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Home > White Paper > FY2005 White Paper on Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology > Chapter2 Part4 Cooperation among Schools, Communities and Families

Chapter 2 :
ENHANCING EDUCATIONAL FUNCTIONS OF COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES

Part 4 Cooperation among Schools, Communities and Families

1. Participation by Local Residents and Parents/Guardians in School Management

In order to realize schools that are open to and trusted by the community, it is important to promote the creation of schools with character that reflect the opinions and requests of parents, guardians and local residents and utilize the innovation in the various communities. At the same time, parents, guardians and local residents are also required to take an active role in school management with the recognition that the community also bears a responsibility for education together with the school.

Furthermore, not only does participation by parents, guardians, and local residents in school management heighten transparency in school management and ensure fairness and correctness, it is also significant that through the opening of schools in this way and the provision of evaluation results on education activities, schools are making themselves accountable.

As efforts to contribute to the participation of parents, guardians and local residents in school management, MEXT is promoting the following measures.

(1) School Councilor System

The School Councilor System is a system whereby parents, guardians and local residents are affiliated as school councilors with the boards of education, where they provide their opinions concerning school management in response to requests from the principal. Schools adopting this system are expected to:

  (a) Grasp and reflect the ideas of parents, guardians and local residents regarding school management;
(b) Gain cooperation from parents, guardians and local residents in school management; and
(c) achieve accountability by providing information on the conditions of school management.

The number of public schools utilizing the School Councilor System is increasing year by year. In addition, not only do these Councilors provide their opinions concerning educational targets and curricula at the school, their position extends to providing a forum for contributing to cooperation with the local community, among others.

Moreover, the number of local governments that are encouraging the participation of parents, guardians and local residents through school evaluation, etc., by introducing systems similar to the School Councilor System is increasing.

It continues to be necessary to enhance and expand structures such as the School Councilor System for parent, guardians and local residents to participate in schools.

(2) Introduction of the School Management Council System

1) School Management Council System (Community Schools)

  (a) Aims of the system 
In order to respond to people’s diverse expectations for public schools and further promote trustworthy schools, it is important that the various opinions and requests of parents, guardians and local residents are accurately reflected in school management. To this end, in June 2004 the Law Concerning Organization and Functions of Local Education Administration was amended (entering into force in September 2004), and the School Management Council System (Community Schools) was established, enabling the participation of parents, guardians and local residents in school management (Figure 2-17).

Through this legislation, parents, guardians and local residents are now able to participate in school management as members of the School Management Council, through which they possess certain powers and responsibilities that are described below. In the future, by utilizing the School Management Council it is expected that in addition to enabling parents and local residents to swiftly and accurately reflect their diverse requests in school management, it will encourage better educational activities involving schools, families and the local community as one whole.

Figure 2-17 Visualization of Community Schools (Municipal elementary and lower secondary schools)

(b) Overview of Community Schools 
The main difference between Community Schools and normal public schools is that through the School Management Council parents, guardians and local residents have certain powers and responsibilities, enabling them to participate in school management. The School Management Councils have been given the following legal rights:

  (1) Powers to approve basic policies on school management compiled by principal The School Management Council is involved in formulating policy designed to improve the school with the principal and teachers and other personnel. Such efforts make it possible for parents, guardians and local residents to see their diverse requests swiftly and accurately reflected in school management.
(2) Power to state opinion to the boards of education or schools on matters concerning school management The School Management Council was established as a consultative body in school management, and its members are therefore entitled to state their opinions on school management issues in general, not only on the approval of the school’s basic policy on education.
(3) Power to state opinion to the boards of education, which have the power to recruit teachers and other personnel, concerning appointment of teachers and other personnel The way in which principals, teachers and other personnel are appointed at schools is an important matter in realizing educational targets in line with the basic policy for school management. To this end, the School Management Council is composed so as to be able to state its opinion directly to the boards of education, which have the power to recruit teachers and other personnel, about personnel matters concerning teachers and other personnel.

In so doing, for example, by requesting the appointment of a teacher who is particularly proficient in a subject that has been stipulated as a priority area in the basic policy, it becomes possible to effectively realize the basic policy of education.

The boards of education receiving the opinions are obliged to respect those opinions.

(c) Establishment of School Management Councils
School Management Councils may be established in any public school in any region in the country, and the final decision on their establishment is left to the boards of education, based on the ideas and requests of parents, guardians and local residents.

