Wednesday, September 5, 2018

MEXT Minister Hayashi attends the G20 Education Ministers’ Meeting held on September 5 in Mendoza City, Argentina.

This is the first Education Ministers’ Meeting held on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit. The ministers opened the meeting by introducing their nation’s educational policies including curriculum reform and improving the quality of teachers. Host country Argentina proposed to utilize the two online platforms already launched to share information on countries’ good practices and scholarships.

Japanese Education Minister Hayashi spoke on the role of education towards a new era of drastic change, and the situation of education reform in Japan. The minister introduced a study predicting that half the children born in the year 2007 will live up to 107-years-old. Minister Hayashi said although we have conventionally viewed a person’s lifespan based on the premise of studying until 23, working for about 40 years, and living 15-20 years in retirement, under an extended lifespan, people will spend more than 40 years in retirement which is too long. The minister continued that in an age of the 100-Year Life, we must change our premise to working and retiring at around 80-years-old. In such era, recurrent education will also play a crucial role.

Minister Hayashi also spoke about the importance of investment in education. In Japan, a new policy will take effect from October 2019 parallel to the scheduled tax hike, allowing all preschool children between the ages of 3 to 5 access to free education.

The minister also introduced measures being advanced to reduce households’ educational burden by expanding the scholarship system to enable all students having the desire and knowledge, the opportunity to attend university without giving up for financial reasons.

Minister Hayashi said these issues are not specific to Japan. He said in an age of longevity, many countries will soon be confronted with the same issues and stressed the importance of sharing wisdom and experiences now, towards finding a solution.

A G20 Education Ministers’ Declaration was adopted at the meeting. The nations recognized the need to place education at the center of the global agenda and called for collective action.

After the meeting, Minister Hayashi said the discussions were meaningful in realizing that G20 nations face common challenges. The Japanese minister said since Japan will be the G20 host nation in 2019, the government will steadily work to meet the commitments affirmed in the Mendoza Declaration and sustain the meetings’ momentum.

*G20   An international conference participated by G7 industrialized nations along with 20 countries and regions.