Japanese Ministry of Education seeks to expand teacher system in specialized subjects


Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama is seen during a press conference at the ministry’s headquarters in Tokyo in this file photo taken on December 14, 2018 (Mainichi / Koichiro Tezuka)

TOKYO – Japan’s Ministry of Education is considering expanding the subject-based partial teacher assignment system, whereby certain subjects are taught by specialist teachers, for fifth and sixth grade grades in schools elementary.

It is part of a plan to reform primary, secondary and secondary education in response to changes in society, such as the declining birth rate and the development of artificial intelligence. Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Masahiko Shibayama on April 17 asked the Central Board of Education to deliberate on the plan.

“Schools need to respond to drastic social changes,” Shibayama told reporters.

Under the current system, tenured elementary school teachers teach most subjects to their classes. However, some subjects, such as music and science, are taught by specialist teachers. The ministry plans to expand this system to cover other specialized subjects, including English which will become an official subject in elementary schools during the 2020 school year and programming which will be a compulsory subject in the same year.

If carried out, the measure would reduce the number of subjects that tenured teachers have to teach, reducing the time they spend on preparing for lessons and possibly leading to work style reforms for primary teachers.

At the same time, concerns have been expressed that the expansion of the subject-based teacher assignment system would make it difficult for incumbent teachers to grasp the abilities and characteristics of their students and to carry out a successful study. interdisciplinary teaching.

There are also concerns that the system may not be extended to small schools where a sufficient number of teachers cannot be allocated.

To expand the subject-specific teacher assignment system, the way teachers are assigned to schools as well as the teacher accreditation system need to be reviewed, and the Minister of Education has asked the advisory committee to deliberate on these. Questions.

The ministry is also seeking to reform general high school courses, in which about 70 percent of high school students are enrolled, into ones that can meet the diverse abilities and interests of students.

At a meeting of the headquarters of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) for the revitalization of education, it was proposed to abolish general courses and replace them with more specialized courses, such as “courses. of science and technology “and” world courses “.

Since many students in the second and third years of secondary school choose not to take math and science subjects, the panel will examine how to formulate well-balanced curricula and promote education that crosses the boundaries between science and human studies.

In addition, the Minister of Education asked the council to discuss how to improve the reading comprehension ability of primary school children as well as the education of foreign children.

(Japanese original by Takuya Izawa, City News Service)


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