Currently, it is expected that the introduction of the Community School model will be actively advanced by boards of education in many regions, including those in regions in which active efforts are being made to open schools to the community and the School Councilor System has thus already been introduced, as well as in regions advancing the vitalization of school management by introducing the abilities of persons from outside the school environment, by recruiting local people for example.

2) Plan to Promote Community Schools
MEXT has been implementing the Plan to Promote Community Schools since FY2005. In line with the promotion plan, research has been conducted to survey School Management Councils, in order to more smoothly and effectively introduce and implement the School Management Council System in each region of Japan (Figure 2-18). The promotion plan consists of the following two projects:


  (a) Project to Promote Community Schools
This project is entrusted to the prefectural boards of education, which engage in survey research to investigate effective methods of Community School operation under the following themes:
  (1) Specific methods to appropriately grasp and reflect the ideas of local residents;
(2) The role of the School Management Council in school management and the modality of cooperation with related parties;
(3) Modality of effective utilization of external human resources, such as school-supporting volunteers; and
(6) Modality of monitoring and evaluating schools.

Figure 2-18 Plan to Promote Community Schools (School Management Council System)

  (b) Forum to Promote Community Schools
This forum is held to raise and spread awareness concerning Community Schools. It is focused on parents, guardians, local residents, school staff and members of the boards of education, etc.

3) Status of consideration and designation of Community Schools in each prefecture
From the instigation of the system in September 2004 to December 2005, a total of 35 schools nationwide had received designations as Community Schools from their boards of education.

Furthermore, more than 200 schools are currently expected to receive Community School designations or are undergoing examination for designation. It is expected that as the introduction of Community Schools advances nationwide, efforts to make schools more trustworthy and open to the community will gain momentum, becoming more active.

(3) School Evaluation and Provision of Information
Participation of parents, guardians and local residents in school management to construct together with schools a better school environment has the effect of further enhancing the quality of school education. In order to improve trust of parents, guardians and local residents in schools and promote their participation in school management, it is important for schools to be accountable through evaluation and the openness of their educational activities. School evaluation and the provision of information play an important role in providing information necessary for school participation.

Starting in FY2002, the Standard for Elementary School Establishment and other regulations have stipulated that schools must attempt to implement self-evaluation concerning their educational activities and the status of other aspects of school management, and disclose the results. It is also stipulated that schools must actively provide school information to parents and guardians.

In accordance with the report of the Central Council for Education entitled “Redesigning Compulsory Education for a New Era” (See Chapter 1, Part 4) and “Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Management and Structural Reform 2005,” MEXT is advancing deliberations with the aim of formulating school evaluation guidelines by the end of FY2005. Through such efforts, MEXT will promote improvements to the school evaluation system.

2. Promotion of School Education through Cooperation with Communities and Families

People are a national treasure in Japan, a country which lacks natural resources, and the future of Japan depends on whether robust human resources who will lead a path toward a new era can be nurtured. To this end, it is important to ensure that from childhood people are given a strong “zest for living” including the abilities to learn and think independently, and in an environment in which children interact with their families and deepen their cooperation with the community, the roles of schools, families and communities each need to be maintained as children are nurtured. It is important that school education deepens it ties with communities and families and gains their cooperation.

To this end, MEXT is advancing the following efforts in an attempt to deepen collaboration and cooperation between school education and communities and families.

(1) Special Part-time Teacher System and Special Certificate System
The Special Part-time Teacher System is designed to allow working people and local residents who lack teaching qualifications but possess outstanding knowledge and skills to teach a portion of subjects and the Period of Integrated Study. Utilization of this system is growing year by year, extending to 21,906 cases in FY2004 nationwide. Examples extend to various areas and include: the invitation of a Japanese drumming master to an elementary school to teach in music tuition; and the invitation of a hotel manager to teach in the Period of Integrated Study at a upper secondary school in order to nurture job awareness.

The Special Certificate System is one whereby working people who lack teaching qualifications but possess outstanding knowledge, experience and skills in a variety of fields can take an assessment test for educational personnel implemented by the prefectural boards of education, which provide the person with a Special Certificate. Holders of this Certificate can then be appointed to teaching posts (As of April 1, 2005, the total number of Special Certificates issues totaled 163).

