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Educational excellence relies heavily on the qualities and abilities of teachers. Especially, teachers today are responsible for bringing up children in an era of rapid change. Children need to acquire a "Zest for Living" with properties such as well-rounded character, and abilities to learn and think on their own. And therefore, it is increasingly significant to ensure appealing and competent teachers.
A teacher's quality and ability develop through their entire career from teacher-training system at university, recruitment and in-service training. It is necessary to conduct a comprehensive implementation of relevant measures at each stage of teachers' development in order to help them to improve skills and ability. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has implemented the following measures from that point of view.
|1) Teacher-training system at university|
In the area of teacher-training system at university, teachers are encouraged to have a sense of mission, areas of strength, and the capability to deal with issues in actual situations. According to the partial amendment of the Education Personnel Certificate Law in 1998, improvements have been made in teacher training curriculum at universities, and "subjects relating to school-teaching", which focus on new teaching methods and establishing meaningful contact with children and which directly affect the implementation of educational activities at schools, have been strengthened. This new curriculum was applied to all the university students or students who entered universities or equivalent institutions in 2000. In addition to these measures, the coordination between universities that provide teacher training and boards of education has been enhanced.
|2) Teacher recruitment|
In view of recruiting many ideal teachers with versatile with great personalities, screening tests for teachers were improved, and now, the personality of a candidate is regarded as more important than before. Local and regional boards of education examine the academic performance, and evaluate personality and experience in society through interviews and practical exams. (See Table 1-4-1 ) Also, by the proper use of the conditional recruitment period system, the boards of education attempt to determine the eligibility of newly employed teachers.
|3) In-service training of teachers|
Teachers are expected to improve their ability continuously though a daily exercise of education and voluntary learning. Prefectural boards of education, being the appointing bodies of teachers, are required to provide appropriate training opportunities for teachers. A variety of training programs like Induction training for newly employed teachers have been systematically arranged so that teachers receive necessary training according to their experiences, specialties, and functions.
The "Independent administrative institution National Center for Teachers' Training" was established in April, 2001, so that training provided by the Government would be conducted in a comprehensive and integrated manner. The Center provides training for teachers who take leadership roles in prefectures and other locations; it also provides some training on urgent educational issues (See Figure 1-4-1 ).
|1) Training Program for Teachers with Ten years of Experience|
The need for improved teaching skills and for more eligible teachers has greatly increased with the issuance of the new Courses of Study. Teachers are required to lead students to acquire basic and solid knowledge, to cultivate the ability to learn and think on their own, and to improve academic rigor, and at the same time, to enhance emotional education. The Law for Special Regulations Concerning Educational Public Service Personnel was partially amended in June 2002, and the Training Program for Teachers with Ten years of Experience was systematized. This is a system where the appointment bodies of teachers are obliged to provide training for teachers with about 10-year teaching experience. Appropriate training should be provided within a certain period after the lapse of 10 years. Types of training are decided according to the ability or aptitude of each teacher as assessed by the past records. This training program is expected to start in FY 2003.
|2) Expansion of the Long-term Social Experience Training Program|
Teachers are members of society as well. Especially in an era of rapid change in society like today, teachers are required to have broad perspectives gained through various experiences. From this point of view, the Long-term Social Experience Training Program is provided to teachers so that they can gain working experience in private companies, social welfare facilities, social education facilities, and others for one month to one year. It has gained increasing popularity in recent years across the country. ( Table 1-4-2 )
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has worked for the expansion of this Long-term Social Experience Training Program by supporting efforts made by each board of education since FY 2001.
|3) Leave for Graduate School Study System|
Leave for Graduate School Study System started in April 2001 in order to support the autonomous and teacher-initiated training activities. This system has made it possible for teachers of publicly owned schools to leave teaching positions for a certain period to study at graduate schools. It is a good system for teachers with awareness of problems which arose in their own experiences. 348 teachers use this system as of April 1, 2002.
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