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Chapter 3:Measures to be implemented comprehensively and systematically for the next five years

(1) Basic policy

 Traditionally, when the government establishes and implements education measures, most often, a certain specific theme of focus is selected first, such as “curriculum,” “reforming fixed staffing quotas of teachers and administrative personnel at schools,” “higher education,” etc. Then measures will be designed within such selected themes. However, this Basic Plan for the Promotion of Education is meant to review individual measures transversely, to ensure comprehensive promotion of educational measures.

 Also, we have to admit that the education measures established in the past are not necessarily sufficient in term of the execution of the PDCA cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Action), that is the procedure to clarify objectives, verify results objectively and take action against visualized problems to improve measures. In order to improve our measures in the future, it is necessary to assess the outcome resulting from the implementation of previous measures. Based on this review, this Plan intends to make education measures more efficient and effective by introducing the PDCA cycle into respective measures.

 Based on the above policy, the following sections of this Chapter explain the educational measures to be implemented comprehensively and systematically in the next five years, based on the understanding of the current situation and problems in Japan described in Chapter 1 as well as the educational vision which should be pursued over the next ten years as described in Chapter 2.

 Key points for overall measures are as follows.

1) Horizontal cooperation: Strengthening society-wide joint efforts for education

 Education aims not only to empower individuals to live better lives, but also to form values that support society. Therefore, implementation of education requires involvement of diverse parties in both public and private sectors, including the national and local governments, schools, guardians of children, citizens of local communities, companies, social and educational organizations, private educational enterprises, NPOs, media, etc.

 Of those parties, the national government, local public organizations, schools and guardians of children who are directly engaged in education have major responsibilities, needless to say. But it is also hoped that other parties such as citizens of local communities and companies will make an active commitment to school operation or educational activities through cooperation or participation with the intension of sharing responsibilities as a member of society, instead of being passive.

 Regarding the stance of schools, we often hear criticism that school operators tend to be closed and passive to asking for cooperation from outsiders. It is necessary for schools and the administration in charge of education to take such criticism seriously and make efforts to make schools transparent by welcoming cooperation from diverse parties. The national and local governments also need to reform their bureaucratic “sectionalism” for an organization-wide commitment to education.

 At the same time, when we think of the expected role of “intelligence” as the force driving to facilitate social and state development into the future, when we expect to enter an age of internationalized knowledge-based society, it is hoped that respective parties involved in education will not only fulfill their own responsibilities but also strengthen horizontal cooperation to promote education to foster “intelligence” through society-wide joint efforts.

 For example, one of the important goals for the future is to establish a new integrated mechanism that combines school education with social education or schools with local communities. It is hoped that such mechanism will make it possible to provide people with sufficient learning opportunities responding to diverse needs in the society and also further improve the quality of education thanks to combined effects.

 Society-wide commitment to education through combined efforts would also contribute to community building through voluntary participation of individual citizens and to the creation of a sound society as well. At the same time, to show children this cooperation by diverse parties from diverse generations in diverse styles would be a good lesson for them. From this lesson, children can directly learn the significance of labor, ties with society and social participation, and such learning could widen children’s field of vision or heighten their motivation in life.

2) Vertical connections: Materializing lifelong learning society based on consistent principles

 The revised Basic Act on Education shows principles of new age education, and the School Education Act reflects the principles in specifying goals of compulsory education and goals of each stage of school education. Now it is necessary for lifelong learning opportunities to be secured in society based on the said principles.

 In a new age society facing rapid changes, it will be more and more important for individuals to build character and improve themselves not only through school education but also through lifelong learning. People should make lifelong efforts to build willpower and enhance their ability to live better and seek richer lives.

 These necessary strengths include “strengths to lead a life” as indicated by the government as one of the goals of primary and secondary education as well as “the ability to pursue one’s own ends” for higher education.

 Also, the OECD identifies “key competencies” that are essential for children in the “knowledge-based society.” Three major categories of such key competencies are: (1) using social, cultural and physical tools interactively, (2) interacting in socially heterogeneous groups, and (3) acting autonomously.

 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) promotes Education for Sustainable Development(※1) that aims to raise individuals who have abilities to regard the issues concerning sustainability as their own, think globally, act locally, and become leaders in establishing sustainable society. The United Nations designated the ten years from 2005 to 2015 as the “United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.” Such global effort for establishing sustainable society is one of the important principles of education in Japan.

 Those principles, consistent with the principles of Japan’s Basic Act on Education, should be taken into account in seeking to realize a society where all people have access to high-quality education and learning opportunities throughout a lifetime, according to their development stage or situation, and are able to take advantage of what they have acquired from learning.

 To this end, it is important to pay close attention to the connections of respective education stages, while taking into account the role and goals of each stage. For example, education starts at home, followed by early childhood education, and then it goes to elementary school, junior high school, high school, university and further to the working stage. It is important to ensure a smooth connection from stage to stage as well as cooperation between stages. Furthermore, it is important to make it possible for those who have completed or dropped out of school to come back or to receive social education according to their needs.

 It is also necessary to strengthen cooperation between universities and primary and secondary education schools, so that schools can use advanced research results achieved by universities, in order to improve schools’ teaching methods or curriculums.


※1 During the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg Summit) in 2002, Japan made a proposal for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (hereinafter referred to as “DESD”). At the 57th United Nations General Assembly in 2002, the United Nations adopted a resolution to put in place “DESD,” spanning from 2005 to 2014, and UNESCO was designated as the lead agency for the promotion of the DESD.

3) Clarifying respective roles of the national and local governments

 Paragraph 1, Article 16 of the revised Basic Act on Education provides that education administration should be carried out in a fair and proper manner through appropriate role sharing and cooperation between the national and local governments. It also provides for their respective roles and responsibilities in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the same Article. Thus, it is essential for the national and local governments to understand their own responsibilities in implementing education measures.

 The national government is responsible for establishing the framework of educational systems and standards of the Courses of Study to maintain or improve educational standards. It is also responsible for providing all people nationwide with equal opportunities to receive education and providing support and assistance to guarantee and improve the quality of higher education. With an understanding of those basic responsibilities, the national government is required to clearly show, in the Basic Plan for the Promotion of Education, necessary actions to be taken for the next five years based on a ten-year projection, and check results periodically in carrying out measures.

 On the other hand, local governments are responsible for implementing education that suits the needs and circumstances of respective regions and also for improving the quality of their educational practices. Especially, local governments are in charge of the majority of education-related administrative works, including clerical works for primary and secondary education and social education. It is hoped that local governments will act autonomously to implement education, as such attitude is consistent with the decentralization policy.

 Based on the understanding of the above, this Basic Plan for the Promotion of Education clarifies shared responsibilities between the national and local governments and also shows the stance of the national government to leave final decision-making in the hands of local governments as far as it concerns administrative matters governed by a local government, even when such matters are relevant to the initiatives of the national government to be promoted in the framework of national education measures. In that case, the national government would simply “encourage” the local government concerned to act consistently with the national government. On the basis of such respect for autonomy, the national and local governments should cooperate with each other to promote respective measures.

(2) Basic Directions of Education Measures

 Based on the aforementioned basic policy, this Basic Plan for the Promotion of Education sets four basic directions of the education measures to be implemented by the national government for the next five years. Also, examples of goals to be achieved through the basic directions are explained below for each basic direction.

Basic Direction 1:Materialization of society-wide commitment to improve education

 With rapid social changes, schools, families and local communities have been changing, as well as their respective functions. It has been pointed out that the educational functions of families and local communities seem to have weakened in recent years. On the other hand, we also see the tendency for more and more citizens to help out in activities at local schools. Another tendency seen today is the increasing participation of people in local volunteering activities, especially from the baby-boomer generation who retired from work. Taking those recent tendencies into account, combined efforts of relevant parties for education should be made, while respecting the voluntary participation of local communities and establishing new collaborative mechanisms.

 For example, local citizens’ varied assistance in school operations as well as the social contribution of schools to allow local citizens to use a school building for their learning activities would help strengthen mutual trust, which is significantly meaningful in terms of establishing new relationships for the future. Accumulation of such commitment will improve schools and communities.

 Also, the home is where education starts. Parents and guardians need to be fully conscious of their primary responsibility of cultivating a wide range of sensibilities in children, teaching children basic lifestyles, and fostering an attitude of caring for family members and respecting life, basic morals such as the ability to tell right from wrong, social manners, self-control and independence. In order to improve such education at home, while respecting the autonomy of each family, assistance from childrearing-related organizations, local citizens, kindergartens and day care centers is quite important.

 Other examples of combined efforts include assistance for schools with the use of social education facilities as well as volunteer activities by local citizens at those facilities. Such collaboration surrounding education tends to expand in diverse fields. It is necessary to aggressively promote and support such movement so that collaboration will expand further. It is also important to ask businesses to understand education and provide assistance. It is hoped that education will function interactively with society to effectively respond to social needs.

 We are expected to face rapid social changes in the future, and in order for us to acquire independence in living, continue to improve abilities and realize a healthy, good life in the future, it is necessary to promote society-wide efforts to build a social mechanism that enables us to enjoy learning activities throughout our lifetimes and utilize what we have learned as a society or as individuals.

 Implementing measures based on said basic direction, the government aims at the following:

◆ Enable everyone to obtain assistance for childrearing or learning activities through the combined efforts of local communities, and also participate in such assistance-providing activities.

◆ Enable everyone to enjoy learning opportunities at universities, etc. to satisfy their learning needs.

Basic Direction 2:Development of people’s basic strengths to lead the lives of independent citizens and members of society, through ability building on the basis of respect for individuality

 Primary and secondary education to be provided from early childhood to the high school stage forms the basic strengths of individuals. Paragraph 2, Article 6 of the revised Basic Act on Education provides that schools shall, in order to fulfill the objectives of education, provide a structured education in an organized way suited to the mental and physical development of the recipients and that it shall be carried out in a way that emphasizes instilling the recipients with respect for the discipline necessary to conduct school life, and strengthening their own motivation to learn. In accordance with this provision, it is necessary to guarantee high-quality education in an organized way at each stage of school education, directing it toward certain targets while carefully ensuring a smooth connection between school stages or smooth transition to the working stage. The aim is for individual children to be able to improve their motivation to learn and develop academic abilities, while developing rich minds and healthy bodies. This makes it possible for them to successfully face rapid social changes in the future and lead independent and happy lives.

 It is necessary for us to understand the principles of the revised Basic Act on Education and the revised School Education Act, and seek to foster “Zest for living” in individual children, through all stages of education  from early childhood education to compulsory education that ranges from elementary to junior high schools, to high school education. It is all necessary in special needs education, provided for children in need of special assistance, to help them maximize their potential and develop the ability to be independent and participate in society.

 To this end, it is necessary to seek quality improvement in education at each school stage, by constantly updating the contents of education and reviewing textbooks that play a significant role as the principal teaching material. It is also important to address issues of children in need of special assistance, including non-attendance at school, bullying and juvenile delinquency.

 For primary and secondary education above the elementary school period, it is necessary to set the environment for teachers to pay one-on-one attention to individual children while addressing diverse educational issues.

 Implementing measures based on said basic direction, the government aims at the following:

◆ Foster solid academic abilities of children, including fundamental knowledge and skills, abilities to think logically as well as critically, to pass fair judgments and to express themselves well, and motivation to learn and learning habits. Here, the government aims for world-class academic standards. To this end, international surveys on children’s academic abilities will be utilized to ensure that the proportion of high-performers will increase and that overall academic standards of Japanese children will be raised by decreasing the number of low-performers.