(2) Period of Integrated Study
In the Period of Integrated Study, education is actively developed that builds on the character of the local region, and from the perspective of further enhancing the effect of children's learning activities, collaboration and cooperation with external persons including parents, local people, and NPOs are implemented and diverse regional education resources are utilized. At more than 90percent of public elementary schools, classes for the Period of Integrated Study are implemented with the collaboration and cooperation of persons from outside the school environment. As one example of utilizing collaboration and cooperation with persons from outside the school, the Agency for Cultural Affairs is implementing the “Program to Dispatch Artists to Schools.” This program is one that sends outstanding artists and those who possess skills in traditional crafts to schools in the area in which they were born and/or raised, where they provide lectures and actual demonstrations of their craft, incorporating experiential advice about arts and culture and outstanding features of local community.

▲Program to Dispatch Artists to Schools (Moriyama City, Shiga Prefecture)

(3) Hands-on Activities
In order to promote volunteer and experiential activities among elementary and secondary school children through school and the community, it is necessary to create a structure that enables support for such activities through cooperation among schools, families and the community. In addition, in order to build such a structure it is important to develop ties between schools and communities and build a promotional structure, in addition to devising sustainable cooperative relations on an everyday basis.

MEXT is conducting the Rich Experience Activity Model Program in order to promote hands-on activities in schools. This program promotes collaboration among PTA members, social education facilities and community organizations toward the creation of a support structure for hands-on activities in schools. In addition, efforts are being made under this program in collaboration with communities and families, such as by conducting hands-on activities that utilize the skills of local people and gain the cooperation of local groups and PTAs. Specific examples include the following: organization of a school support council comprised of school councilors, PTA members and social workers; implementation of agricultural experiences with the cooperation of the local Japan Agricultural Cooperative, by inviting farmers to provide guidance in planting rice, etc.; and the invitation of local people to provide lectures about activities as a prior learning exercise before actual hands-on activities begin.

Case Study: Ichikawa City Soya Elementary School, Chiba Prefecture
A program was implemented whereby pupils at Soya Elementary School traveled to Niigata Prefecture and engaged in hands-on activities there together with a local elementary school. They received guidance and support from local people, including farmers, and parents as they engaged in activities to plant rice and to harvest it. Soya Elementary School has also invited a farmer from Niigata to its own school, and has built a rice paddy in the school garden.

▲Experiencing rice harvesting at Soya Elementary School

(4) Career Education
In order to smoothly implement career education, it is necessary to gain the cooperation of families and communities in creating a regional system. Some regions in Japan actually build organizations in which families, communities and local businesses cooperate to develop new businesses that accept students for career experience and to hold lectures by professionals in which workplace experiences are promoted.

Since April 2005, MEXT has implemented Career Start Week, which aims to provide five days or more of workplace experience to lower secondary school students, and is promoting these efforts in collaboration with families and communities.

Case Study: Oga City, Akita Prefecture
In Oga City in Akita Prefecture, the Oga City Career Start Week Implementing Committee has been organized, comprised of members from the board of education, chamber of commerce, employment security office, PTA and staff at the lower secondary school. The Implementing Committee has formulated overall plans for workplace experiences, and worked to develop and expand opportunities for workplace experiences and ensure cooperation to smoothly implement such experiences with the cooperation of various local organizations. In this way, workplace experiences have achieved promotion of career education.

▲Career Start Week in Oga City

(5) Foreign Language Education
In order to cultivate human resources conversant with the international community, it is important to improve abilities in foreign languages, which are a tool for communication. Considering future developments in exchanges between various countries, it is necessary for students to gain proficiency in foreign languages including, but not limited to, English, with the cooperation of people in the community.

To this end, in order to promote diversity in foreign language education, MEXT has designated some prefectures which are making education efforts in foreign languages other than English as special promotion regions, and is implementing practical research on curriculum issues and ways to utilize local human resources for such education.

(6) IT Education
In order for Japan to be able to lead the world in the IT sector, it is important to promote from the elementary and secondary education level the fostering of innovative human resources who will be able to work at the cutting edge of the IT sector in the future.

To this end, MEXT is implementing the following efforts under the IT Human Resources Development Project, among others: designating upper secondary schools that give priority to IT education as sites for developing advanced education methods through cooperation with local universities and businesses (designated experimental schools); and recruiting innovative upper secondary school students with IT knowledge and skills and providing them with guidance in the form of a study retreat from a researcher active on the cutting edge of the IT sector (IT Schools).

