Elementary and lower secondary schools must aim to secure a fixed school size to create an ideal educational environment which fosters students’ qualities and capabilities through advancing friendly competition within groups by sharing diverse ideas and mutually recognizing and cooperating with one another.

 The declining social functions of households and local communities, along with an estimated mid-to-long-term advance in declining birthrates has caused increased concern towards various educational issues manifested from the downsizing of schools.

 As such, local governments which are responsible for establishing public elementary and lower secondary schools are increasingly called on to continuously consider and implement from an educational perspective, vigorous school-building measures which correspond to local situations and declining birthrates. There are a variety of options including advancing measures to make schools more attractive through the consolidation of schools, or continuing the use of small-scale schools by advancing measures to mitigate their disadvantages.

 MEXT has formulated “Guidelines for Proper Size and Placement of Public Elementary and Lower Secondary Schools” which outlines the basic direction and points of consideration for local boards of education providing direction, advice and support when considering the propriety of the consolidation of schools, or examining measures to enhance the educational effects of continuing to use small-size schools.

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(Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau Elementary and Secondary Education Planning Division)