◆ Teach children basic lifestyles and social norms for distinguishing right from wrong, and foster their respect for life, consideration of others and an attitude to behave well with observing laws and rules. It is important to help more children feel positive about school, in terms of “observing school rules,” “being satisfied with school life” and “being mentally ready to have lessons in class.”

◆ Encourage children to acquire exercise habits, interest in sports and athletic abilities so that they can enjoy sports throughout their lifetimes. Here, we need to understand the significance of sports/exercise in fostering a spirit of fair play and in contributing to character building, and promote sports at schools and local communities. It is hoped that this will put the brakes on the current trend of the weakening physical strengths of Japanese children and even reverse the trend. By verifying the results of our efforts through national surveys on children’s physical strengths and athletic abilities, etc., the government aims for children’s physical strengths to return to the level it was in 1985.

Basic Direction 3:Development of human resources with a wide range of essential knowledge, expertise and intelligence to support social development

 Higher education is expected to play a significant role in the future “knowledge-based society” in the creation and development of “intelligence” and succession to future generations. Besides, higher education is expected to function effectively in building the characters of individuals, encouraging lifelong learning, as well as promoting social, economic and cultural development and improvement and securing international competitiveness. The role of higher education is also significant when we think of global issues, including environmental conservation, as higher education contributes to the human resources development necessary for solving those issues.

 In order to satisfy those diverse needs and expectations for higher education, it is necessary for universities, junior colleges, colleges of technology and professional training colleges to understand their own positions, expected roles and functions in developing their education and research activities and also make efforts to improve themselves through competition that displays their unique characteristics and features.

 It is important to pay attention to Article 7 of the revised Basic Act on Education, which has introduced the provision concerning universities, to clearly show the responsibility of universities to contribute to the development of society by broadly making available their academic and scientific achievements, while confirming their conventional role of pursuing two main activities: education and research.

 It is hoped that universities will live up to the expectations of society, which are to assure and constantly improve the quality of education and to develop specialists equipped with a wide range of intelligence, humanity, expertise and the ability to take advantage of their specialty in diverse fields and places, ranging from a local community to the international arena. Here, universities need to clearly display their unique characteristics and features based on their own education principles and also deepen cooperation with other universities and businesses inside and outside the country as well as with elementary schools or junior high schools. It is also hoped that universities will ensure the creation, succession and development of “intelligence,” as education and research centers with international competitiveness.

 The national government needs to promote institutional reform and development, such as improvement of evaluation systems and also provide necessary information to encourage universities to promote their autonomous initiatives. Also, the national government is supposed to deliberate over the vision of higher education from a mid- and long-term prospect and finalize their plan, by positioning the next five years as a turning point in higher education for launching necessary reforms.

 Implementing measures based on said basic direction, the government aims at the following:

◆ Ensure development of abilities commonly required for university graduates. From this standpoint, a scheme for securing the quality of university education needs to be established, aiming at clarification of desirable undergraduate curriculums and introduction of strict assessment of learning achievements of undergraduate students. The government assists respective universities’ organizational promotion of their initiatives.

◆ Develop human resources capable of contributing to the creation, succession and development of “intelligence.” From this standpoint, the government aims at the formation of education and research centers with international competitiveness and a presence in diverse fields, and assists respective universities in the organizational promotion of their initiatives.

◆ Encourage universities to contribute to regional revitalization through combined efforts. From this standpoint, the government assists universities in the organizational promotion of their initiatives with the attitude of playing the central role in regional revitalization activities.

Basic Direction 4: Materialization of safety and security for children and creation of an environment for high-quality education

 For education for children, it is essential to ensure safety and high-quality learning facilities, so as to assist them in growing into the future and acquiring strengths for living through various experiences.

 It is necessary to promote improvement of educational facilities in safety and security, under appropriate distribution of roles between the national government and local governments; improving earthquake resistance of school facilities, for example. To ensure safety and security for children, it is important to promote cooperation between schools and administrative organs, including police, and also obtain outside assistance, such as the help of volunteers. At the same time, it is necessary for all schools nationwide to guarantee high-quality environments for education above a certain standard.

 Regarding private schools, which play an important role in public education systems, Article 8 of the revised Basic Act on Education has newly introduced a provision for private school education, and it is necessary for the government to assist private schools in promoting their activities through subsidies and other measures.

 Furthermore, it is necessary to promote measures to secure learning opportunities for those children who can competently go on to higher education but who are not able to make it due to financial reasons.

 Implementing measures based on said basic direction, the government aims at the following:

◆ Establish educational environments where children can learn with safety and security; safe school, for example.

◆ Secure learning opportunities for those who are competent enough to go on to higher education but are not able to make it due to financial reasons

(3) Measures for each basic direction

 With aiming at the aforementioned four basic directions, the government will mainly implement the following measures for the next five years, to realize an educational vision which should be pursued over the next ten years.

 Here, it is necessary to understand that the national and local governments, parents and guardians of children, companies, etc. are respectively supposed to take on the responsibility for implementation of education, and the following measures should be implemented based on such understanding.

Basic Direction 1:Materialization of society-wide commitment to improve education

1) Strengthening partnership and cooperation among schools, families and local residents to improve society-wide educational abilities

 In accordance with the provision of Article 13 of the revised Basic Act on Education (Partnership and Cooperation among Schools, Families and Local Residents), it is necessary to have the mechanism of partnership and cooperation settled in society in a way that takes a specific form of an activity in which everyone can participate, instead of a mere “willingness” without an action, while understanding the role and responsibilities of each party. To this end, the government is promoting the establishment of various systems of partnership and cooperation among schools, families and local residents, while seeking society-wide improvement of educational abilities.

【Measures】
◇ Promoting region-wide activities to support schools for sound growth of children

 Aiming at the establishment of partnership and cooperation between schools and local citizens in ensuring region-wide assistance for schools for the purpose of sound growth of children, the government encourages citizens to make an active commitment to regional school-assisting activities, such as the initiative called “Regional Headquarters for School Assistance” and other volunteering activities. The government is promoting such regional citizen-driven school assistance mechanism in every junior high school district nationwide, by promoting information sharing of all municipal governments concerning successful examples of such efforts. At the same time, the government is promoting, in cooperation with private organizations, the development of coordinators who play an important role as liaison between schools and local citizens or civic groups.

◇ Vitalizing schools by strengthening their combined efforts with families and local citizens

 The government is promoting the establishment of community schools (School Management Council System)(※2) that give parents, guardians and local citizens certain authorities, responsibilities in participating in school administration, with the aim of creating open-to-community and reliable schools. Regarding the school choice system of public schools, the government prompts municipalities to take the regional circumstances into consideration by actions such as implementing a model project of an optimal allocation of resources and school improvement initiatives based on it, in which interested regional Boards of Education participate. The national government evaluates guidelines for placement of schools such as school size and promotes appropriate placement to improve the quality of education, considering that each municipality has the authority to determine the actual placement based on the local needs.

◇ Establishing children’s bases to enjoy hands-on experiences and interchange activities after-school or on weekend

 The “After-school Plan for Children” consists of efforts to establish safe and secure bases for children, utilizing spare classrooms at elementary schools after school, on weekends, etc., and to promote various hands-on activities, interchange activities, learning activities, etc., obtaining the participation of various community members for the purpose of promoting children’s sound growth. The government encourages elementary schools nationwide to implement the Plan in cooperation with relevant ministries of the government.

 The government also encourages elementary schools to implement, in cooperation with relevant ministries of the government, “nature experience programs” or “camp programs” for their students as a stay program (for about one week, for instance), and assists in developing those programs and instructors necessary for such programs. In addition, the government is promoting implementation of “agriculture, fishery and forestry experience programs” for children, through cooperation of relevant ministries as well as involvement of farmers, fishers and forestry operators, so that children can deepen their understanding on the blessings of nature and learn about food-related work and activities through hands-on experiences.

◇ Promoting protection of youths from harmful materials

 In view of the serious impacts on children of harmful information coming from the Internet, mobile phones, and other media, including print publications, the national government is promoting, through cooperation of relevant ministries, the establishment of a scheme to protect children from harmful information in society. For example, institutional development has been promoted to strengthen regulations over “dating websites” operators on the Internet as well as over spam mails used as advertisement for the dating websites. Also, deliberation over measures to address harmful information on the Internet will be promoted. In addition, thorough utilization of “filtering” (to restrict access to harmful websites) should be promoted with mobile phones used by children. To this end, cooperation with relevant businesses will be promoted to raise pubic understanding about filtering and to educate parents, guardians and relevant parties to improve their recognition of filtering. At the same time, education to raise public understanding about the harmful influence of excessive dependence on media will be promoted, and information on morals education will also be promoted targeting families, schools and communities with the aim of protecting children from harmful information.

◇ Promoting collaborative assistance for children, youths and families

 Relevant ministries of the national government will deliberate over the issue of how assistance for children, youths and families should be comprehensively promoted through combined efforts of relevant parties, while encouraging local governments to promote their initiatives.

◇ Expanding mutual understanding, partnership and cooperation between companies and parties engaged in education

 In order to promote society-wide commitment to the improvement of education, it is meaningful for parties engaged in education to work jointly with businesses to discuss education issues and raise their mutual understanding. From this viewpoint, the government periodically arranges meetings to be held between companies and educators.

 The government encourages employers to ensure a work-life balance of their employees by optimizing their working conditions to allow for their participation in childrearing, learning activities, volunteering for local communities, etc. Also, the government asks for continuous cooperation of businesses for regional educational activities at schools or communities and also encourages businesses to introduce an educational point of view to their employment policy.

 At the same time, the government encourages the Boards of Education, universities and other parties engaged in education to increase and expand their partnership and cooperation with businesses.


※2 “Community school” (School Management Council System) gives parents, guardians and local citizens certain authorities and responsibilities in participating in school administration, and intends to promote school-community joint efforts to create good schools that are open to and supported by local citizens. This system has been institutionalized since September 2004 pursuant to the revised “Law Concerning Organization and Functions of Local Educational Administration.” As of July 1, 2007, a total of 213 schools have been designated as “community school” nationwide.

2) Seeking the improvement of educational abilities of families

 Article 10 of the revised Basic Act on Education (Education in the family) provides that parents and guardians, having the primary responsibility for their children’s education, shall endeavor to teach them the habits necessary for life, encourage a spirit of independence, and nurture the balanced development of their bodies and minds. It is necessary to promote assistance for families to raise the level of their educational abilities while respecting autonomy in each family, since family is where education starts. Also, not only cooperation among relevant ministries of the government but also society-wide joint assistance for home education is essential to ensuring that all parents can be confident in pursuing their childrearing activities.

【Measures】
◇ Implementing comprehensive measures to improve educational abilities of families by providing learning opportunities about childrearing, etc.

 The government is promoting comprehensive measures for education in the family. Those measures aim to, for instance, provide families with learning opportunities on childrearing and information on childrearing and develop human resources such as consultants and other specialists, and will be implemented through cooperation among relevant ministries of the government in a way that ensures the understanding of conditions and needs of individual families and respects autonomy of home education. Any successful examples of such measures will be widely publicized to all municipalities so that they can share useful information to build a team of specialists, consisting of those experienced in childrearing, welfare officers, public health nurses, etc., to make it possible for individual families to obtain necessary assistance in the neighbor.

◇ Promoting assistance for childrearing with the utilization of kindergartens, etc.

