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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 2 (1)

Fundamental Conceptstoward Educational Reform
2. Unified Effort in Accordance with Administrative Reform,Fiscal Structural Reform,Economic Structural Reform
(1) Cooperation in Administrative Reform

Administrative reform in recent years has spanned all administrative fields,including the reorganization of ministries and agencies,deregulation,decentralization,information disclosure,and special public corporation reforms.These are being implemented based on Cabinet decisions such as the Administrative Reform Program(December1996).

(i)Reorganization of ministries and agencies

(a)Trends in the reorganization of centralgovernment

In November1996,the Administrative Reform Council,with the Prime Minister as Chair,was established for the reorganization of minishies and agencies.Discussions were held on what national functions should be in the twenty-first century,and how the central ministries and agencies should be reorganized,and a final report was put together in December1997.In the final report,in addition to"passing on and nurturing of education and national culture"being raised as one of the four areas for which national administration should take responsibility,it was decided to establish the Ministry of Education,Science and Technology,combining MESSC and the Science and Technology Agency,which would take responsibility for the"cultivation of creative talent and the promotion of advanced science and technology,academia and culture,"one of the important administrative challenges of the twenty-first century.From this final report,the"Basic Law on the Administrative Reform of the Central Government"was submitted to the Diet in February1998,and passed in June1998.The Law aims to initiate the change to a new system with reforms of the central ministries and agencies in January2001.

(b)The"Basic Law on the AdministrativeReform of the Central Government"andEducational Reform

The following points are specified in the"Basic Law on the Administrative Reform of the Central Government."

(1)To make the main task of the Ministry of Education,Science and Technology that of promoting the sound development of creative human resources,science and culture,and the comprehensive promotion of science and technology.

(2)To consider the following points in establishing the Ministry of Education,Science and Technology:

The advancement of educational reforms aimed at the cultivation of rich humanity and reform of the educational system;
The intensification of comprehensive,positive and well-planned measures concerning academic and scientific and technological administration,and securing the harmonization and comprehensiveness of academia and science and technology research;
The reform of the organization and the management system of national universities,and other areas of higher education;and
The reform of elementary and secondary education from the perspective of diversifying education responding to the individual,and respecting local autonomy.

(3)For national universities:

To promote the enhancement of an appropriate system of evaluation for education and research and the enhancement of information disclosure;and
To advance reforms necessary for the enhancement of organization and management systems from the perspective of improving flexibility in human resources,accounting and finance,clarifying authority and responsibility in university management,and simplifying,rationalizing and specializing in clerical organization.

There is no concrete reference to the Independent Administrative Institution of national universities in the law.However,in the final report of the Administrative Reform Council,it is pointed out that,"it is possible that the Independent Administrative Institution will become one choice for a university reform measure,but consideration frorm the long-term perspective of working toward the qualitative improvement in research and education,while respecting university autonomy,should be carried out."As above,educational reform is one of the most important themes in the new Ministry of Education,Science and Technology.It is necessary to take measures in the reorganization of Minishies and Agencies so that educational reform,including how internal departments and organizations should be,will become more effective.

(c)Measures for the establishment of theMinistry of Education,Science andTechnology

While respecting the deliberations on the reorganization of the Ministries and Agencies throughout the Government,MESSC has closely cooperated with the Science and Technology Agency,and has taken the following concrete steps:

In order to consult on how to enact a smooth unification of MESSC and the Science and Technology Agency,in December1997the Joint Examination Team was established to examine the establishment of the Ministry of Education,Science and Technology.
Active personnel exchange between MESSC and the Science and Technology Agency is being implemented.
An allocation of the FY1998 supplementary budget for the cooperative projects between MESSC and the Science and Technology Agency was requested.Cooperative projects will continue in the future.