Case Study: Designated Research School
(1) Internship (Practical experience at company)
(2) External classes (Upper secondary school students sent to universities, etc., to participate in specialized classes and research presentations at universities or professional training colleges)
(3) Internal classes (University lecturers are invited to school, and students listen to lectures about applied and developmental IT theory)
(4) Volunteer activities (Students take the initiative in establishment of IT-related lectures for local residents, including the elderly)

(7) Promoting the Utilization of Sports Instructors
Physical education and extracurricular sports club activities in schools form the basis for an enjoyment of exercise throughout life, and in recent years given the continuing declining trend in children’ fitness the importance of school physical education has increased.

However, with particular regard to extracurricular sports clubs, a problem is emerging in that there are not enough instructors with the specialist knowledge to teach sports. For this reason, MEXT has been entrusting survey research to prefectural boards of education in order to promote the utilization of local sports instructors in school extracurricular sports club activities, including revising and expanding the list of registered local sports instructors and improving and enhancing training sessions to improve the quality of trainers.

(8) Responses to School Non-attendance and Undesirable Behavior Among Children
With regard to the causes and background to undesirable behavior among children, it is believed that there are a variety of complex and interrelated factors, including those related to social factors such as parenting and home disciplinary issues from a very young age; modality of instruction given at schools; lack of everyday life experiences; and lack of consideration for others and a diminished sense of connection to other people in a materially wealthy society, in addition to factors related to the worsening environment that surrounds the youth.

Against such backdrop, it is necessary for society as a whole to response to school non-attendance and undesirable behavior among children, through close cooperation among school and families and also the community and related organizations.

MEXT has been conducting a Program to Tackle Undesirable Behavior Through Promotion of Cooperative Community Action. Under this program, a community support system has been created through the establishment of support teams comprised of schools, boards of education, and other relevant organizations (probation officers, a consultation office for children, police, etc.) to deal with behavioral problems among children. The program also conducts research on the modality and functions of support inside and outside school to deal with non-attendance among children due to truancy and delinquency and to deal with children whose behavior at school is seriously problematic (Figure 2-19). Furthermore, a project to establish schooling support networks (SSN) in communities has also been implemented to deal with non-attendance among children in a more detailed manner. From FY2005, the Practical Research Program on the Utilization of NPOs in Responding to School Non-attendance has been newly implemented (Figure 2-20), entrusting development of effective learning curricula and activity programs to NPOs, private sector facilities and public facilities which all have experience in providing guidance and support to children who do not attend school and their parents or guardians.

In addition, local people have been recruited as “advisors for parents and children” and “cooperators to promote student guidance” and are engaged in efforts to deal with school non-attendance and undesirable behavior among children in cooperation with schools, communities and families, by enhancing the educational counseling system and the student guidance system (Figure 2-21).

Figure 2-19 Program to tackle undesirable behavior through promotion of cooperative community action

Figure 2-20 Practical research program on the utilization of NPOs in responding to school non-attendance

Figure 2-21 Enhancing Educational Counseling System at Elementary Schools

(9) Opening of the Discussion Group with NPOs Involved in Activities in the Education and Youth Development Sectors
With the changes in the environment surrounding children, it is important to listen to the opinions of a broad range of people and refer to these opinions when promoting measures, in order to respond appropriately to the various challenges emerging concerning education and youth development.

To this end, MEXT convened the Discussion Group with NPOs Involved in Activities in the Education and Youth Development Sectors to engage in free discussion with NPOs concerning the modality of cooperation between NPOs and administrative bodies in this area.

3.Parenting Support at Kindergartens in Cooperation with Communities and Families

(1) Promotion of Parenting Support at Kindergartens
Due to changes in social circumstances resulting from the trends toward fewer children per family and toward the nuclear family, as well as the dilution of local ties in the community, various issues are emerging such as feelings of unease and isolation pertaining to parenting which are growing among parents and guardians and a decline in the number of places where children can make and play with friends. Under such circumstances, kindergartens are being called on to improve their parenting support functions as institutions dedicated to pre-school education and open themselves to the community, and various efforts are being made toward this goal. In FY2004, 77 percent of all kindergartens were making some efforts in the area of parenting support (Figure 2-22).