 The government is promoting assistance for childrearing with the utilization of human and material resources at kindergartens, daycare centers and Center for early childhood education and care. Such assistance includes opportunities for parents and guardians to use the facilities of kindergartens, etc., opportunities of exchanges with other parents and guardians, release of useful information, and consultation services on childrearing.

3) Responding to social needs of human resources development

 From the standpoint of realizing social independence of individuals and ensuring maintenance and improvement of the vitality of our society, it is necessary to promote education in a way that strengthens the interaction between education and career building or industrial society, by responding to the social needs of human resources. To this end, the government is promoting career education as well as vocational education in cooperation with businesses by paying attention to the significance of the smooth connections of education stages ranging from primary and secondary education to higher education. At the same time, the government is promoting the development of professionals with high levels of expertise in international competitiveness and the ability to cope with globalization.

【Measures】
◇ Promoting practical education such as career education, vocational education and education on manufacturing through the utilization of local human resources and private sectors

 In order to foster children’s attitude toward work and sociability, which would contribute to their future career planning and life planning, the government is promoting career education by obtaining the cooperation of economic organizations, PTAs, NPOs, etc. and through cooperation of relevant ministries. Career education is especially directed toward high schools, while encouraging junior high schools to provide students with opportunities to experience the workplace.

 Functions of special training colleges will be utilized to provide high school students with diverse vocational experiences. Also, in order to raise children’s interest in manufacturing and help them obtain knowledge and skills, programs to raise the level of children’s understanding about businesses and occupation will be promoted, such as manufacturing experience programs at elementary schools and junior high schools as well as education on manufacturing for specialized upper secondary schools to be implemented jointly with local businesses or economic circles.

◇ Promoting vocational education at specialized upper secondary schools

 The government is promoting unique vocational education to be implemented jointly by specialized upper secondary schools and local communities, in order to vitalize overall vocational education.

 In particular, practical education based on industry-academic collaboration will be promoted through cooperation with relevant ministries, with the aim of developing professionals with high-level expertise. Also, in order to improve the contents of education in response to industrial and social trends, regional demands and needs of students, and also to promote necessary collaboration or reorganization of school departments, introduction of advanced examples will be promoted. Also, in order for schools to improve the level of their specialty, the government assists their collaboration with universities.

◇ Promoting the development of professionals and creative technical experts with practical skills at universities, junior colleges, colleges of technology and specialized training colleges, etc.

 In order to develop professionals with high-level expertise and international competitiveness, “Guidelines on Measures for the Promotion of Graduate School Education” will be revised to assist professional graduate schools on improving the level of their education activities through collaboration with those professional or trade organizations associated with university personnel. The government will finalize a plan for the promotion of colleges of technology by the end of 2008 with the purpose of promoting the development of creative technical experts with practical skills who play an important role in succession, improvement and innovation of manufacturing technologies. The government assists in the development of education programs and teaching methods and other measures to be carried out jointly with local communities. The government also provides assistance for universities and junior colleges in promoting their initiatives to address strong social demands. In addition, the government encourages specialized training colleges to effectively display their functions of providing practical vocational education and specialized technology education to quickly respond to social changes.

◇ Strengthening human resources development through collaboration between businesses and local communities

 In order to satisfy social needs as to human resources development, the government considers it important for universities, businesses and communities to strengthen and expand their joint efforts to promote internship or development of educational programs. Also, the government is promoting joint research activities between universities and companies, the use of university-owned research achievements by businesses, and human resources development designed to satisfy industrial or regional needs.

4) Creating an environment for lifelong learning

 In accordance with the provision of Article 3 of the revised Basic Act on Education (Concept of Lifelong Learning), the government is promoting the creation of an environment necessary for people’s lifelong learning, by utilizing information and communication technologies, with the aim of ensuring that people can learn anytime anywhere throughout one’s life for character building and pursuit of a good life and can take advantage of one’s learning achievements as appropriate. As part of such effort, the government is promoting effective utilization of social education facilities such as libraries, museums and community halls that provide people with learning opportunities and play an important role in regional vitalization by empowering citizens. In addition, the government encourages those people engaged in social education to improve their abilities and promote collaborative efforts.

【Measures】
◇ Promoting the learning activities of citizens and assistance for independence of individuals and communities through the utilization of local libraries and museums.

-The government is promoting the function of libraries as “regional intelligence centers” that local citizens can use conveniently and frequently. Also, in order to improve the quality of librarians, the course of study for librarians will be reviewed as part of training improvement measures. Also, in accordance with the “Basic Plan for the Promotion of Children’s Reading Activities,” the government assists in measures to give children reading opportunities and create an ideal environment for promoting children’s reading.

-In order for museums and art galleries to improve their activities with regard to local nature, history and culture, through participation of local citizens, the government assists with programs for children and local citizens to see and learn art works and cultural assets of their region, and also promotes wide-area cooperation and cross-category networking of diverse museums. In addition, for the purpose of improving the quality of curators, their course of study will be reviewed as part of training improvement measures.

◇ Creating regional learning centers with the utilization of community halls, etc.

 The government is promoting improvement of the function of social education facilities, including community halls, as regional centers where citizens can find solutions to local educational needs, obtain learning opportunities, especially in fields of high social demand, develop human resources, promote community building, etc. At the same time, the government is promoting evaluation on the operation and management of community halls, and release of evaluation results to local citizens. The government is also promoting volunteering activities of local citizens by using their learning achievements at social education facilities, to respond to regional needs.

◇ Promoting education measures for the establishment of a sustainable society

 The government is implementing wide publicity activities to raise public understanding about the significance of “Education for Sustainable Development (ESD),” which makes us realize global issues and problems such as limited resources and energy, environmental destruction and the issue of poverty, while making a commitment to the materialization of a secure and sustainable society. The government also strengthens cooperation of relevant ministries to promote human resources development to be dedicated to the said education and development of necessary education.

 In particular, the government is promoting efforts to increase UNESCO Associated Schools as a center of promotion ESD in Japan, which is a school network project to establish sustainable society promoted by UNESCO. Also, the government assists Higher Education Institution, Private Sector, NPO collaboration for developing environmental specialists dedicated to establish a sustainable society.

◇ Promoting human-rights education and learning opportunities to respond to social issues

 The government is promoting, human-rights education, inside and outside school, to raise people’s level of consciousness about human rights. Also, the government is promoting learning opportunities especially to respond to important social issues, such as the formation of a gender-equal society, a life-work balance, issues of consumers, financial matters, laws, energy issues, etc. that people need to learn as members of society.

◇ Promoting regional efforts to improve the sports environment for local citizens

 In order to ensure that, easily anytime throughout their lifetimes, all citizens can enjoy exercise and sports, which play an important role in sound mental and physical development, the government assists with the promotion of exercise/sports through establishment and improvement of regional general sports clubs, sports facilities, etc. Also, the government is promoting the development, security and utilization of human resources such as instructors with high instructive abilities, according to regional needs. Through those efforts, the government hopes to see an increase in the number of people who exercise regularly; the goal is to reach 50% in terms of the ratio of adults who exercise once a week or more.

◇ Building a mechanism that allows people to “return for further education” and take advantage of one’s own learning achievements

 In order to create a society where learning opportunities are available to anyone, anytime, and repeatedly throughout a lifetime, the government encourages universities, junior colleges, colleges of technology, specialized training colleges, etc. to provide learning opportunities for learners including working people in a way that responds to their diverse learning needs, with the utilization of information and communication technologies, etc. In regard to the Open University of Japan, the government assists in improving the learning environment for distance learners, including improvement of program contents to better satisfy the needs of distance learners nationwide and the effective utilization of a digital broadcasting service.

 In addition, the government deliberates over a mechanism for an appropriate assessment of learning achievements so that the achievements will be fairly evaluated in a society and utilized effectively.

Basic Direction 2: Development of people’s basic strengths to lead the lives of independent citizens and members of society, through ability building on the basis of respect for individuality

1) Fostering children’s “solid academic abilities” including fundamental knowledge and skills, abilities to think logically as well as critically, to pass fair judgments and to express themselves well and motivation to learn

 For the purpose of fostering “Zest for living” in individual children who are expected to play an important part in the “knowledge-based society,” the government aims to develop “solid academic abilities” consisting of the following elements, with the goal of realizing the world-class academic abilities of Japanese children.
 a) Fundamental and basic knowledge and skills
 b) Abilities to think logically as well as critically, to pass fair judgments and to express themselves well which are needed to solve problems, with the use of knowledge and skills
 c) An attitude of learning voluntarily with motivation to learn

【Measures】
◇ Ensuring steady implementation of the revised Courses of Study

 With the aim of building “solid academic abilities” in children, the revised Courses of Study for elementary and junior high schools focus on the development of linguistic abilities that constitute the basic strength for intellectual activities, communication and sensitivity and sensibility building, education of science and mathematics, improvement of foreign language education including foreign language activities during the elementary school stage and ensuring of sufficient class hours. The government makes intensive efforts during fiscal year 2008 to ensure relevant parties’ thorough understanding of the Courses of Study and implement as many subjects as possible, starting from fiscal year 2009, earlier than the planned full-scale implementation. The Courses of Study are planned to be implemented completely starting from fiscal years 2011 for elementary schools and 2012 for junior high schools. The Courses of Study for high schools and schools for Special Needs Education will be also revised without delay. The Courses of Study, after being implemented, will be reviewed constantly to ensure appropriate use and performance. In addition, the government implements necessary measures to ensure schools’ and people’s full understanding of the aim and principles of the revised Courses of Study, including issuance of a guide to the revised Courses of Study, as well as meetings nationwide to explain the aims and principles with the utilization of the guide.

 In order to ensure a smooth implementation of the revised Courses of Study, which is going to increase class hours and teaching content, the government deliberates over necessary improvements or arrangements in preparation for the implementation, such as optimal staffing quotas of teachers and administrative personnel at schools and the use of supplementary teaching materials of mathematics and science that are needed for implementing the revised Courses of Study earlier than the official full-scale implementation. Regarding Foreign Language Activities at elementary schools in particular, the government will deliver to schools “Eigo-note” (workbook for elementary school English classes) for fifth and sixth graders and phonetic teaching materials by April 2009, and is promoting systematically designed training for teachers and the training will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2010. In addition, the government assists with the use of outside human resources, including ALTs(※3). The government also assists with facility improvement and teacher training necessary for the implementation of “budo” (traditional martial arts) lessons as a compulsory subject of health and physical education at junior high schools, as well as use of “science helpers,” or laboratory improvement necessary for better science lessons, including observation and experiments.

◇ Implementing comprehensive measures for improving children’s academic abilities

-Based on the revised Courses of Study, and through the utilization of small-group education addressing the level of proficiency of individual students or special-course teachers, the government is promoting the development of children’s basic knowledge and skills, abilities to think logically as well as critically, to pass fair judgments and to express themselves well, as well as linguistic abilities, and is also promoting education in science and mathematics and foreign language education.

-The government is promoting the development of children’s ability to appropriately utilize information in a way suited to the development stages of individual students, and is also promoting information-related moral education.

-For the purpose of improving people’s overall basic knowledge of science and technology and promoting human resources development in the fields of science and technology, it is important to improve, both qualitatively and quantitatively, fundamental education in science and mathematics. To this end, the government encourages schools to promote cooperation with outside specialists, including the use of researchers, scientists and engineers of universities or companies.

-Regarding the 6-3-3-4 school system, the government deliberates over the possibilities of operating the system more flexibly, through the introduction of unified lower and upper secondary school education or early university entrance through grade skipping, for instance, as well as measures to ensure smooth connections between school stages through cooperation between early childhood education providers and elementary schools, etc.

