Hayabusa" and showed how it can provide an excellent contribution to the world, something Japan actually should be proud of. The real capsule was on exhibition to the leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

[2] Two Japanese Researchers Receive Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Ei-ichi Negishi, Distinguished Professor of Purdue University and Akira Suzuki, Emeritus Professor of Hokkaido University received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2010.
 The achievement on "Palladium-Catalyzed Cross Coupling" in organic synthesis was highly valued and resulted in the Nobel Prize being awarded to Professor Negishi and Professor Suzuki.
 The cross-coupling reaction is an enabler which produces a new organic compound of a desired composition. It does so by creating a new carbon-carbon bond that is a skeleton of organic compounds.
 Both professors used the metal known as Palladium as a catalyst for the cross coupling reaction, and then developed a method that allows high yields in bonding between carbons which make up organic compounds.
 Professor Negishi developed an innovative synthesis method named "Negishi Coupling." It uses zinc as a catalyst to improve the yield in carbon-carbon bonding.
 Professor Suzuki added refinements and developed a synthesis method named "Suzuki coupling" which uses organic boron compound instead of zinc as a catalyst to dramatically improve the synthesis's usefulness.
 Since then, the synthesis methods developed by both professors have been applied to the development and volume production of various products that we cannot live without. Examples are medical supplies, agricultural chemicals, LCD panels which are essential for ITC equipment and have played a significant role to development in the industry.
 These prizes are based on evaluations of the unique research contributions that professor Negishi and professor Suzuki made when they were young researchers. Their accomplishments are particularly remarkable as they follow those of four Japanese researchers who received Nobel Prizes in Physics or Chemistry two years earlier. This success has spurred the dreams and hopes of young students pursuing the sciences, young researchers, and all Japanese people. It has also provided a valuable springboard for advancing interest in the sciences, technology and academic fields. It has also shown the world that Japan excels in top-level research (Photo 2-5-4, Photo 2-5-5).

Japanese Nobel Prize Laureates

Photo 2-5-4: Ei-ichi Negishi, Distinguished Professor of Purdue University (Courtesy of Prof. Negishi)
Photo 2-5-4: Ei-ichi Negishi, Distinguished Professor of Purdue University (Courtesy of Prof. Negishi)

Photo 2-5-5: Akira Suzuki, Emeritus Professor of Hokkaido University (Courtesy of Hokkaido University)
Photo 2-5-5: Akira Suzuki, Emeritus Professor of Hokkaido University (Courtesy of Hokkaido University)

[3] International Chemistry Olympiad Held in Japan

Various international competitions primarily for high school students who excel in science and mathematics are being held at many locations all over the world. Since FY 2004, MEXT has been supporting the parties lead groups to participate in the international competitions and carry out domestic selection through the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).
 Also in FY 2010, there were numerous Science Olympiads held in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, informatics, geography, and earth science, as well as the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), where students competed in research presentations. Japan achieved excellent results, including eight gold medal winners.
 FY 2010 was particularly memorial year since Japan hosted the 42nd International Chemistry Olympiad. Two hundred sixty-seven student participants got together from 68 countries and regions, and the competition was held for 10 days, from July 19 to 28.
 The opening ceremony on July 20 enjoyed the presence of Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino, and was followed by an experimental test (on the 22nd) and a written examination (on the 24th), each which lasted five hours. In addition, organizers arranged opportunities for participants to be exposed to Japanese culture through such as activities as sightseeing in Nikko and Kamakura, and experiencing judo. At the Olympiad, all members of the Japanese team (four students) won medals; two received gold, and two silver, an exciting achievement. (Photo 2-5-6, Photo 2-5-7)
 After the competition, the Japanese team made a courtesy visit to MEXT and received a testimonial and memento from then-Senior Vice Minister of MEXT, Mr. Nakagawa. Then they enjoyed an informal talk with him, sharing their future dreams, and the Senior Vice Minister gave them words of support.
 It is expected that this International Chemistry Olympiad held in Japan will raise interest in participation in the International Science Olympiads as a goal of students who love science and mathematics, and that Japanese society on the whole will come to value such students even more.

[Results of Japan team]

Hiroki Uratani, Shiga Prefectural Zeze High School (Shiga Pref.) 2nd grade, Silver medal
Kenichi Endo, Eiko Gakuen Junior and Senior High School (Kanagawa Pref.) 3rd grade, Gold medal
Kengo Kataoka, Junior & Senior High School at Komaba, University of Tsukuba (Tokyo Pref.) 3rd grade, Silver medal
Hayate Saito, NADA Junior and Senior High School (Hyogo Pref.) 2nd grade, Gold medal

  • The grades given are the levels these students were at during the time of the International Chemistry Olympiad.

Photo 2-5-6: Experimental test held for a lengthy five hours at Waseda University.
Photo 2-5-6: Experimental test held for a lengthy five hours at Waseda University.