Figure 2-22 Kindergartens implementing parenting support programs

<Examples of parenting support at kindergartens>
Educational activities conducted after school hours stipulated in the curriculum (“daycare”)
Invitation of parents, guardians and children not yet enrolled in kindergarten
Opening of kindergarten gardens and buildings
Parenting advice by education specialists
Parenting counseling by counselors
Parenting lectures, classes and symposia, etc.
Provision of venue for exchange among parents and guardians
Support for parenting circles, etc.
Provision of parenting information (parent news, Internet, etc.)
Local exchange with elderly people and volunteer groups, etc.
Counseling training
Reading aloud from picture books and reading exercises
Participation in daycare by parents and guardians

▲Educational participation by fathers (Ota Ward, Tokyo)

(2) Future Direction for Parenting Support
In January 2005, the Central Council for Education issued a report entitled, “The Ideal Form of Future Pre-School Education Taking into Account Changes in the Environment Surrounding Children.The report indicates that sound growth of children can be achieved through maintaining a balance between family education, community education and education at kindergartens and other facilities, realizing rich pre-school education on the whole. Based on this recognition, the report proposes the following: (i) promotion of comprehensive pre-school education by families, communities, kindergartens and other facilities; and (2) improvements to pre-school education based on continuity of children's lifestyles and continuity in their development and learning.

As for parenting support, it is important to further promote support for parenting at kindergartens and other facilities and to create a two-way network between kindergartens and the community. It is also important to develop comprehensive policies that take into account pre-school education in the family and the community, with kindergartens taking a central role as dedicated pre-school education institutions.

4.Creating Safe and Secure Schools

Schools implement learning activities with the goal of achieving sound growth in children and helping them to achieve their potential. As a basis from which to start such activities, a safe and secure school environment must be ensured.

However, in recent years incidents taking place in schools or on school routes have become a grave problem. For example, in February 2005 a suspicious person broke into Neyagawa Chuo Elementary School, attacking teachers and other personnel, one teacher fatally, and at the end of 2005 incidents occurred in succession in Hiroshima City and Imaichi City where children were killed on their way to school.

In order to prevent such incidents and protect children from such crimes, it is necessary to develop a structure whereby children's safety is ensured by the community as a whole, in addition to developing a school safety management system in response to each school and community's needs, to improve education on crime, to develop facilities, and to further improve crisis management awareness among teachers and other personnel.

(1) Efforts to Date toward Promotion of School Safety
Incidents, accidents and disasters occur in all facets of day-to-day life. Children are exposed to a variety of risks including accidents while in the care of a school, or at home or in the community, as well as traffic accidents, natural disasters, and crime. It is therefore an urgent and pressing challenge for society today to ensure the safety of our children, who will shoulder the future. MEXT has long asked prefectural boards of education to enhance school safety management by illustrating with examples specific aspects of safety management requiring inspection and measures for dealing with intruders and other incidents/accidents. In June 2001 a horrendous incident occurred in which several children and teachers were killed or injured by a stranger who intruded into the Ikeda Elementary School attached to Osaka Kyoiku University. Afterwards, there seems to be no end to incidents, which threaten the safety of children in school premises or on their way to or from school.

In light of these situations, MEXT has implemented a “Safety and Security Project for Children” to comprehensively improve responses to school safety in both “software” and “hardware” aspects. In addition, in order to promote specific efforts to ensure safety at schools, “An Urgent Appeal on School Safety Protecting the Safety of Children” (January 2004) and “Reassessing Measures for School Safety” (March 2005) were published, both of which compile specific points to be noted pertaining to safety assurance for children, as well as coordination measures among school, family, community and other related organizations. In this way, efforts are being made to promote school safety measures.

In order to create safe and secure schools, it is important to promote community-based efforts for school safety in cooperation with the community as a whole, including parents, in addition to persons directly related to schools making efforts based on the details above. Close coordination between schools and local organizations, including the police, is also called for.

1) Promoting safety management at schools
Schools must uncover as early as possible any dangers present in the school environment that could lead to incidents, accidents and any risks posed to schoolchildren engaged in school activities, and then, they must establish systems to ensure the security of schoolchildren and to promptly eliminate these dangers and risks.