MESSC-related regulations are aimed at maintaining and improving educational and cultural standards,through the establishment of various criteria,and belong to the so-called category of social regulations.Since the principle of placing importance on individuality was set forth in the report of the National Council on Educational Reform(1985-1987),MESSC has formed a part of educational reform,and has promoted deregulation through continued efforts for diversification and flexibility of the content,methods and system of education.In the Educational Reform Program,which shows the concrete themes of educational reform and a schedule,important perspectives are raised,such as"to realize the school system that helps children develop their individuality and gives them diverse choices,"and"to reorganize schools out of respect for individual schools'autonomy."In order to realize these in the future,it is necessary to take measures with consideration for the promotion of deregulation.As for measures being taken by the Government toward the promotion of deregulation,discussions had been carried out by the Administrative Reform Committee,established in1994.Subsequent to the conclusion of the term of the Committee in December1997,from1998the Deregulation Committee was established,composed of intellectuals from the private sector,under the Administrative Reform Promotion Office(established in1994)which consists of all Cabinet members.The Committee conducts supervisory activities over the present state of promotion of specific measures related to the three-year deregulation program.

The Three-Year Deregulation Program(tentative name)n the three-year deregulation program(period of plan,1998-2000)decided by the Cabinet in March1998,wide-ranging reviews were carried out centering on the perspective of educational reform,and28deregulation items related to education were incorporated.ain examples of items incorporated into the three-year deregulation program)To improve the textbook selection system,etc.To secure transparency in the textbook approval systemTo promote the introduction of autumn enrollment in universitiesTo relax the standard area for universitiesTo conduct a full-scale review of a system of credit accumulation for the National Institution for Academic DegreesTo reassess the system of approval of credits earned at educational institutions other than universities


In educational administration,in order to work for equal opportunity in education nationwide and to maintain and improve its standards,there is a structure of cooperation and implementation between national and local public organizations.It is necessary for local public organizations within this structure to take an important role in the development of concrete policies which respond to the present conditions in their respective regions,and it is also important,in promoting educational reform,to respect their autonomy.Centering on the fourth recommendation by the Committee for the Promotion of Decentralization(established in1995),a Cabinet decision was made on the Decentralization Program in May1998,and the Government is scheduled to submit the related bills to the ordinary session of the Diet in1999.

Main Examples of Items Incorporated into the Decentralization Program The abolishment of approval of appointments of superintendentsThe abolishment and relaxation of the requirement to hire social education-related employeesThe promotion of the transfer of cultural asset-related authorityThe abolishment of the local government functions assigned by the central government as stipulated by lawThe decrease in all types of national involvement

With a view to these trends,the Central Council for Education conducted a report on modalities for local educational administration in the future in September1998,the main contents of which included the clarification of allotted roles of responsibility for national and local public organizations,the revision of the board of education system,and the maintenance of independent,autonomous schools.MESSC has decided to promote the decentralization of educational administration authority in the future based on this report.

(iv)Information disclosure

It is an important challenge to advance the disclosure of education administration information to the public and have educational administration open from the point of view of obtaining a wider understanding of the people as essential for advancing educational reform.Consequently,MESSC is working to disclose information on the deliberations of councils under the jurisdiction of MESSC and others.At present MESSC discloses reports on meetings and the minutes of14councils(mainly excluding those councils which discuss items of correction among active councils)to the public.In addition,MESSC provides a wide range of information through a Document Reading Counter in the Office of Press and Information where the public can freely peruse documents,and also through the MESSC Internet homepage.In the Government,following the Administrative Reform Committee opinion submitted in December1996,the Access to Government Information Bill(tentative name)was submitted to the Diet in March1998(currently under deliberation).

(v)Special public corporation reform

As for special public corporation reform,a necessary review has been made.In1980there were10special corporations under the jurisdiction of MESSC,which have been unified or abolished several times to form the present seven corporations.In addition,in1997,Cabinet decisions were made to abolish the National Education Center,to work to more effectively operate the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science,and to promote the expansion of necessary organizations.(Reference)Instances of unification or abolishment of special public corporations implemented in recent years

Abolishment of the National Olympic Memorial Youth Center(1980:reorganization based upon jurisdiction)
Unification of the Japan School Lunch Association,the Japan School Safety Association and the National Stadium of Japan(amalgamated one-by-one between19821986:established as the National Stadium and School Health Center of Japan)
Integration of the Mutual Aid Association of Private School Personnel and the Japan Private School Promotion Foundation(1998:established as the Promotion and Mutual Aid Cooperation for Private Schools of Japan)

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