◇ Improving textbooks

 Based on the aims of the revised Courses of Study, the government is promoting the improvement of textbooks in terms of both quality and quantity, so as to ensure children’s substantial acquisition of basic knowledge and skills and development of their ability to make effective utilization of those knowledge and skills. To this end, the Education Ministry’s guidelines for textbook authorization will be reviewed, and the government deliberates over methods and measures for textbook renovation, including improvement of content, descriptions and styles from the viewpoints of better understanding of children and better teaching of teachers, while promoting further improvement of textbook authorization procedures.

◇Continuous implementing of The National Assessment of Academic Ability and providing assistance to schools for their improvements through the utilization of the assessed results

 The National Assessment of Academic Ability is conducted continuously to understand the statuses and utilize the assessed results for education measures and improvement of teaching at elementary schools and junior high schools. The government analyzes and verifies several relationships such as the one between children’s academic abilities and their learning conditions from the assessed results. Besides, one of the measures is to assist schools to address their problems, and to give the public successful examples of their improvements. The government encourages all Boards of Education and schools to establish the PDCA cycle, which consists of the effective utilization of its results for the improvement of their problems, and to ensure their accountability to parents and guardians. Here, education measures and instruction policy of each school would be urged. For high schools, multifaceted and objective assessment of learning achievements will be promoted based on sufficient understanding of diversifying conditions surrounding students.

◇ Providing assistance for autonomous reforms implemented by each school

 In order to assist schools in making autonomous efforts, the government provides assistance for the introduction of flexible class-formation standards, introduction of small-group education addressing the level of proficiency of individual students, use of special-course teachers for upper graders at elementary schools, optimization of staffing quota, introduction of the school choice system addressing regional needs, original development of teaching materials and development of library portfolios.


※3 ALT stands for Assistant Language Teacher. An ALT is a foreign helper to be employed for foreign language education at schools. ALTs are supposed to work along with school teachers for “team teaching.”

2) Fostering social awareness, richness in mind and physical health

 Based on the revised Courses of Study, the government is promoting the development of children’s richness in mind and physical health, which constitute the source of power to leading a better life throughout a lifetime. In addition, the government seeks the development of awareness as members of society and qualities essential to responsible citizens.

【Measures】
◇ Promoting moral education

 In order to foster richness in mind, social awareness and public spirit with children, the government encourages schools to formulate their respective plan of teaching and guidance on the basis of a school-wide commitment to moral education, where a teacher in charge of moral education will lead initiatives, while promoting research on guidance methods and schemes and development of teaching materials comprehensively. It is important to ensure that appropriate teaching materials respecting principles of the Courses of Study will be selected and treated equivalently to other authorized textbooks so that they are fully utilized, and the government deliberates over any effective measures, including national subsidies. The government also deliberates widely over diverse measures to facilitate the combined efforts of families, schools and local communities to promote moral education suited to development of individual children.

◇ Promoting education concerning tradition and culture

-Since it is important to foster an attitude of respect tradition and culture and love for one’s own home country and home town, which have nurtured tradition and culture, while highly regarding foreign countries and contributing to peace and growth of the international society, education on tradition and culture will be promoted to ensure people’s understanding, succession and development of tradition and culture of their home country and town. To this end, the government provides assistance for programs that provide children with opportunities, at school or local cultural facilities, to appreciate fine performing arts, participate in cultural or art activities, or learn traditional culture through hands-on experience or programmed study courses, including classes in folk performing arts, traditional Japanese music, tea ceremony, traditional floral art, etc. In addition, assistance for the promotion of Japanese traditional martial arts will be provided.

-In order to foster those people who can deepen mutual understanding with people of different cultural backgrounds and take the initiatives in the international society, the government assists in the promotion of education for international understanding at each school stage. The government also assists in the promotion of education for general understanding of religions.

◇ Promoting physical education and extra-curricular sports club activities at schools

-In view of the recent polarization tendency of children into athletes and sport haters and the serious trend of weakening physical strengths of children, the revised Courses of Study have increased class hours for health and physical education. Based on this understanding, the government is promoting measures to develop habits of exercising regularly throughout a lifetime, interest in sports and athletic abilities.
-In order to improve and promote physical education and extra-curricular sports club activities at schools, use of outside instructors will be promoted.
-In order to respond to children’s diverse needs concerning sports activities, the government encourages schools to cooperate with other neighboring schools to organize joint sports clubs in a way suited to respective school conditions so as to promote such collaborative activities to be conducted regularly.
-For the purpose of creating an environment for students to enjoy sports safely, grass schoolyards will be increased when necessary and possible.

◇ Implementing national surveys on children’s physical strengths and athletic abilities and promoting measures for improving their physical strength

 In order to understand the status of children’s physical strength and use the understanding to improve physical education and health guidance at schools, national surveys on children’s physical strength and athletic abilities will be conducted. Also, in view of the long-lasting trend of weakening physical strengths of children starting from about 1985, the government aims to reverse this trend to regain the 1985 performance, by promoting analysis and verification of the correlation between children’s physical strengths and exercise habits while promoting measures to improve children’s physical strengths at schools and communities at the same time.

◇ Promoting regional efforts to improve the sports environment for local citizens

 The government is promoting regional efforts to improve the sports environment for local citizens by increasing or improving regional general sports facilities, etc., which would help children increase their exercise opportunities as well. (See the above at the paragraph headed “Promoting regional efforts to improve the sports environment for local citizens,” in section 4 of Basic Direction 1 in part (3) of Chapter 3.)

◇ Ensuring children’s mental and physical health through the promotion of Shokuiku (food and nutrition education) and collaboration with regional medical institutions

 With the aim of having children learn basic lifestyles and desirable eating habits, the government is promoting Shokuiku at schools, families and local communities, where diet and nutrition teachers will play the central role. Also, for the purpose of improving food and nutrition education, the government is promoting the use of regional agricultural produce for school lunch, as well as the further use of rice.

 In order to ensure that children have no worries about school life and that schools appropriately address the diverse mental and physical issues of children, health education will be promoted at schools through collaboration among schools, parents and guardians, regional health centers and medical institutions. Also, the government encourages all elementary and junior high schools to respectively formulate a health management plan from the both educational and administrative viewpoints. It also encourages those elementary, junior high and high schools without nurse-teachers to employ a school health leader(※4) who is to be stationed at school about one day a week.

◇ Promoting environmental education

 In order to promote measures and schemes for environmental education, relevant ministries and agencies of the national government and relevant departments of local governments cooperate to ensure lifelong environmental education, promote diversification of learning opportunities at families, schools, communities and companies, and improve the quality of leaders who promote environmental education. The government also encourages schools to introduce and develop practical environmental education including programs for hand-on experiences.

◇ Promoting education to foster a positive attitude toward labor, vocational vision, vocational knowledge and skills (career education and vocational education)

 In order to foster children’s attitude toward labor and sociability so that they have vision for their future occupation and way of living, the government is promoting career education for children starting from the elementary school stage, by seeking cooperation with economic organizations, PTAs, NPOs, etc as well as intragovernmental joint efforts among relevant ministries. In particular, the government encourages junior high schools to provide students with hands-on workplace experiences, and encourages high schools to promote career education.

 The government also encourages specialized upper secondary schools to promote unique vocational education with the cooperation of local communities, and encourages specialized training colleges to provide high school students, etc. with diverse job experiences. Also, in order to raise children’s interest in manufacturing activities and promote their acquisition of knowledge and skills in manufacturing, the government encourages, for instance, elementary schools and junior high schools to provide students with hands-on manufacturing experience, or encourages specialized upper secondary schools to introduce manufacturing education in cooperation with local industries and economic circles to improve the level of students’ understanding about industry and occupation.

◇ Promoting programs to give hands-on experience and reading activities

-In order to foster respect for life, care for nature, consideration of others, sociability and social awareness of children, the government encourages all elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide to respectively introduce diverse hands-on experience programs including nature activities, camp programs, workplace experience, volunteering activities, and cultural and art activities, and promote those programs in cooperation with relevant ministries of the government.
-In order to foster rich sensitivity and sensibility as well as linguistic abilities, reading activities will be promoted, including morning reading. Also, in accordance with the “Basic Plan for the Promotion of Children’s Reading Activities,” the government is promoting the function of school libraries through cooperation with regional activities for promoting children’s reading, conducted by local communities, as well as efforts of individual families. The government continues to promote training for teachers to obtain a certificate as librarian, especially for those schools without librarian-teachers.

◇ Promoting measures against bullying, violence, non-attendance at school, juvenile delinquency, suicide, etc.

 In order to promote solutions to problems with bullying, violence, non-attendance at school, juvenile delinquency, suicide, etc., it is necessary for schools to take a dauntless attitude and guidance toward students with problem behaviors. The government encourages schools to introduce effective measures to ensure prevention, early discovery and early actions, cooperation with relevant organizations and appropriate treatment of those children who suffer from bullying. Here, it is important to effectively utilize seminars for prevention of juvenile delinquency as well as outside helpers, including school supporters, support groups and other specialists, in a way that organizes a “school problems solution team.” In addition, in order to ensure that any children in need of help or advice can receive adequate consultation and guidance at school, the government encourages elementary and junior high schools to employ school counselors(※5) and school social workers(※6) and also introduce suicide prevention measures.

◇ Assisting children refusing to go to schools in obtaining learning opportunities

 Assistance for children refusing to go to schools will be promoted so that they can obtain necessary learning opportunities through improvement of consultation systems, etc.


※4 School health leaders give instructions to nurse-teachers and other school teachers on the treatment of individual children who are mentally distressed or have a modern health problem, such as allergies, and are supposed to be well educated and experienced concerning school nursing activities.
※5 A school counselor should be an experienced specialist with high-level knowledge about clinical psychology of children.
※6 A school social worker should be a social welfare specialist with expertise and special skills working for a school.

3) Improving the quality of teachers while setting the environment for teachers to pay one-on-one attention to individual children

 Teachers are greatly influential to the formation of character building of individual children, due to the commitment of teachers to the mental and physical development of children. It is necessary to ensure constant improvement of the quality and abilities of teachers, and to this end, it is necessary to ensure appropriate treatment of teachers, improvement of training for teachers and strict personnel administration of teachers.

 In order to set the environment for teachers to pay one-on-one attention to individual children through classroom teaching, etc. comprehensive measures will be promoted to ensure optimal staffing and placement of teachers and administrative personnel of schools, facilitate the use of outside human resources, introduce ICT (information communication technologies) to schools and promote outsourcing of administrative works.

【Measures】
◇ Promoting a modulative wage system

 While mitigating preferential treatment under the Law for Securing Human Resources, the government seeks to ensure that teachers who are making good efforts are rewarded adequately through the introduction of a modulative wage system.

◇ Setting the environment for teachers to pay one-on-one attention to individual children

 For the purpose of setting the environment for teachers to pay one-on-one attention to individual children, optimal staffing and placement of teachers and administrative personnel of schools will be ensured while promoting utilization of outside human resources, such as specialists and helpers, including school counselors, support assistants for Special Needs Education, instructors for children’s club activities as well as a highly experienced workforce that includes retired teachers. In promoting such utilization of diverse human resources, the government seeks to promote introduction of general citizens engaged in guidance for children at schools, with a hope that those with enthusiasm, abilities and adequate aptitude will be employed under the Special Certificate System. The government is also promoting initiatives such as “Regional Headquarters for School Assistance,” which intend to establish school-community collaborative schemes so that local citizens assist schools in administrative works. Other planned efforts include survey reform, the introduction of ICTs (information communication technologies) to classrooms, the simplification and outsourcing of administrative works and the shared implementation of school administrative works.

