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The purpose of moral education is to foster morality as a foundation on which schoolchildren can acquire awareness of what human life calls for and of their approach to life. Since education is the process of character formation, moral education can be regarded as a fundamental part of school education. The development of morality has become particularly important in recent years because of social changes, including the trends toward nuclear families and fewer children per family and because of the need to foster healthy human relations and prevent problem behavior, such as bullying and delinquency.
The content of moral education has therefore been substantially enhanced under the new Courses of Study. Enhancements include the restructuring and prioritization of teaching content to take into account such aspects as the moral development of schoolchildren.
In fiscal 1993 the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture conducted an exhaustive survey on the implementation of moral education under the new Courses of Study. The survey covered public and private elementary and lower secondary schools and boards of education throughout Japan. The results indicate that almost all elementary and lower secondary schools have now drawn up teaching plans for moral education and are using supplementary readers, and that moral education is being promoted both through the subject of "moral education" and through school education as a whole.
There was also evidence of wide-ranging efforts in such areas as in-service training of teachers conducted in schools and cooperation with parents and local communities. In general, the survey results show that a great deal is being done to improve moral education. It is also apparent, however, that problems still exist. For example, it is necessary to ensure that sufficient class hours are provided for moral education in the school year and that instruction in moral education is harmonized across the entire range of content.
On the basis of these survey results, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture is working to enhance and promote moral education through implementation of the following measures.
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