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2009年8月12日 (水)

社説:’09衆院選 教育 理念とビジョンがいる

(Mainichi Japan) August 11, 2009
Political parties should explain philosophies, visions on education
社説:’09衆院選 教育 理念とビジョンがいる

Education is a long-term project for a nation.
 教育は国家百年の大計という。

The guarantee of equal opportunities for the young to receive an education, which is the core of the nation's education system, is being affected by uncertainly in people's livelihoods caused by the rising unemployment rate and the widening income gap.

 土台は子供や若者が教育を受ける機会均等の保障にあるが、それが揺らいでいる。失業や所得格差の生活不安が影を落としているためだ。

These problems have not only forced youths to leave schools or abandon advancing to higher education. Data shows that such disparities in living standards are reflected in the results of academic aptitude tests.
進学断念や中退だけでなく、学力テストの平均正答率の差異にも影響がみられるというデータもある。

Political parties have pledged to extend financial support to the education of children in their education policies, just like aid in their childcare policies. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has promised to make early childhood education for those aged 3-5 free of charge on a step-by-step basis. The largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has declared that it will make tuition fees for public high schools free and extend a large amount of financial assistance to private high school students.
 各党の教育政策は、子育てとともに教育費負担の家計支援が大きなアピールポイントだ。例えば、自民党は給付型奨学金創設や3~5歳児教育費の段階的無償化を打ち出し、民主党は公立高校の実質無償化や私立高生への大幅助成を宣言している。

Reducing household education costs is an effective way to apply the brakes to the declining birthrate, and numerous households will obviously welcome the move. Political parties should take this opportunity to discuss their basic policies and philosophies on education and work out concrete measures to achieve them.
 教育費負担の軽減は、それ自体少子化対策上も有用な政策であり、期待する家庭は多いだろう。だが、政治はこれを機に、今後の教育政策が目指す基本方向や理念、そのために必要な制度設計へと掘り下げて論じ進めていくべきだろう。

It was in the 1970s that the government began to seek a third educational reform policy following one at the time of the Meiji Restoration and after World War II. However, the government's review of the education system hardly progressed. In the 1980s, the Ad Hoc Council on Education, which was set up as an advisory panel to the prime minister, called for respect for the individuality of students, education suited to internationalization and an increasingly information-oriented society with emphasis on lifelong education.
 明治維新と敗戦直後に続く「第3の教育改革」が唱えられ始めたのは1970年代だ。制度見直しはなかなか進まず、80年代には首相直属の臨時教育審議会が登場、個性の重視、国際化・情報化への対応、生涯学習社会化など基本方向を示した。

However, there are inconsistencies in the nation's education policy over the past decade amid the rapidly declining birthrate and dramatic changes in the economic environment. Criticism emerged that the lighter school education curriculum, which was aimed at preventing cramming, caused academic ability to decline. This forced the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry to revise the curriculum to boost what is taught at schools.
 しかし、その後急速に進んだ少子高齢化や経済環境の変化、学校5日制導入、いわゆる「ゆとり」教育と学力低下批判の高まり、学習指導要領の「増量」改定など、教育政策はこの10年迷走気味で、腰の定まらない印象がある。

While the ratio of students who attend universities has surpassed 50 percent, an increase in the number of students who have no clear goals for their future careers has become a serious problem.
大学進学率は高まるばかりで5割を突破したが、目標を見失う学生の問題も深刻だ。

Japan tends to be regarded as a country that does not spend much money on education compared with other countries.  一方、国際比較すると、日本は教育にあまり金をかけない国と映る。

The taxpayer money Japan spends on education accounts for about 3 percent of the country's gross domestic product, well below the average of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries, which stands at 5 percent.
公財政支出は国内総生産(GDP)比3%台で、経済協力開発機構(OECD)諸国の平均5%に及ばない。

Behind this is the traditional idea in Japan that parents should foot the costs of educating their children.
背景には、教育は親の負担でという伝統的な考え方がある。

The government's efforts to restrain spending of taxpayers' money have prevented the ministry from increasing education outlays.
 財政の壁も厚い。

The ministry attempted to call for an increase in its education spending to equal the average of OECD member countries and incorporate a numerical target of increasing the number of schoolteachers by 25,000 in its basic education promotion plan.
 改正教育基本法に基づき昨年策定された国の教育振興基本計画で、文部科学省は、支出をOECD平均に引き上げ、教職員定数2万5000人増など数値目標を盛り込もうとした。

However, the Finance Ministry refused to approve it on the grounds that there was no prospect that such efforts would produce positive results.
(他の先進国に負けぬにはこれだけ予算や人がいるという論法だが、) 支出抑制の財務省は「成果の見通しがない」と認めなかった経緯がある。

Discussions on increasing financial assistance for education should be expanded to those that cover the education policy as a whole.
 教育費支援拡充を教育のあり方全般へ論議を広げる機運としたい。

Education should be regarded as not only a way to develop the potential of children but also as a public investment necessary to ensure a stable and sustainable society.
教育は社会全体が担い、子供それぞれの可能性を伸ばすとともに、安定し持続する将来の社会へ必要な公的投資。こう発想を転換できないか。

The upcoming general election offers an opportunity to express opinions on the hopes of the nation.
 総選挙は「日本の希望」を語らう時でもある。

Voters should pursue a vision of education with the future of their children fully in mind.
子供の顔あれこれに思いを重ねながら描く教育のビジョンこそ、それにふさわしい。

毎日新聞 2009年8月11日 東京朝刊

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