◇ Promoting teacher training

-In order to develop high-quality teachers who have practical abilities, students will be required to attend a “seminar for teaching practice (tentative name)” to obtain a certificate. Also, in order to improve the quality of teachers, various systems will be reviewed and reformed as necessary, including curriculums of teacher training, evaluation feedback on the teacher-training course, examination for teacher-training course, etc. Based on the progress to be attained from those reforms, the government deliberates over a drastic reform of teacher-training practices. Also teachers will be encouraged to obtain an advanced certificate.
-In order to ensure that new teachers have practical instructive abilities and also that incumbent teachers have the ability to lead new teachers, the government is promoting the improvement and utilization of the graduate school system for teachers, while ensuring fairness in the criteria of certifying the completion of the study course. Also, cooperation between graduate schools for teachers and regional Boards of Education will be promoted.
-The government encourages appointing officers to introduce better employment policies to secure a variety of high-quality human resources, including people with abundant experience in society and specialists in the field of international cooperation, for instance. Also, the government encourages regional Boards of Education to establish a department in charge of receiving and taking care of teachers’ requests for consultation on their anxieties or concerns.
-The government is promoting improvement of training for those at the managerial level in schools, including principals, as well as for those teachers in charge of leading important initiatives. The government is also promoting measures to improve training programs to be provided by Boards of Education, including a program for effective use of training for new teachers.

◇ Ensuring smooth introduction of the System for Renewing Educational Personnel Certificates

 Preparations for the implementation of the System for Renewing Educational Personnel Certificates will be promoted steadily, and the government implements measures to raise the level of understanding about this System so that the System will be smoothly introduced in April 2009.

◇ Promoting teacher evaluation systems

 For the purpose of securing social trust in school education and improving the quality of teachers, the government is promoting measures for teacher evaluation systems.

◇ Promoting awarding systems for excellent teachers

 With the aim of recognizing excellent performance by teachers and raising motivation of other teachers so as to widely acquire people’s trust and respect for teachers in society, the government is promoting measures for award systems for excellent teachers.

◇ Ensuring strict personnel management of Boards of Education to address those teachers who perform inadequate teaching

 The government encourages Boards of Education to implement strict personnel management to ensure that any teacher who performs inadequate teaching is removed from the position of giving guidance to children.

4) Strengthening the function of Boards of Education while establishing schools’ organizational administrative strengths

 Paragraph 1, Article 16 of the revised Basic Act on Education provides that education shall not be subject to improper control and shall be carried out in accordance with this and other acts; education administration shall be carried out in a fair and proper manner through appropriate role sharing and cooperation between the national and local governments. Local governments should implement their education administration in accordance with the above principle, and ensure that regional Boards of Education and board members fulfill their responsibilities and respond to expectations of citizens in a fair and proper manner through decision-making and based on the council system.

 To this end, the government is promoting measures to strengthen the function of Boards of Education and improve organizational administrative strengths of schools while respecting regional autonomy and independence and appropriate role sharing.

【Measures】
◇ Clarifying a system of responsibilities in Boards of Education

 The government seeks to clarify a system of responsibilities in each Board of Education, and also improve the system. To this end, training and information necessary for the improvement of the quality of board members will be provided. Also, the government seeks to ensure that local governments select board members who are well-motivated, responsible people, that voices of local citizens play a role in vitalization of the function of Boards of Education, that all matters to be administered or executed by a Board of Education through decision-making based on the council system are clarified, and that municipal Boards of Education are established along with other municipal Boards of Education. The government is promoting information released to the public as to contents of meetings and activities of Boards of Education and is also promoting reviews and assessments of activities of Boards of Education with the use of knowledge of third-party specialists, so that voices of local citizens will be reflected and that local assemblies will able to make necessary verification.

◇ Transferring authorities to municipalities

 The government continues to deliberate over the issue of transferring the right of personnel management for prefecture-employed school teachers and administrative staff to municipalities, along with the issues of a wide-area staffing adjustment mechanism, shared burden of salaries, class-organizing policy, optimal staffing quotas, etc., with the aim of ensuring high-quality staffing above a certain standard in all municipalities and based on the understanding of administrative conditions of small-scale municipalities.

◇ Improving organizational administrative strengths of schools through the introduction of new positions, etc.

 The government encourages Boards of Education to promote their respective measures to make it possible for schools to, for instance, effectively utilize new positions established by the revised Basic Act on Education, such as Vice-Principal and Management Teacher, introduce school budgets and open recruitment systems under the supervision of principal at the principal’s discretion, prolong a term of tenure of principal at one school, hire excellent private citizens for the position of principal and promote systematic and flexible school administration. The government also encourages Boards of Education to ensure fair and adequate management and operation of respective Boards through strict personnel management, including appointment of personnel for managerial class.

 In addition, in order to ensure that schools will promote their joint efforts with local communities, make effective utilization of time and human resources, pay careful, one-on-one attention to individual children, and address appropriately diverse needs and requests of parents, guardians and local communities with the effective use of outside specialists, the government is promoting the efforts of Boards of Education and schools to improve organizational administrative strengths of schools.

◇ Promoting school evaluations for improving school administration with the utilization of evaluation results

 The government is promoting the improvement of school evaluation, in order for schools to improve and develop themselves through efforts to verify their performance, while securing objectivity and transparency of the verification, and also promote partnership and cooperation with parents, guardians and community residents while ensuring their accountability to them. Specifically, self-evaluation of teachers and administrative staff will be introduced to all schools, and school evaluation by persons concerned with schools will be introduced to as many schools as possible; and the government is promoting initiatives of respective schools and Boards of Education to realize the above. The government is also promoting the initiative of respective schools and Boards of Education to promote the release of assessment results to the public, and ensure effective feedback of evaluation results so that the establishing body can analyze the results in order to improve school administration, staffing and teaching quality for respective subjects. Regarding school assessment of educational activities by students and their parents/guardians, the government instructs relevant parties to make sure that evaluators remain anonymous. The government is also deliberating over the introduction of third-party evaluation to be made from specialized and objective points of view, and is promoting efforts to establish a reliable mechanism of such evaluation.

◇ Vitalizing schools by strengthening their combined efforts with families and local citizens

 The government is promoting school vitalization based on combined efforts with families and local communities, which is believed to improve schools’ organizational administrative strengths as well. (See the above at the paragraph headed “Vitalizing schools by strengthening their combined efforts with facilities and local citizens,” in section 1 of Basic Direction 1 in part (3) of Chapter 3.)

5) Promoting early childhood education

 In accordance with the provision of Article 11 of the revised Basic Act on Education (Early Childhood Education), that describes the importance of early childhood education as a basis for the lifelong formation of one’s personality, the government is promoting improvement of the quality of early childhood education while strengthening cooperation with kindergartens and daycare centers.

【Measures】
◇ Increasing early childhood education opportunities through the utilization of Centers for early childhood education and care and other measures

 With the aim of satisfying diverse needs of the public, the government plans to increase Centers for early childhood education and care, while hoping that the number of centers will exceed 2,000 as soon as possible during the term of this Plan, based on the understanding of user needs and the present situation of filed applications for the certification. The government is promoting publicity on nurseries, operational improvement necessary for a smooth transition from differentiation between kindergarten and daycare to the integrated centers and institutional reforms of the nurseries.

 In addition, targeting three-year-old children at the preschool stage, the government is promoting publicity of early childhood education, to increase their enrollment at either kindergarten, daycare or Center for early childhood education and care.

◇ Improving the quality of overall early childhood education

-Aiming at quality improvement of early childhood education, the government introduces, starting from 2009, the new Course of Study for Kindergartens and Nursing Guidelines for Daycare Centers, to ensure consistency of education content between kindergartens and daycare centers. Also, the government encourages kindergartens and daycare centers to cooperate with elementary schools based on the understanding of cross-stage continuity of children’s development and learning activities. Regarding “day care services” provided by kindergartens, the government is promoting publicity of the new Course of Study for Kindergartens to ensure that its principles will be introduced to those services.
-Based on the understanding of characteristics of kindergartens, the introduction of assessment systems will be promoted along with the release of assessment results to the public, equivalently with the measures for elementary schools and junior high schools as mentioned above.
-In order to improve the quality of teachers and administrative staff of kindergartens and daycare centers, joint training will be promoted for the two. In addition, the government encourages incumbent teachers to obtain both a kindergarten-teacher’s license and childcare certificate. Furthermore, the government seeks to increase those incumbent kindergarten-teachers who have a first-class certificate.
-The government is promoting health promotion and safety measures for kindergartens.

◇Mitigating financial burdens of parents/guardians through consideration of introducing free-of-charge early childhood education, etc.

 Regarding the possibility of providing early childhood education free-of-charge in the future, the government comprehensively investigates into the matters of revenue sources, institution and others, coherently with governmental revenue reform. For the time being, the government promotes early childhood education such as mitigation of the financial burdens of parents/guardians at the preschool stage.

◇ Promoting assistance for childrearing with the utilization of kindergartens, etc.

 The government is promoting assistance for childrearing activities through the utilization of kindergartens, etc., which is believed to promote early childhood education. (See the above at the paragraph headed “Promoting assistance for childrearing with the utilization of kindergartens, etc.” in section 2 of Basic Direction 1 in part (3) of Chapter 3.)

6) Promoting special education addressing special needs

 Paragraph 2, Article 4 of the revised Basic Act on Education newly provides for assistance for education for persons with disabilities. From the viewpoint of assisting their autonomous efforts for independence and social participation, the government is promoting Special Needs Education that intends to improve their abilities and let them overcome difficulties in living and learning based on the understanding of individual educational needs and provide appropriate guidance and assistance. In addition, education for foreign students and other students with special needs will be promoted.

【Measures】
◇ Promoting Special Needs Education

 For the purpose of ensuring appropriate assistance for children with disabilities including developmental disabilities throughout the stages from kindergarten to high school, based on the understanding of educational needs of individual children, the government is promoting comprehensive support systems for children with disabilities by, for instance, encouraging schools to employ support assistants for Special Needs Education and encouraging elementary schools and junior high schools to make “individual teaching plans” for children with disabilities.

 The government is also promoting assistance for Schools for Special Needs Education, by facilitating their efforts to improve specialized abilities of teachers through measures such as using outside specialists and to raise the rate of employment after graduation. In addition, the government is promoting activities to deepen mutual understanding between children with and without disabilities.

 The government assists local governments in dealing with the recent trend of increasing students in Schools for Special Needs Education.

◇ Promoting education for foreign students and Japanese students abroad

 In order to improve conditions for receiving foreign students at Japanese elementary, junior high and high schools and also improve teaching for those foreign students, the government is promoting the development and quality improvement of human resources engaged in guidance for foreign students, including helpers capable of speaking their mother language, and is also promoting research and improvement of guidance methods. In cooperation with relevant ministries, the government is promoting publicity of model projects successfully implemented by local governments, in order to facilitate foreign students’ study at Japanese school.

 In addition, the government is promoting education for Japanese students in foreign education facilities.

Basic Direction 3: Development of human resources with a wide range of essential knowledge, expertise and intelligence to support social development

1) Materializing reliable undergraduate education(※7)

 Today, higher education is popularized in Japan and enters a so-called “universal stage,” where a majority move on to higher education. At the same time, as a result of the declining 18-year-old population, almost everyone is expected to go on to a university. Under such circumstance, it is important to secure the quality of education at universities and colleges.

