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3 Scientific and Technical Education
(2) Science Education in Elementary and Secondary Schools

Th main objectives of science education in elementary and secondary school in Japan are as follows:

l) To increase pupils' interest in things and phenomena of nature and to develop the attitude to pursue the truth.

2) To cultivate the ability to think and deal with problems that arise in the physical environment, logically, on the basis of facts, and to develop skills for handling machines and tools necessary to the pursuit of experiments and observations.

3) To deepen understanding of the facts and principles of natural sciences that are the basis of life and industry, to develop the ability to use such facts and principles, and moreover to foster the creative attitude.

4) To have pupils recognize the relationship between nature and human life, and to develop the interest of the pupils in the conservation and utilization of nature.

According to the results of the national tests mentioned in the previous section, pupils' scholastic achievements in science have gradually improved every year. But it is a problem that pupils have made relatively poor marks in such questions as aim to test pupils' ability to analize the re1atiomship between various facts and principles, or to apply principles and laws, although they are able enough to obtain knowledge with the help of mechanical memory.

To keep abreast of the recent rapid progress of modern science and its technological achievements many countries in the world, especially the U.S.A., the United Kingdom, and the U.S.S.R., are making noticeable efforts to improve science education.

In the U.S.A., the content of education has been criticized since im-mediately after World War 2, particularly the fact that too few capable students have majored in science. In the light of this situation, scientists and engineers, as will as educators began to cooperate in the l950's in making new high school curriculums for physics, chemistry, biology and geology, with the financial assistance from the National Science Foundation and other organizations. Such groups are trying to improve the science curriculum by repeatedly experimenting the new school curriculums. They have also prepared textbooks, teachers handbooks, equipment for experimentation, films and slides, etc. The following are the major groups, of this type, which are now operating in Japan:

PSSC (Physical Science Study Committee)

CBA (Chemical Bond Approach Project)

CHEM Study (Chemical Education Material Study)

BSCS (Biological Science Curriculum Study)

ESCP (Earth Science Curriculum Project)

The new curriculums prepared by such groups have in common the following points as their objectives:

l) To select the most basic facts and principles in the fields of modern natural science.

2) To develop pupils' ability to think scientifically and to employ the scientific method to the solution of problems.

3) To make science useful not only for those whose future career will be in the field of science and technology but also for those who will not be engaged in scientific fields.

The PSSC, for example, has omitted from their textbooks the Archimedean principle, equilibrium of a rigid body, heat, sound, alternating electric current, and others which have traditionally been taught in the school, placing special emphasis instead on the law of conservation of momentum, light quantum, material wave and atomic structure, which are very important aspects in the new physical science. Further, pupils are not expected to learn such newly developed content as a body of know1dge but to discover natural laws by themselves by conducting observation, experi-mentation, and analysis as scientists usually do, thus acquiring the ability to think and act in a scientific manner.

The new movements in science education, which was initiated by the PSSC, first concerned itself with senior high school science which was most seriously criticized. But recently elementary and junior high school curriculums are also being appraised. Under the influence of space exploration, there is a tendency to stress the study of astronomy.

Influenced by the trend in the U.S.A. and by the many conferences on science education organized by the 0.E.C.D., the United Kingdom(England and Wales) has also embarked on science curriculum study, in which the Ministry of Education and the Nuffield Foundation are cooperating.

In the U.S.S.R. emphasis is laid also on the complete understanding of the fundamental principles of natural science and on the aquisition of systematic knowledge, as well as on polytechnical education which aims to connect education with productive labor.

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