Full Text
Home > Policy > White Paper, Notice, Announcement > White Paper > Japanese Government Policies in Education, Science, Sports and Culture1999 > Part2 Q18

Part2 Educational Reform Q&A
Q18: During my first year at school,there were81children in the school year,but as we advanced to the second year one person left,leaving80students.Because of this the number of classes dropped from three to two.If student numbers drop by just one,does this mean that class numbers will drop too?

A:The decision to do this differs among pre-fectures and municipalities,but class numbers do not necessarily drop.

Class size and teacher numbers are important factors in maintaining and raising the quality and standards of education.With regard to compulsory education at ele-mentary and lower secondary school,in order that a fixed standard be maintained in quality of education throughout the country,the Govern-ment of Japan has established in law that teacher numbers are determined in accordance with class size and class numbers.The Government also pays half of the teachers' salaries.Under this system,while municipalities es-tablish and operate elementary and lower secon-dary schools,the education conducted in mu-nicipal schools is supported by mutual coopera-tion and coordination between the central gov-ernment,prefectures and municipalities.In other words,it is a joint venture.Consequently,prefectures and municipalities may only determine class sizes in accordance with the established standards laid down by the central government.Class size is stipulated by law to be a maxi-mum of40pupils or students.In other words,if student numbers reach forty-one,the class will be split into two classes of20and21students respectively.However,in special circumstances,a class may be flexibly organized without following the above-mentioned regulation on the maximum number of students per class.For example,in the following circumstances there are cases where,with the permission of the prefecture,classes are organized differently to the40pupil maximum:

1) In the second year of lower secondary school,a total of81people would comprise three classes of27students.If one person were to leave in the third year,then according to the standards,the students would find them-selves in two classes of40but there are cases in which three classes would be main-tained until the graduation of the class in consideration of their educational interests.
2) Conversely,if student numbers total eighty students and another student joins them,bringing numbers to81,two classes would be maintained to respond to requests by stu-dents or parents/guardians to not split up classmates.
3) In school zones where large housing faciliti-es are built,student numbers would be fore-cast to rise dramatically and if the class were to increase suddenly mid-way through the year,there are cases where class numbers would be increased in advance to anticipate this.

In the report of the Central Council for Edu-cation,"How Local Administration on Educa-tion Should Be,"the following points have been indicated and investigation is proceeding to-wards realizing them:

1) To bring teacher-student ratios closer to levels in the United States and Europe
2) To put in place the necessary legislation to enable flexible class organization
3) To ensure more flexible operations in the deployment of teachers in order to provide instruction that responds to the circum-stances of individual schools
Improvements in Legal Standards for Class Sizes

(C)COPYRIGHT Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

Back to Top   MEXT HOME