 The government assists universities and colleges in promoting high-quality education based on the understanding of their respective positioning, expected role and functions, in order to respond to social needs and the diverse needs of students, while ensuring the development of those people equipped with a wide range of essential knowledge and expertise according to educational and research objectives of respective universities. Universities are supposed to administer education and research activities based on three major policies: the “degree conferment policy,” “curriculum organization and implementation policy” and “admission policy.” The government is promoting an integral operation of those three policies so as to ensure excellent practices of administering education and research activities. At the same time, the government encourages universities to display their respective unique characteristics and features and implement measures to improve the teaching abilities of their teachers.

【Measures】
◇ Improving the quality of undergraduate education to ensure its reliability in terms of the ability to satisfy expectations of society and secure learning achievements expected for undergraduates

 The government provides assistance for universities, etc. in improving contents and methods of their educational practice, to ensure acquisition of intelligence expected for undergraduates (“qualification as a holder of a bachelor’s degree”), and also introducing strict assessment of students’ learning achievements, including criteria for approving graduation. The government is also promoting universities’ organizational efforts to improve their educational environment, while ensuring substantial implementation of initiatives to improve teaching abilities of teachers, through the introduction of assessment of teachers’ teaching performance and evaluation to be made by students on teachers’ instructions in class, etc. In addition, the government provides assistance for excellent initiatives of universities.

 In order to promote those education-improvement initiatives to be carried out by respective universities and colleges, the government is promoting the formation of teacher training centers and networking thereof, with the aim of developing inter-university systems for ensuring the quality of education and strengthening foundations for quality education.

 In addition, the government provides assistance for the use of ICTs (information communication technologies) to improve teachers’ abilities or develop teaching materials, information collection and distribution on teaching contents inside and outside the country and enhanced collaboration with foreign core organizations.

◇ Clarifying the goals of learning achievements to be commonly attained while improving the quality of field-specific education

 It is important to clarify the goals of learning achievements to be commonly attained by all students regardless of field while ensuring their international competitiveness, improving the quality of field-specific education and promoting quality assurance. To this end, the government is promoting the establishment of targets and goals of learning achievements. In addition, the government is cooperating with the Science Council of Japan on promoting quality assurance of field-specific education, and is promoting the establishment of the framework for quality assurance for respective fields.

◇ Ensuring a smooth connection between high school and university, etc.

 In order to ensure a smooth connection between the high school and university stages, the government is promoting the efforts of universities, etc. to clarify their admission policy and ensure the function of their entrance examination to appropriately evaluate applicants’ learning achievements in high school. The government encourages high schools and universities, etc. to openly exchange opinions to find methods of executing appropriate, objective assessments of learning achievements of high school students and widely utilizing assessment results to improve teaching at high schools or to design entrance examinations for universities, etc. based on deliberations in the Central Education Council. Also, in order to increase opportunities for high school students to learn about university education, the government assists with excellent initiatives by universities, etc. to promote their cooperation with high schools. Regarding early university entrance through grade skipping, the government encourages universities to operate current practices more flexibly, to introduce new criteria of “remarkable qualities” or guidance, so that early entrance will be actively promoted.


※7 Undergraduate education covers education at universities, colleges and junior colleges.

2) Forming world-class, distinguished education and research centers while strengthening graduate school education

 For the purpose of creating internationally competitive, world-class universities in Japan, the government assists with the formation of distinguished education and research centers that are among the strongest in the world, in accordance with the “Guidelines on Measures for the Promotion of Graduate School Education” (2006 to 2010), as well as organizational efforts of graduate schools to promote excellent education measures. The government also assists efforts to increase opportunities for young motivated, talented researchers to use their abilities.

【Measures】
◇ Forming world-class, distinguished education and research centers

 The government provides assistance for the formation of internationally distinguished education and research centers by strengthening the functions of developing young excellent researchers, including those students in doctoral courses, and also strengthening cooperation with universities and other organizations inside and outside the country. Assistance will be provided intensively to about 150 key schools and institutes up to fiscal year 2011, with the aim of helping them achieve world-class education and research standards. Also, for the purpose of the development of science and human resources, the government assists in efforts of national, public and private universities to implement research activities as shared use of resources and joint research.

◇ Strengthening organizational development of graduate school education

 In order to develop highly specialized human resources that contribute to society in diverse fields including industries, the government encourages graduate schools to promote their organizational and systematic implementation of excellent education, including the improvement of “coursework”(※8) . Also, the government is promoting enhanced use of postgraduates and deliberates over methods and measures for opening graduate schools to the public more widely, through the extension of the admission policy for applicants inside and outside the country and the application of early entrance. The government also makes sure that deliberation results are reflected in the “Guidelines on Measures for the Promotion of Graduate School Education.”

◇ Introducing a mechanism that increases opportunities for young researchers and female researchers to use their abilities

 The government is promoting the introduction of the tenure track system(※9), which contributes to the independent work of young researchers, organizational human resources development for diverse career paths and maximization of use of female researchers by helping them handle both career and childrearing.


※8 “Coursework” is meant to achieve a certain learning goal systematically through the completion of multiple subjects.
※9 “Tenure track system” is a mechanism that enables young researchers to accumulate independent research experiences while being hired for a fixed term of service temporarily, prior to obtaining permanent positions through strict evaluation of their works .

3) Promoting internationalization of universities, etc.

 The government is promoting internationalization of universities and improvement of their international competitiveness through collaboration with prominent foreign universities or implementation of overseas projects, and seeks to increase opportunities for students and teachers to learn in an international environment. To this end, the government is promoting measures based on the current basic principles aiming at globalization of university education.

【Measures】
◇ Promoting exchanges with foreign students

 The government is promoting internationalization of universities and improvement of their international competitiveness, while promoting exchanges with foreign students with the aim of forming personnel networks that would help Japan build mutual understanding and stable relationship with foreign countries.

 Regarding the stance to receive foreign students, the government is implementing the “300,000 Foreign Students Plan” systematically through cooperation with relevant ministries, with a hope to achieve the goal by the end of 2020, while promoting the Plan integrally with the initiatives to invite highly specialized human resources from foreign countries and promoting assistance for job-finding activities of foreign students.

 The government is also promoting measures to facilitate Japanese students’ study abroad, from the viewpoint of international human resources development, vitalization of personnel interchanges with foreign universities and globalization of the Japanese society.

◇ Improving international activities of universities, etc.

 For the purpose of improving the quality of university education and strengthening international competitiveness of Japanese universities, the government encourages universities to promote their initiatives for internationalization, such as establishment of a secretariat for international activities, introduction of a double-degree or multiple-degree system(※10), collaboration with eminent foreign universities through credit compatibility, introduction of lessons in English or other foreign language, introduction of the course starting from September (autumn) and the improvement of summer programs.

4) Assisting universities in promoting their social contributions, such as regional vitalization, etc. through cooperation among national, public and private universities

 In order for education to satisfy regional needs and contribute to the vitalization of local communities, the government assists in the combined efforts of national, public and private universities as well as efforts of respective universities to contribute to regional vitalization by using their unique characteristics.

【Measures】
◇ Assisting diverse, unique and strategic measures to be implemented jointly by multiple universities

 The government assists universities in promoting inter-university collaborations nationwide for sharing education and research resources of respective universities for their effective utilization, for the purpose of strengthening and expanding their functions to contribute to local communities, such as community-oriented human resources development or innovations, and also diversifying or specializing their education and research activities (consortium of national, public and private universities(※11)). Also, the government seeks to build a mechanism by the end of fiscal year 2008 to make it possible for national, public and private universities to jointly establish a faculty or graduate course.

◇ Ensuring lifelong learning at universities, etc.

 In response to increasing demands of lifelong learning for the purposes of carrier building of individuals as well as participation in community activities, the government encourages universities, etc. to provide learning programs for general citizens and also assists academia-industry collaboration to make it possible for citizens to learn at universities, etc.

◇ Strengthening doctor development systems to contribute to regional medical services

 While strengthening the foundations to support the operation of university hospitals, which play a central role in developing medical specialists, the government assists universities in promoting their contribution to local communities through the establishment of close cooperation with local medical institutions. Development of high-level medical specialists will be promoted especially in those fields where strong social demands exist, such as community-based health care, cancer treatment, etc.


※10 “Double-degree system” and “multiple-degree system” allow students to obtain two or more degrees simultaneously through cooperation between Japanese and foreign universities in general.
※11 “Consortium of national, public and private universities” is a project of partnership and cooperation of organizations of higher education (including regional cooperation) and intends to improve or strengthen education, research and social contribution through combined strengths.

5) Promoting improvement and assurance of the quality of university education

 In view of the trend of growing and diversifying university education, the government is promoting measures to assure the quality of higher education from the viewpoint of protecting education recipients and securing international competitiveness. Here, the government seeks to ensure multifaceted assessment of quality based on the understanding of objectives of establishing respective universities and missions of each university as well as their expected functions and roles, and also strengthen cross-university quality assurance systems and infrastructure.
 Also, the Central Council for Education will deliberate over a comprehensive scheme for quality assurance of education, including authorization to establish a university, accreditation system and information release to the public, so as to be well prepared for the second stage of the accreditation system.

【Measures】
◇ Appropriate use of prior assessment

 In order to ensure that all universities to be established in the future in Japan satisfy the minimum requirements for international competitiveness, advance assessment prior to establishment will be introduced while ensuring adequate role sharing and integration of prior and post-establishment assessments. Also, the Standards of the Establishment of Universities will be reviewed for any necessary revision with regard to organization of teachers, facilities, equipment, etc., to ensure an appropriate use of the Standards.

◇ Clarifying the goals of learning achievements to be commonly attained while improving the quality of field-specific education

 The government is promoting clarification of the goals of learning achievements to be commonly attained while promoting quality improvement of field-specific education, which contributes to the promotion of quality improvement and assurance of university education. (See the above at the paragraph headed “Clarifying the goals of learning achievements to be commonly attained while improving the quality of field-specific education,” in section 1 of Basic Direction 3 in part (3) of Chapter 3.)

◇ Promoting evaluation of universities

 With the aim of establishing and thoroughly utilizing a university evaluation system, the government is promoting the development of efficient methods of evaluation to be conducted by universities and rating organizations respectively, including systems of accreditation (by type of organization and by specialized field of professional graduate school), self-examination and self-assessment and evaluation by field. The government also accumulates and provides information on diverse past examples useful for improvement of accreditation and evaluation of universities, which would contribute to quality improvement of university education. In addition, the government is promoting the active public disclosure of evaluation results, including facts of accreditation and other information on a specific university, such as the number of teachers, number of students and scientific achievements of teachers.

6) Strengthening the foundations to support education and research activities of universities

 With the aim of developing future leaders in Japan, the government assists universities in pursuing basic academic activities of education and research, while encouraging universities to autonomously develop their respective unique characteristics and improve the quality of their education and research activities in competitive environment.

【Measures】
◇ Assistance for supporting education and research activities of universities and for making their activities more sophisticated and advanced

 In order to secure the quality of education and research activities of universities and ensure their excellent performance, the government secures budgets for infrastructural improvement by continuing to promote expenditure reform. The government also strives to increase the competitive funds such as Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research that contribute to developing human resources or sophisticating education and research activities. Concerning indirect costs(※12) in Grand-in-Aid for Scientific Research, the government will achieve a 30% allocation as early as possible.

