Home > Asia-Pacific, Education, Politics > Abe Revises Japan’s Fundamental law of Education

Abe Revises Japan’s Fundamental law of Education

Adam Lebowitz and David McNeill write in Japan Focus:

True to his word, Abe Shinzo is radically overhauling Japan’s education system, the single most important item accompanying his attempt to revise the Constitution. In his basic policy speech to the Diet in 2006, the prime minister vowed to rewrite the Fundamental Law of Education, rebuild education and “nurture people who value their families, their communities, and their country.” That makes his reform agenda the most ambitious since 1947, when the education law, written under US occupation, swept away the fascist-tinged classroom policies of the Imperial era.

Few dispute that Japan’s contemporary school system is plagued with serious problems. Educators say academic standards are falling, schools are a mess, and students are increasingly unmanageable. A 2001 poll by the Education Ministry found that a third of teachers and principals had experienced regular periods where teaching had “ceased to function” because of classroom disruptions. Officially, about 130,000 Japanese children refuse to attend school at all; the real figure is probably much higher.

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