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2008年7月28日 (月)


(Jul. 28, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Minister should act in Oita school scandal

教員採用汚職 教委のあり方を問う根深さ(7月28日付・読売社説)

The bribery scandal involving the Oita Prefectural Board of Education appears to be never-ending. The way in which boards of eduction function has come into question. Boards of education across the country and the Education, Science and Technology Ministry should do their utmost to restore public trust in education.


In the latest incident discovered, bribery is suspected of playing a role not only in teacher employment tests but also in promotion tests for principals and vice principals. In connection with the cases, the Oita prefectural police searched the primary schools of a principal and vice principals who allegedly gave gift certificates to a senior official of the prefectural board of education who oversaw personnel management in return for special treatment in the examination.


The No. 2 official of the board of education is suspected of receiving gift certificates worth 200,000 yen from the principal of a primary and middle school in the prefecture after the principal was unofficially notified of his appointment as a senior official of the board's compulsory education division.

The No. 2 official also is alleged to have instructed his subordinate to bump up test scores of certain applicants to ensure they passed teacher employment and promotion tests.


The board of education has already announced that it will nullify the assignment of teachers to posts that have been confirmed illegitimately obtained and hire unsuccessful applicants whose test scores were sufficient to pass.



Evidence gone


However, with the applicants' answer sheets from the test already having been discarded, it is difficult to identify those illegitimately recruited and those who should have been given a passing grade, but were failed in favor of those who were shown improper consideration. It is also necessary to think about the possible adverse impact on students.


To carry out reform, the prefectural board of education has recently set up a special team comprised of lawyers and outside experts as advisers. The team must quickly investigate the series of incidents from a different viewpoint from the police investigation and take necessary measures.


A practice in which the remark column on applicants' score tables bears the names and titles of board of education officials and prefectural assembly members who acted as go-betweens in connection with the cash-for-pass scandal lasted until at least seven to eight years ago. A person connected to the board of education said the practice had been in place for 20 years.


Concentration of authority to make pass-fail decisions in the hands of a small number of senior officials was proved to have resulted in a hotbed of corruption in a court case in connection with a similar bribery scandal at the Yamaguchi Prefectural Board of Education 18 years ago.



Systemic problems

According to a recent Yomiuri Shimbun survey, however, 58 boards of education among 63 Tokyo and other prefectural, and ordinance-designated cities' boards of education allow only officials of the secretariat division of the board of education to take part in screenings for public school teachers.


Only 17 boards disclose allocation of scores to each answer on the employment tests. Disclosing correct answers and score allocation so that applicants can self-grade their tests is the first step toward preventing wrongdoing.


What did the Oita Prefectural Board of Education learn from the scandal in the other prefecture? The board should seriously reflect on the scandal in which it is involved.


It has also been revealed that the Oita Prefectural Board of Education and other local boards disclosed the results of teacher employment tests, although there was no money involved, to prefectural assembly members and others, who acted as go-betweens, before those who took the test received their results. Providing such advance notice of test results is poor practice that could lead to misconduct. Such practices must be stamped out.


The local education administration law revised last year enables the education minister to demand boards of education take corrective measures if it becomes obvious that violations of the law and negligence on the part of the board infringes on students' rights to an education.



In the case of Oita Prefecture, the misconduct revealed is systematic and either the principal or vice principal has been removed at four primary schools. The education minister should not hesitate to intervene in the case if the prefectural board of education is unable to quickly solve the problem.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 28, 2008)

20087280208  読売新聞)


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