 Regarding grants-in-aid to support operation of national university corporations, an appropriate distribution will be determined based on the criteria of (1) efforts and achievements of both education and research activities and (2) importance from the viewpoint of university reform. This determination should reflect the evaluation results of national university corporations. Regarding financial contributions from companies or private citizens as well as funds from companies for joint research projects, effective and appropriate use of those funds will be assisted through institutional development, including a tax privilege to encourage universities’ own efforts.

◇ Improving and updating facilities and equipment for education and research activities of universities

 In order to develop excellent human resources and promote creative and advanced R&D activities, the government is assisting universities in improving their facilities and equipment intensively and systematically, not only from the safety aspect but also for the purpose of ensuring functions to satisfy today’s education and research needs. To this end, the “Second Five-Year Plan for Intensive Facility Improvement of National Universities” (2006 to 2010) will be steadily implemented.

◇ Further reform of national universities to respond to today’s social needs

 The government encourages national universities to promote autonomous reforms to respond to the social needs of today, through organizational reconstitution or integration, departmental reconstitution, review of admission policies in terms of quota for respective faculty, thorough management reforms, cross-department education policy, etc. The government also deliberates over the establishment and management of multiple universities by a single national university corporation.


※12 Indirect costs, the amount of which is to be set at a fixed proportion of research expenses, constitute a part of funds to be distributed to those organizations to which a researcher acquiring competitive research funds belongs, and are supposed to be used as administrative expenses of such organization necessary for the implementation of the research.

Basic Direction 4: Materialization of safety and security for children and creation of an environment for high-quality education

1) Realizing a safe, secure education environment

 The government promotes improvement of educational environments to ensure safe, secure, high-quality facilities for children’s learning and other activities.

【Measures】
◇ Establishing safe and secure schools and other educational facilities in terms of earthquake resistance, etc.

 In order to ensure essentials for education throughout the country, the government assists in improvement of school facilities. The government also assists in establishing safe and secure environments; by improving earthquake resistance of elementary and junior high school facilities, etc., which are not only places where children learn and do other activities with security but also serve as temporary evacuation centers in case of any disasters. The government assists in improving earthquake resistance especially of elementary and junior high school facilities which would have the high risk of collapse if a powerful earthquake occurs (whose number is estimated at about 10,000). The national government asks local governments to improve the earthquake resistance of these facilities as soon as possible within the term of this Plan. In addition, the government also assists in making facilities barrier-free and anti-asbestos and other facility improvements.

◇ Ensuring safety inside and outside school through cooperation with regional volunteers

 In order to ensure that children are safe at school and within school zones, the government is promoting improvement of the environment to support community-wide efforts for children’s safety through cooperation with volunteers and relevant organizations, and is also promoting safety education to teach children how to protect themselves. As part of those measures, the government seeks deployment of “school guard leaders”(※13) for elementary schools at a rate of one person for five schools. Also, in order to protect children from any incidents, accidents or natural disasters, the government encourages all elementary and junior high schools to formulate a safety plan for respective schools from both educational aspects and administrative aspects.

◇Establishing children’s bases to enjoy hands-on experiences and interchange activities after-school or on weekend

 The government is promoting measures for establishing children’s bases to enjoy hands-on experiences and interchange activities after-school or weekend, from the perspective of providing children with a safe, secure, high-quality learning environment. (See the above at the paragraph headed “Establishing children’s bases to enjoy hands-on experiences and interchange activities after-school or on weekend,” in section 1 of Basic Direction 1 in part (3) of Chapter 3.)


※13 “School guard leaders”should be engaged in school patrol activities and also provide specialized guidance to school safety activities conducted by schools or volunteers.

2) Creating an environment to support high-quality education

 In order for children to learn in a high-quality environment, the government is promoting the improvement of teaching materials and school library portfolios. Also, the government promotes use of ICT at schools, in a way that helps schools design “good class work that assures good understanding of students,” contributes to the improvement of “children’s essential academic abilities,” improves efficiency in administrative work and promotes cooperation with families and local citizens. Those education measures to be implemented by respective local governments will be explained to the public by the national government through the issuance of a so-called “Public Education Cost Map,” which helps people understand the measures well, so that efficient and effective implementation of the measures will be promoted. In addition, the government seeks to enhance accumulation and utilization of results of research on education issues.

【Measures】
◇ Improving school library portfolios

 In order to improve the library portfolios of schools, the government seeks to achieve the goal set by the “Five-Year Plan for Improvement of School Libraries” from fiscal years 2007 to 2011, by utilizing local finance with a budget of about 20 billion yen per year. In addition, the government encourages schools without librarian-teachers to promote training for teachers to obtain the qualification, and also increase staff to be engaged in administration of school libraries.

◇ Promoting improvement of teaching material

 The government is promoting the systematic improvement of teaching materials so that local finance allotted for teaching materials will be effectively utilized to ensure sufficient materials to be distributed to schools. Also, a new yearly plan to improve teaching materials will be formulated in response to the revision of the Courses of Study.

◇ Promoting use of ICT at schools

 The government assists in improvements related to ICT (information and communication technology) environment at schools such as computers for class work, intra-school LANs, etc. as well as improvements in teachers’ ICT utilization abilities. The government is promoting the utilization of ICT for school education by encouraging schools to use ICT-based teaching materials and content, while assisting schools in introducing ICT for their administrative works and improving support systems for ICT at schools. In accordance with the New IT Reform Strategy, the government aims to realize these goals by the end of fiscal year 2010: that all schools nationwide are equipped with intra-school LANs, that computers to be used for class work by students are distributed to schools at a rate of one computer per 3.6 students, that all schools nationwide are equipped with ultra-high-speed Internet, that computers to be used by school teachers for administrative works are distributed at a one-to-one rate, and that all teachers are capable of utilizing ICT for their in-class teaching. In addition, the government is promoting the deployment of “School CIO”(※14) at Boards of Education and at elementary, junior high and high schools.

 In view of the transition to terrestrial digital broadcasting to be completed by 2011 in Japan, the government is assisting measures to maximize the effects of utilizing terrestrial digital broadcasting for education.

◇ Accumulation and utilization of research results concerning education

 In order to assist individual schools in improving education content and teaching methods and promoting quality improvement of their teachers and administrative staff, the government seeks to promote the accumulation and utilization of research results concerning education.

 Also, the government provides assistance for the collaborative effort of networking universities, Boards of Education, etc. to take advantage of the advanced wisdom and intelligence of universities in the improvement of education (“Consortium of University-driven Assistance for Education” Plan).


※14 “School CIO (Chief Information Officer)” is the person or organization supervising systematic and strategic promotion of ICT at schools.

3) Promoting education and research activities at private schools

 Private schools play an important role in the qualitative and quantitative development of school education in Japan, as they have been contributing to the development of diverse human resources as well as the development of unique education and research activities based on the spiritual legacy of school foundation. In light of the characteristics and roles of private schools, the government respects their autonomy and assists with their education and research activities. Assistance will be provided intensively to those schools that pursue excellent education and research programs, with the aim of promoting education and research activities of private schools overall. At the same time, the government provides guidance and advice for private school corporations to assist their autonomous efforts for sound business management, as we see an increase in the number of financially troubled school corporations that suffer unfilled intake quotas and insufficient income from tuition fees. The government also encourages private school corporations to open their financial information to the public.

【Measures】
◇ Comprehensive assistance including Private Education Institution Aid

 The government provides comprehensive assistance for private schools, including Private Education Institution Aid, for the purpose of maintaining or improving education implementation conditions of private schools, mitigating financial burdens of families whose children, from infants to juveniles, are enrolled in private school, and improving the managerial integrity of private schools.

 Assistance for private universities will be particularly directed toward the vitalization of their education and research activities through careful support of their unique characteristics. The government also assists private high schools’ tuition-reduction and exemption programs designed for students with financial difficulties in paying tuition fees, and assists private kindergartens in conducting childrearing support activities for local communities. In addition, the government will assist in the introduction of earthquake-proof features to education and research facilities of private schools.

◇ Promoting education and research at private universities

 The government is promoting education and research activities of private universities, as part of the measure for assisting the formation of world-class, distinguished education and research centers(※15), the measure for assisting education reforms and shared use of resources and joint research(※16) of national, public and private universities. Regarding indirect costs in competitive funds, the government will achieve a 30% allocation as early as possible.

◇ Assisting in the operation of school corporations

 For the purpose of ensuring sound management of school corporations, the government provides assistance, including consultation, on school operation, guidance or advice based on the analysis of operating conditions, to promote their autonomous efforts to ensure the integrity of their school operation. The government also encourages school corporations to make information on their financial information and admission status available to the public.


※15 See the above at the paragraph headed “Forming world-class, distinguished education and research centers” in section 2 of Basic Direction 3 in part (3) of Chapter 3.
※16 See the above at the paragraph headed “Forming world-class, distinguished education and research centers” in section 2 of Basic Direction 3 in part (3) of Chapter 3.

4) Securing equal learning opportunities

 The government implements measures to secure learning opportunities for those who are competent enough to go on to higher education but are not able to make it due to financial reasons.

【Measures】
◇ Promoting scholarship programs

 From the standpoint of equal educational opportunities, the government is promoting scholarship programs designed for students who are competent enough to go on to higher education but are not able to make it due to financial reasons. The government also encourages prefectural and municipal governments to take appropriate measures for such financial assistance or implement scholarship programs for high schools.

◇ Promoting financial assistance for students, such as fellowships

 With the aim of developing excellent human resources, the government is providing financial aids such as “fellowships,”(※17) “teaching-assistant programs,”(※18) and “research-assistant programs,”(※19) to the recipients selected competitively. The government aims to realize coverage for about 20% of doctoral students by such assistance programs in a way that covers their daily living expenses.

◇ Deliberating over free-of-charge early childhood education

 Regarding the possibility of providing early childhood education free-of-charge in the future, the government comprehensively investigates into the matters of revenue sources, institution and others, coherently with governmental revenue reform. For the time being, the government promotes early childhood education such as mitigation of the financial burdens of parents/guardians at the preschool stage. (See the above at the paragraph headed “Mitigating financial burdens of parents/guardians through the consideration of introducing free-of-charge early childhood education, etc.” in section 5 of Basic Direction 2 in part (3) of Chapter 3.)

◇ Assistance for private schools including Private Education Institution Aid

 The government provides assistance for private schools including Private Education Institution Aid, which are believed to ultimately help mitigate financial burdens of families whose children, from infants to students, go to private schools. As part of such assistance, the government assists private high schools in implementing tuition-reduction and exemption programs designed for students who have difficulties paying tuition fees for financial reasons. (See the above at the paragraph headed “Comprehensive assistance including Private Education Institution Aid” in section 3 of Basic Direction 4 in part (3) of Chapter 3.)

◇ Promoting measures to facilitate funding by private sectors

 The government encourages tax privilege utilization for the purpose of facilitating financial contributions to be made by diverse parties, including companies in particular to education-promotion initiatives, supporting the initiatives of educational organizations, assisting private organizations in promoting autonomous and continuous educational activities and mitigating financial burdens of families with children in high school or university. The government also makes efforts to foster an attitude toward contributions in our society.


※17 “Fellowship” is a grant-in-aid for research activities and is provided for a certain fixed period of time to excellent doctoral students or postdoctoral fellows.
※18 “Teaching-assistant program (TA)” is a training program combined with financial aid to be provided to excellent graduate students. Aid recipients are provided with opportunities to act as an assistant teacher to give undergraduate students advice or help with experiments or course works. A TA aims to help improve the status of graduate students.
※19 “Research-assistant program (RA)” is a training program combined with financial aid to be provided to excellent graduate students. Aid recipients are provided with opportunities to participate in a research project as an assistant researcher to develop their research implementation abilities.

