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Home > Policy > White Paper, Notice, Announcement > White Paper > JAPANESE GOVERNMENT POLICIESIN EDUCATION, SCIENCE, SPORTSAND CULTURE1998 > TRENDSINEDUCATIONAL REFORM Fundamental Conceptstoward Educational Reform

Fundamental Conceptstoward Educational Reform

In the coming twenty-first century,in order to develop Japan as a country with vitality,and to aim for a nation based on creativity of science and technology and a culturally oriented nation,the role of education,which is the basis of all social systems is extremely important.Looking back at the development of Japan since the Meiji Era(1868-1912),it is needless to say that from the outset,the enthusiasm of the Japanese for education involved the spread and enhancement of the education system and the tireless efforts of the people concerned with education.It is the responsibility of people in this generation to inherit the results of education,to continually advance measures for reform for a new generation and to pass them on to the next generation.Examining the present conditions surrounding children,while they lead prosperous lives and the qualitative expansion of education is being realized,there are far more serious problems:the decrease in the educational power of the home and the community,excessive entrance examination competition accompanying the rise in the advancement rate,bullying,and refusing to attend school and juvenile delinquency.It cannot be denied that Japanese education to this day has tended to fall into the category of education which one-sidedly implants knowledge so that an education which fosters the capability to learn and think for oneself and cultivates rich humanity has been neglected.It can also be said that too little thought has been given to the expansion of the diverse individuality and abilities of each child by stressing the importance of equality in education.Based on the present situation,since1997,with educational reform being one of the"Six Major Reforms"of the Government of Japan,various reforms are being carried out.The following perspectives are important for the advancement of educational reform.

(1)To reform trends which overemphasize intellectual training and cram-style education,to stress the importance of education which fosters the cultivation of rich humanity,such as sense of right and sense of morality,but to also make children realize fully not only the emphasis on rights and freedom,but also the duty and responsibility which comes with them.
(2)To break free from the egalitarianism which has increased to an extreme in the postwar period,and to promote change toward an education respectful of the individuality and abilities of each child.
(3)To aim for a nation based on creativity of science and technology by further improving the standard of basic research and advanced science and technology.

Based on these fundamental concepts,in January1997,the Ministry of Education,Science,Sports and Culture(MESSC)drafted the"Program for Educational Reform,"which brings to light the topics and schedule of educational reform.While respecting the progress of later measures in the Program,revisions were made twice,in August1997and April1998,and at present,MESSC is making the uhnost effort in promoting educational reform along the lines of this new Program.

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