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2008年12月 6日 (土)

教科書検定―密室の扉がわずかに開く

2008/12/6 --The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 5(IHT/Asahi: December 6,2008)

EDITORIAL: Textbook screening

教科書検定―密室の扉がわずかに開く

The education ministry is promising a major shakeup in one of the most contentious areas of education policy--the screening of textbooks. Its plan is to enhance transparency of textbook screening and authorization by disclosing, albeit in piecemeal fashion, what is involved in the process.

 教科書検定の透明性を高めるための改善案がまとまった。検定が終わった後に、経過が大まかにではあるが公表されることになる。 

Private companies publish textbooks that students use in school. Under the current system, the ministry examines textbook content and expressions and orders revisions and modifications if necessary.

 子どもたちが学校で使う教科書は、民間が作ったものを政府が中身や表現を点検し、必要に応じて修正させる。それが教科書検定制度である。 

Textbook examiners who are hired from among researchers as employees of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology submit written opinions, which are put before the Textbook Authorization and Research Council, a body comprised of academics and intellectuals. Based on its conclusion, the ministry requests textbook companies to amend passages.

 研究者らの間から文部科学省職員として採用される教科書調査官が意見書を作り、有識者による検定調査審議会にかける。その結論をもとに教科書会社に修正を求める仕組みだ。 

What is surprising is the closed nature of the process. The council's proceedings are closed to the public. So are the contents of the written opinions and the outline of deliberations. Moreover, even the names of examiners and council members are kept secret.

 驚くのは、その密室性である。審議会が非公開なことは言うに及ばず、意見書の中身や審議の概要も明らかにされない。それどころか、担当した調査官や審議委員の名前すら秘密である。「静かな環境で議論していただく」というのが、文科省の言い分だ。 

According to the ministry, this is so members can work in "a quiet environment for discussion." Last year, the ministry under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe requested publishers of senior high school Japanese history textbooks to delete references to the Imperial Japanese Army forcing Okinawan civilians to commit mass suicides during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. This prompted a massive outcry in Okinawa Prefecture, and the government had to allow publishers to reinstate the entries.

The ministry's decision to shed light on the screening process was made in response to the controversy.

 今回、扉を少し開こうとするのは、安倍内閣時代の高校日本史の検定で、沖縄の集団自決が日本軍に強いられたという趣旨の記述を削らせ、その後事実上修正した一件がきっかけだ。 

According to the ministry's proposals, the names of the examiners and the subjects they were in charge of would be made public. After the completion of the screening and authorization process, the contents of opinions written by the examiners, the outline of deliberations and the names of council members who attended the deliberations will also be disclosed. Apparently, the ministry believes this is the limit of what it can do without inviting outside intervention.

 改善案では、調査官の名前や担当教科を公開し、検定終了後に調査官の意見書や審議概要、出席した審議委員名も明らかにする。審議の過程で議論が明らかになれば外部からの働きかけも懸念される中では、これが限界というのが文科省の言い分なのだろう。 

The new policy will at least allow us to learn about the opinions expressed by various individuals that form the basis of recommendations for revision, albeit after the fact. If council members fear that their utterances will enter the public domain, they should probably be more careful about what they say in discussing textbook screening. The public can also use the information to watch the next screening process.

 これまでと比べれば、前進ではある。どんな人のどんな意見がもとになって修正意見がついたのかということを、事後にだが知ることはできる。公開を意識すれば検定の議論がより真剣、慎重になるだろうし、国民が次の検定を見守る参考にもなる。 

But the ministry has not gone far enough. Suppose a situation similar to the Okinawa suicide issue occurs, the public will only learn about it after a conclusion has been reached. Had written opinions been made public during the screening process, experts on the Battle of Okinawa would have spoken out.

 だからと言って、これで十分だとは言えない。集団自決検定と同じような事態になったとしても、その事実を知らされるのはこれまで通り結論が出た後なのだ。仮に検定過程で意見書が明らかになっていれば、沖縄戦の専門家らから指摘があったはずだ。 

Moreover, the council will remain closed and no minutes of deliberations will be kept. By contrast, the Central Council for Education, which deliberates government guidelines for teaching that serve as a basis for writing textbooks, is open as a general rule.

 加えて、審議会を非公開とし、議事録を作らないことについては従来通りだという。教科書作りの指針となる学習指導要領を審議する中央教育審議会が原則公開されていることと比べると、その差は歴然である。 

It is frustrating that we can only find out about the opinions of examiners after the screening is completed. This is all the more true if the contents of the written opinions serve as the basis for later deliberations.

 そもそも調査官の意見を、検定後にしか知りようがないのも気がかりだ。意見書の内容がその後の審議の基調になるとすればなおさらだ。 

The problem does not only concern history textbooks. In all subjects, textbooks are important materials from which students learn. How are the contents of textbooks decided? Are there no irrational points or biased views? There is nothing wrong with exposing the process to as many people as possible. Reforms to further enhance transparency are indispensable.

 もちろん歴史教科書にとどまらない。どの教科でも子どもたちが学ぶ大切な素材である。教科書の中身がどう決まっていくのか。不合理な点や偏ったところはないのか。多くの目にさらされて悪いことはないはずだ。透明化へ向けたさらなる改革が欠かせない。 

How should textbook screening be conducted? How necessary is textbook screening and authorization in the first place? Such fundamental debate is also needed.

 検定はどうあるべきか。そもそも検定自体がどこまで必要なのか。そんな本質的な議論も必要だろう。

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