(4) Priority Measures to Be Implemented Intensively

 Of the measures explained above in part (3) of this Chapter, which are to be implemented for the next five years, the following measures are especially important and should be implemented intensively.

◎ Securing essential academic abilities
○ Introduction of the new Courses of Study

 Regarding the new (revised) Courses of Study for elementary and junior high schools, that aim to foster children’s “solid academic abilities,” including fundamental knowledge and skills, abilities to think logically as well as critically, to pass fair judgments and to express themselves well, and “Zest for living” as well, the government hopes to secure relevant parties’ thorough understanding of the new Courses of Study by the end of fiscal year 2008 and implements as many subjects as possible, starting from fiscal year 2009, earlier than the planned full-scale introduction of fiscal year 2011 for elementary schools and fiscal year 2012 for junior high schools, when new textbooks based on the revised Courses of Study are to be introduced.

 In order to ensure smooth implementation of the new Courses of Study, the government will deliberate over infrastructural issues such as staffing quotas, textbooks and teaching materials, school facilities and equipment, etc.

○ Verification of academic abilities through surveys

 For the purpose of establishing the PDCA cycle in educational practices, The National Assessment of Academic Ability will be carried out regularly to understand children’s academic abilities and learning achievements.

 For high school students, multifaceted and objective assessment of their learning achievements will be promoted based on the understanding of diversifying conditions surrounding them, and assessment results will be effectively utilized to improve teaching at high schools, with the goal of assuring and improving the quality of school education.

◎ Fostering richness in mind and physical health
○ Promoting moral education, education on tradition and culture and hands-on activities

 Moral education will be promoted and strengthened in accordance with the revised Courses of Study. In particular, school-wide moral guidance based on a specific teaching plan will be promoted, where a teacher in charge of moral education is to lead the guidance initiative. Also, the government shall deliberate over effective measures, including the use of national subsidies, to ensure that appropriate teaching materials respecting the principles of the revised Courses of Study will be selected and treated equivalently to other authorized textbooks so that they are fully utilized. In addition, the government is promoting a wide range of discussions over diverse measures to facilitate combined efforts of families, schools and local communities to promote moral education according to children’s developmental stages.

 At the same time, the government shall promote education on Japanese tradition and culture as well as on succession and development of tradition and culture, based on the new Courses of Study, to foster a respect for tradition and culture and respect for home country and home town, which have nurtured tradition and culture, along with respect for foreign countries, and an attitude to contribute to peace and prosperity of the international society.

 The government encourages all elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide to provide children with diverse hands-on activities, in cooperation with relevant ministries of the government, including nature experience, camp programs, hands-on experience in workplaces, volunteer activities and activities to experience cultural or artistic works/programs. In addition, the government is assisting in promoting children’s reading activities.

○ Promoting measures for improving children’s physical strengths

 Based on the policy of the revised Courses of Study to increase class hours for physical education at elementary and junior high schools, the government encourages schools to use outside instructors to improve their physical education and sports club activities.

 Also, national surveys on children’s physical strengths will be conducted to understand and analyze the status, and survey results will be used effectively to promote sports/exercise activities at schools or in local communities.

 Through those measures, the government aims to reverse the current trend of declining physical strength among children, in an effort to recover performance to the level at the time around 1985.

○ Promoting measures against bullying, violence, non-attendance at school, juvenile delinquency, suicide, etc.

 In order to promote measures against bullying, violence, non-attendance at school, juvenile delinquency, suicide, etc., the government is encouraging schools to use outside specialists to organize a “team for solution of school problems” or to conduct a “seminar for prevention of juvenile delinquency” and promote collaborative efforts with relevant organizations.

 The government is promoting measures to ensure that all elementary and junior high school students in need of a certain advice or help can receive consultation by school counselors, school social workers, etc.

○ Promoting early childhood education

 The government is introducing the new Course of Study for Kindergartens and Nursing Guidelines for Daycare Centers, starting from fiscal year 2009, to promote cooperation between kindergartens and daycare centers and ensure consistent education between them, while promoting measures to improve the quality of teachers and administrative staff engaged in early childhood education. Regarding Centers for early childhood education and care, the government hopes that the number of centers will exceed 2,000 as soon as possible during the term of this Plan and shall promote publicity of the nurseries, as well as operational improvement necessary for a smooth transition from differentiation between kindergarten and daycare center to the integrated centers and institutional reforms of the nurseries.

◎ Setting the environment for teachers to pay one-on-one attention to individual children
○ Improving the quality of teachers

 The government is implementing necessary measures for the introduction of a modulative wage system for teachers to ensure adequate rewarding, the improvement of training curriculums for teachers to develop their practical teaching abilities, the improvement of employment methods to secure diverse, high-quality human resources, the introduction of strict personnel management, the improvement of training programs for teachers and the smooth introduction of the System for Renewing Educational Personnel Certificates starting from fiscal year 2009.

○ Setting the environment for teachers to pay one-on-one attention to individual children

 The government is promoting optimal staffing and placement of teachers and administrative personnel of schools, effective utilization of outside human resources, including retired teachers and well-experienced specialists, school assistance by local citizens such as the initiative called “Regional Headquarters for School Assistance,” survey reforms, introduction of ICT to schools, and simplification or outsourcing of administrative works of schools.

◎ Promoting education for children in need of special assistance
○ Special Needs Education

 In order to ensure appropriate assistance for children with disabilities including developmental disabilities based on the understanding of educational needs of individual children, the government encourages elementary and junior high schools to make “individual teaching plans” for children with disabilities.

○ Assisting children refusing to go to schools in obtaining learning opportunities

 The government is promoting assistance for children refusing to go to schools including consultation services inside and outside school to secure learning opportunities for them.

◎ Creating a mechanism of community-wide joint efforts for sound growth of children
○ Assistance for home education

 The government encourages relevant organizations to promote comprehensive assistance for home education, including learning opportunities on childrearing, release of useful information, consultation services concerning home education, etc. By promoting information sharing of all municipal governments concerning successful examples of such efforts, the government seeks to ensure nationwide implementation of community-driven initiatives of careful assistance for families and home education, including team activities by specialists.

○ Creating a community-based mechanism for school assistance

 The government is promoting the establishment of partnership and cooperation between schools and local citizens and community-based school assistance activities such the initiative called “Regional Headquarters for School Assistance.” The government is promoting such regional citizen-driven school assistance mechanism in every junior high school district nationwide, by promoting information sharing of all municipal governments concerning successful examples of such efforts.

○ Establishing children’s bases of after-school learning activities and hands-on activities

 The government encourages elementary schools nationwide to implement the “After-school Plan for Children” which consists of efforts to establish safe and secure bases for the activities of children after school, on weekends, etc., and to promote learning activities, various hands-on activities, etc., for the purpose of promoting children’s sound growth.

◎ Promoting career education and vocational education, while securing lifelong learning or “returning for further education” opportunities
○ Promoting career education and vocational education at specialized upper secondary schools

 The government is promoting career education, including workplace experience for students to be conducted in junior high schools. The government also encourages all specialized upper secondary schools nationwide to vitalize their vocational education by strengthening cooperation with local communities.

○ Promoting the development of professionals and creative technical experts with practical skills

 The government is promoting practical vocational education at universities, junior colleges, colleges of technology, specialized training colleges, etc. The government is also promoting improvement of the level of education at professional graduate schools with the aim of developing professionals with high-level expertise and international competitiveness in particular, while promoting the establishment of evaluation organizations in diverse fields. In addition, the government will formulate a plan for promoting colleges of technology in order to develop creative technical experts with practical skills, and implement measures for materializing the plan.

○ Ensuring lifelong learning at universities, etc.

 For the purpose of satisfying people’s lifelong learning needs for career building of individuals or participation in community activities, the government encourages universities, junior colleges, specialized training colleges, etc. to provide learning opportunities for general citizens. The government also assists with academia-industry collaboration for providing learning opportunities for citizens.

◎ Strengthening teaching abilities of universities while assuring the quality of university education
○ Improving the quality of undergraduate education to ensure its reliability in terms of the ability to satisfy expectations of society and secure learning achievements expected for undergraduates

 The government provides assistance for universities, etc. in improving contents and methods of their educational practice, to ensure acquisition of intelligence expected for undergraduates (“qualification as a holder of a bachelor’s degree”), and also assists excellent initiatives of universities, such as employment of a strict assessment system on students’ learning achievements. The government also assists with universities’ organizational efforts to improve teaching abilities of teachers. In addition, the Central Council for Education will deliberate over a comprehensive scheme for quality assurance of university education including authorization for establishment of a university, accreditation system and information release to the public.

○ Assisting strategic measures to be jointly implemented by national, public and private universities

 The government assists universities nationwide in promoting effective utilization of education and research resources of respective universities through cooperation among universities and improving their activities to contribute to local communities. Also, the government will build a mechanism, by the end of fiscal year 2008 to make it possible for national, public and private universities to jointly establish a faculty or graduate course. Also, the government assists universities’ collaborative efforts with local communities and businesses for development of highly demanded human resources.

◎ Promoting the formation of distinguished education and research centers and internationalization of universities, etc.
○ Forming world-class education and research centers and promoting graduate education

 The government provides assistance intensively to about 150 key schools and institutes up to fiscal year 2011, with the aim of forming world-class education and research centers. The government also assists with excellent initiatives of graduate schools for strengthening organizational promotion of graduate education, securing international competitiveness and fostering high-level research abilities, with a hope that all graduate schools nationwide will promote those efforts. The government strives to increase Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research, and assists in efforts of national, public and private universities to implement education and research activities as shared use of resources and joint research.

○ Implementing the “300,000 Foreign Students Plan”

 The government is implementing the “300,000 Foreign Students Plan,” aiming to achieve the goal by around 2020, through cooperation of relevant ministries. Through systematic implementation of this Plan, integrally with the initiatives to invite high-level foreign specialists, the government seeks to receive more foreign students in Japanese schools and institutes.

◎ Ensuring safety and security education environments and equal learning opportunities
○ Promoting improvement of earthquake resistance of schools and other education facilities

 The government assists with facility improvement in safety and security; by improving earthquake resistance of elementary and junior high schools and other facilities, etc. The government assists in improving earthquake resistance especially of elementary and junior high school facilities which would have the high risk of collapse if a powerful earthquake occurs (whose number is estimated at about 10,000). The national government asks local governments to improve earthquake resistance of these facilities as soon as possible within the term of this Plan.

○ Ensuring safety and security at schools

 In order to ensure safety and security of children, the government encourages elementary and junior high schools to respectively formulate a plan on safety and health management at school, from the perspective of both education and administration. The government is also promoting joint efforts of schools with local administrative organs, including police, local volunteers, medical institutions, etc. to ensure and promote safety, security, food education and other measures for sound mental and physical development of children.

○ Promoting private schools

 The government is promoting education and research activities of private schools through diverse measures, including Private Education Institution Aid, education and research assistance directed toward overall national, public and private schools and guidance on school operation for school corporations.

○ Guaranteeing learning opportunities

 The government is forming a comprehensive strategy to secure learning opportunities for all people, to integrate diverse measures including grants-in-aid for preschool education, comprehensive investigation into the introduction of free-of-charge early childhood education coherently with governmental revenue reform, financial assistance for schooling, scholarship programs, Private Education Institution Aid, tax privilege utilization, etc.

(Office for the Promotion of Educational Reform, Policy Planning and Coordination Division, Lifelong Learning Policy Bureau)

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