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Observing the principle of free compulsory education, the Compulsory Education System Funded by Tax Revenues stipulates that one half of the salaries paid to educational personnel of publicly owed compulsory education schools is borne by the nation in order to provide an adequate content and scale of education to every person. The objective of this system is to maintain the equal opportunities of education for everyone and to improve the standard of education. This system is closely related to regulations that stipulate the classroom size and the allocation of the educational personnel.
As far as the size of class is concerned, it was made possible to form a class with less than the average number of students set by the nation in the FY 2001. This is an exceptional case which should be applied only when judged necessary. The local board of education is given this discretion in order to promote decentralization and to improve school education suited best to the conditions of children and students. In compliance with this principle, 22 prefectures implemented the flexible class formation in the lower grades of elementary schools or in schools with difficulties in student guidance in FY 2002.
The government policy is to review projects supported by the governmental subsidies so that the roles of the nation and the local areas would be reexamined and the roles and powers of the local authorities would be expanded. In line with this objective, necessary reviews on the Compulsory Education System Funded by Tax Revenues have been deliberated at the "Committee for the Promotion of Decentralization" established in the Cabinet Office and at the "Council for the Economy and Finance" where national economic and financial policies are deliberated.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has reviewed projects whenever necessary while keeping intact the fundamentals of the system that the nation is responsible for the standards of compulsory education. The government subsidy expenditure will be reviewed next year to promote reform plans of the government subsidy system. At the same time, from the perspective of expanding the discretion of local authorities, further examinations on system reform will be made in order to promote flexibility in the numbers of students and teacher in schools, and to leave local boards of education the discretion to judge pay standards.
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