Photo 2-5-7: The International Chemistry Olympiad Japan team whose all members won a medal.
Photo 2-5-7: The International Chemistry Olympiad Japan team whose all members won a medal.

On Preservation/Maintenance of Nara Palace Site one of the Special Historic Sites and Rebuilding Former Imperial Audience Hall

(1) On Preservation/Maintenance of Nara Palace Site one of the Special Historic Sites

Heijyo-kyo was a Nara Period's capital which blossomed as a center of politics and culture for 74 years from the time when Empress Gemmei transferred the capital from Fujiwara-kyo in 710 to the time when Emperor Kammu transferred the capital to Nagaoka-kyo in 784. Nara Palace was located in northern central (with the area of approximately one square kilometer) of the capital, and Daigoku-den (imperial audience hall), Chodo-in (state halls), and others were built at the site. After abolishment of the capital, the land of Heijyo-kyo rapidly altered to fields of rice and other crops, and had been buried for a long time. However, during the time between the end of Edo Period and Meiji Period, the momentum of preservation arose, and remains of Chodo-in and Daigoku-den were designated as a historic site in 1922, and about 131 hectares of land is now designated as a special historic site and nationalized. Also, it is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site as a part of heritage of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" in 1998. Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has continuously conducted academic investigations since 1959 and revealed the structure and transitions of Nara Palace. Based on the academic investigations, the Agency for Cultural Affairs established "Basic Plan for Preservation and Maintenance of Special Historic Site of Nara Palace Site" in 1978, and has conducted the renovation project to maintain and defined the whole Nara Palace Site as an Archaeological Site Museum, and completed rebuilding of Suzaku-mon Gate, Toin Teien Garden, the estimated Kunai-syo (Imperial Household Ministry) and others. And, rebuilding and development of Former Imperial Audience Hall, which is the most important in the Nara Palace Site, completed in 2010 which was the 1,300th year since the capital was transferred to Heijyo-kyo. These rebuilt structures are broadly open to the people. The Agency for Cultural Affairs will plan better preservation and practical use of Nara Palace Site in coroperation with National Parks Development Project by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) into the future.

(2) On Rebuilding Former Imperial Audience Hall

Imperial Audience Hall was the building where an emperor arrived at for national ceremony such as an enthronement ceremony etc. Two Imperial Audience Halls were discovered at Nara Palace Site, the one built in first half of Nara Period is called Former Imperial Audience Hall, and the one in the second half is called Latter Imperial Audience Hall. Regarding rebuilding of the Former Imperial Audience Hall, the execution design was done from 1998 through 2000, the rebuilding started in 2001, and it completed in 2010. A completion ceremony was held with presence of the Crown Prince at the Former Imperial Audience Hall as a main site in April of that year. Also in October in that year, a commemoration festival was held under the auspices of the Association for Projects Commemorating events of the 1300th Anniversary of Nara Heijo-kyo Capital with presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress. When rebuilding, Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties examined Nara Period Style (design, structure, material, etc.) based on the outcome from excavation surveys as well as by reference to historical literatures, picture material, existing ancient architectures, etc., and the government conducted the rebuilding construction. Meanwhile, in order to secure the safety, structural analysis using computer and examination with scale model were conducted. Also, it conforms to construction laws and regulations such as current Building Standards Act and Fire Service Act etc., for example, with installation of leading edge seismic isolator within the stylobate, it is built on the embanked remains without piling to keep the protection as the highest priority. In order to let people to understand intrinsic feature and spatial scale, inside of the building is furnished with a full-size model of an imperial throne (total height: 7.5m, width: about 7.1m) placed in the center, small walls on which the paint of Four Symbols, twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac, and cloud is drawn by a Japanese-style painter Atsushi Uemura who resides in Nara, and colored Rengemon (lotus pattern) is painted on the ceiling by the painter.

[Overview of Former Imperial Audience Hall]

- Structure: Wooden building with a multi-layered gambrel roof
- Construction area: 1,387m2
- Floor area: 858m2
- Dimensions: Width (east to west): approximately 44 m
 Depth (south to north): approximately 19.5 m
 Height of ridge (total height): approximately 27.1 m

Former Imperial Audience Hall
Former Imperial Audience Hall

Support Program to Facilitate School Education for Foreign Children (Bridging Course)

- Bridging Course

Brazilians living in Japan rapidly increased since 1988 (registered Brazilians: about 4,000 in 1988, about 317 thousands in 2007 at its peak). However, due to economic down turn since 2008, employment of foreign residents in Japan became unstable. Accordingly, payment for Brazilian school became difficult, and some children could not go to school.
 MEXT has conducted Support Program to Facilitate School Education for Foreign Children for the children facing such situations for three years since 2009. The program is to establish classes to instruct Japanese language and ensure their study habit, and to enable smooth transfer to the school.
 These classes are called "Bridging Course" because of hope of the classes to play a role of the bridge between children and school, being contributed to children with a number of people concerned such as instructors of Japanese, bilingual instructors, coordinators, and others.