Understanding the gravity of the incident at the Ikeda Elementary School attached to Osaka Kyoiku University, MEXT in July 2001 provided prefectural boards of education with a notice on “Emergency Measures for Children’s Safety and Safety Control of Schools,” and took steps such as special local allocation tax measures to cover the expenses necessitated by the installation of surveillance cameras and panic buttons as emergency safety measures. Bearing in mind the views offered by prefectural boards of education, MEXT in August 2001 produced “Amendment of Matters Requiring Inspection [Examples] for the Security of Kindergarten Students and Schoolchildren and School Safety Management” for distribution to prefectural boards of education.

Furthermore, since FY2002 MEXT has been pursuing a “Safety and Security Project for Children” to provide comprehensive approaches in both “software” and “hardware” aspects to enhance school safety with the aim of safer and more secure schools.

The “hardware” aspect of safety measures was addressed in “Anticrime Measures at School Facilities” (November 2002), a compilation of principles for crime prevention measures for school facilities and points of attention when planning and designing such measures. MEXT further sought to enhance the provisions on crime prevention contained within the “Guidelines for Upgrading of School Facilities” (August 2003) and in September 2004 produced a manual providing additional commentary on these provisions. MEXT has also been preparing collections of case studies that introduce unique crime prevention measures adopted by schools.

The “software” side of safety issues was tackled in the “Risk Management Manual for School Invasions” (December 2002), a summary of key points for all schools to bear in mind that serves as a reference for concrete responses to intruders for boards of education meetings and schools, and in “Examples of Safety Management Approaches at Schools” (June 2003), an introduction to unique approaches to crime prevention adopted at schools. In addition, as a means of developing a structure to address school safety by the community as a whole, and to ensure safe and secure schools, in FY2005 MEXT commenced the “Program to Promote a Community-based School Safety Structure,” which comprises three pillars:

  (a) Nurturing of and training for school safety volunteers (“School Guards”) to engage in school patrols and security efforts;
(b) Patrol guidance and evaluation at each school by a School Guard Leader, with the cooperation of an anti-crime specialist or retired police officer, etc.; and
(c) Practical efforts in model communities.

MEXT is also involved in programs to support crime prevention classes aimed at improving the safety response skills of school children, teachers and school staff through crime prevention drills and emergency aid training.

The teacher’s manual “The Mental Care of Children in Disasters” prepared in March 1998 was amended in August 2003 to incorporate responses not only to natural disasters but also man-made disasters and other emergencies.

National subsidies have been provided for the relocation of administrative offices and classrooms for lower grades and for the installation of gates and fences, and ordinary local allocation tax measures have been taken to cover the costs of safety measures at public schools.

▲Commuting from school in groups with community participation (Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture)

2) Enhancing safety education at schools 
Schools must foster in children respect for their own lives and those of others, understanding of practical safety in all aspects of daily life, and the ability to ensure their own safety throughout their lives. To that end, MEXT offers safety education in the course of school educational activities at all schools, particularly in health and physical education classes, moral education, and special activities.

MEXT has prepared a reference manual on safety education at school for teachers entitled “Safety Education at Schools to Cultivate a Zest for Living” (November 2001). Other reference materials for teachers and learning tools for students with regard to safety education have been produced to advance effective disaster prevention education at schools, including “Expanding Disaster Prevention Education to Cultivate a Zest for Living” (March 1998) – a reference for teachers that clarifies the significance and aims of disaster prevention education, the content to be taught and methods of instruction, as well as risk forecast learning tools on traffic safety (March 2002). Workshops on school safety have also been held for teachers, school staff and school education supervisors of prefectural boards of education who play a leading role in safety education in their respective prefectures.

(2) Response to Recent Incidents

1) Response to incident at Neyagawa Chuo Elementary School
Following the incident at Neyagawa Chuo Elementary School in February 2005, MEXT established a “Project Team for the Creation of Safe and Secure Schools” in order to examine response measures to make schools safer and more secure. On March 31, the results of the examination were compiled in “Reassessing Measures for School Safety” and the superintendent of each prefectural board of education was notified and given instructions. The report includes two major proposals, one entitled Points for “Reassessment of Safety Measures at Schools” and the other “Promotion of Further Coordination between Schools and the Police.”

The Points for “Reassessment of Safety Measures at Schools” call for the following:

  (a) Establishment of a three-stage system of safety checks: prevention of break-in by suspicious persons into school premises; detection and removal of suspicious persons from school premises; and prevention of break-in by suspicious persons into school buildings.