Example of Bridging Course(Fukuroi City, Sizuoka Pref.)
Example of Bridging Course(Fukuroi City, Sizuoka Pref.)

- Implementation status

The "rainbow bridge class" is a quite international class where children who study at are from not only Brazil but also various countries such as Peru, China, Vietnam, Philippine, Cambodia, and so on. The classes are operated by various organizations such as Boards of education, University Corporations, NPOs, and Brazilian schools depending on its local situation.
 Currently, about 2,440 children are learning in 42 classes aiming to enter a school (as of the end of March 2011), and 642 children succeeded to enter a school in the past (through the end of March 2011).
 Furthermore, the program achieved more than school entrance. First, by coordinating with Boards of education and local community, it could create environment where children easily entered a school. For example, by joining school-provided lunch at the local school, children experienced setting dishes, serving food, and clearing table, then they felt familiar with school life, which resulted in their better understanding of school and mitigation in psychological hurdle
 Also, the program could build the base where the children and local community could interact each other. For example, interactions and mutual understanding between the children and local community were improved by children's participation in various events such as local festival, playing sports with local children, field trip to try bus/train led by Japanese college students, Tsugaku-Gassyuku that means going to school from public accommodation where they stayed in a group.

Multi-cultural Futsal Games(Minokamo City, Gifu Pref.)
Multi-cultural Futsal Games(Minokamo City, Gifu Pref.)

- Further efforts

While executing the program, it turned out that it is important to let children have "confidence" and "dream," and be willingness to live with positive attitude by themselves in order to improve their motivation for going school.
 Therefore, MEXT has begun effort to invite old boys and girls, who had come to Japan from Brazil and other countries, studied and now work in Japan, as a "bridging supporter," and to uncover children's "future dream" by creating these children's own Photo Story through interaction with old boys and girls. MEXT is making the efforts hoping that children can tell their future dream with confidence, and will learn and grow up toward the dream.

Execution of "Bridging Supporter"(Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Pref.)
Execution of "Bridging Supporter"(Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Pref.)

“The Vision for Education Informatization”

In the knowledge-based society where new knowledge, information, and technologies become the foundation and are increasingly important in politics, economy, culture and all other areas, ICT in education is vital for basic survival in the 21st century. The children who live in the 21st century need to possess a "zest for life" to gain academic abilities, richness in humanity and sound bodies. Information literacy is the ability to handle necessary information well by collecting, making judgments, processing, editing, creating, demonstrating and using, messaging, and communicating, and this ability contributes to an individual’s "zest for life." This idea is consistent with the concept of key competencies recognized by OECD and the European Commission. ICT offer features which are independent of time and location, interactive, easily customizable, and more. It has now become important in promoting individualized learning responding to each child's abilities and personalities, and collaborative learning where children can teach and learn among themselves by making use of such resources along with conventional, mass learning. The importance of ICT in education is increasing is in terms of an overall decline in Japan's international competitiveness, measures of various issues in scholastic ability, and the achievements of safe and secure schools.
 Based on this idea, MEXT established "A Vision for Education Informatization" which is a comprehensive promotion measure for ICT in education, especially at the elementary and secondary education levels. This vision was put together and established based on, and grew out of the investigation by the MEXT Discussion Group on Informatization of School Education(The chairperson: Professor Yuichiro Anzai of Keio University Science and Technology), "The New Strategy in Information and Communications Technology" (Decision reached by The Strategic Headquarters for the Promotion of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society, May 11, 2010), "New Growth Strategy (Japanese Cabinet decision, June 18, 2010), and their roadmaps.
(URL: http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/houdou/23/04/1305484.htm)
 Based on A Vision for Education Informatization, MEXT will conduct a filed study(named as the Learning Innovation Project) primarily in “soft, human, and education (as opposed to hardware infrastructure and technology)” In concrete terms, MEXT will work on a comprehensive field study, developing model contents of digital textbooks and teaching methods using digital textbooks, selecting the function necessary for one-terminal-per-pupil, and verifying results and effects according to student’s development stages and subjects. MEXT will do this in cooperation with the Future School Promotion Project, a filed study conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on the aspects of hardware, infrastructure, and ICT.

Fig. 2-8-1 Example of a Learning Environment Suitable for the 21st Century and Learning Based Thereon

Fig. 2-8-1 Example of a Learning Environment Suitable for the 21st Century and Learning Based Thereon

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Lifelong Learning Policy Bureau Policy Planning and Coordination Division

(Lifelong Learning Policy Bureau Policy Planning and Coordination Division)

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