(b) Efforts to deal with a break-in by a suspicious person, including the preparation of equipment designed to ensure safety and the implementation of training, etc.

(c) Creation of safe and secure schools through coordination among schools, families and communities.

(d) Creation of schools which are open to the community and school safety.

In addition, the “Promotion of Further Coordination between Schools and the Police” gives examples of coordination between schools and the police as follows, emphasizing the importance of making such efforts:

  (a) Arrangement of an occasion where schools and the local police, and the boards of education and the police can exchange their opinions (e.g. by improving the functions of the school-police liaison council)
(b) Enhancement of patrols in accordance with school’s circumstances.
(c) Implementation of practical and effective crime prevention training and classes through coordination between school and the police.
(d) Implementation of reassessment of the school safety system, including school facilities, crime prevention equipment and a manual, with the cooperation of police officers or retired police officers.
(e) Development of an emergency notification system from school to the police, and implementation of notification training.
(f) Sharing of information about suspicious persons and/or incidents in the community.

2) Emergency measures taken in response to the murder of children on their way to school
At the end of 2005, shocking incidents occurred in succession in November in Hiroshima City and in December in Imaichi City whereby children on their way to school were murdered.

Taking these incidents with the utmost seriousness, MEXT issued an emergency notification on December 6, 2005, entitled “Ensuring Safety of Children Commuting to and from School” in order to ensure safety during the daily school commute. It urged that the following actions be taken as a matter of urgency:

  (a) Urgent and swift investigation to ascertain areas on the school routes that require caution.
(b) Formulation of measures to create a structure that safeguards children on their way to and from school from the perspective of ensuring that children are not alone during the commute, based on each school’s own circumstances.
(c) Promotion of practical education on safety that equips children with capability to detect and avoid danger.

Overview of Ensuring Safety of Children Commuting to and from School (December 6, 2005)
1 Thorough examination of safety on school commuting routes and widespread notification of areas where caution is required
In order to ensure the safety of children commuting to and from school, teachers and parents should regularly engage in safety checks on school routes, and grasp and disseminate information on areas where caution is required.
2. Thorough safety management of children commuting to and from school
Measures should be formulated to ensure the safety of children commuting to and from school, such as group commuting or commuting in the company of a parent or guardian, and a structure should be developed where the community as a whole watches over children on their way to and from school, with a view to ensuring that children are not alone.
3. Promotion of safety education that equips children with the capability to detect and avoid danger
In order to ensure that children are not embroiled in crime, it is necessary to teach them means of detecting danger and avoiding it. Given this necessity, practical education on crime should be promoted according to the developmental stage of the child through such efforts as the compilation of commuting safety maps and lectures to promote crime awareness.
4. Sharing information on suspicious persons, etc.
Efforts should be made to make certain that information on the appearance of suspicious persons is swiftly shared among schools, parents and guardians, and related local groups in coordination with the police, on a daily basis.
5. Coordination with the police
Coordination with the police is essential in promoting safety assurance measures for school commuting. For this reason, opinions should be exchanged with the police on various occasions, including exchange of information as standard procedure through the forum of the school-police liaison councils, participation in crime prevention classes and training, and sharing of information on suspicious persons.

In addition, given these incidents on the way to school and the incident whereby a child was murdered in a cram school in Uji City in December 2005, an Inter-Ministerial Meeting Concerning Measures to Protect Children from Crime was established to promote efforts through the entire government to ensure the safety of children. The Inter-Ministerial Meeting compiled a report entitled “Measures to Protect Children from Crime.” This report contains a number of measures designed to ensure the safety of children. In particular it identifies “six emergency measures” that require an urgent response. These include the implementation of urgent safety checks on routes to school, the urgent implementation of practical crime prevention classes, and the creation of a structure for school safety throughout the entire community, calling for the cooperation of volunteer “School Guards” in watching over the vicinity of the school, including the school premise. Furthermore, the report requests the promotion of a system whereby standard local buses are used as school buses for the commute to and from schools and also the creation of a system covering the entire region, led by the police, to share information on suspicious persons.

MEXT will continue to promote efforts to ensure school safety, including children’s safety on the way to and from school, by developing a system where the community as a whole will watch over children with the cooperation of parents and the community, and promoting the participation of the “School Guards.”

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