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2012年8月27日 (月)

教員養成改革 指導力ある若手の育成を急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 27, 2012)
Improve training system to boost young teachers' skills
教員養成改革 指導力ある若手の育成を急げ (8月26日付・読売社説)

A draft report calls on people who wish to become teachers to acquire master's degrees after completing four years of undergraduate education.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry's Central Education Council will shortly submit the report, which includes such a proposal to improve the quality of teacher, to the education minister.

Public criticism has been mounting that teachers have failed to adequately fulfill their duties in the face of a surge of serious problems at schools such as bullying and truancy.

In recent years, the training of young teachers has been woefully insufficient because of such factors as veteran teachers--who entered the educational field in large numbers--reaching the mandatory retirement age and the increasing workload of teachers due to an expansion of the scope of their jobs.

There seems to be little effort among teachers to learn from one another and have the teaching skills of experienced teachers handed down to younger teachers.

Revamping the teacher training system is apparently a pressing task for the entire educational field.

According to the draft report, university graduates will receive "basic teaching certificates," which will be a type of temporary permit. After they finish the required graduate school courses, they will receive a "general certificate."


Graduate schools too few

Even though people with basic certificates will be allowed to teach, they will be required to obtain general certificates within a certain period of time, the draft says.

The education council envisions that teachers with many years of experience, including those who served as school principals, will run the postgraduate teacher training program. Emphasis will be placed on training methods based on on-the-spot teaching practice at schools.

Graduate schools specializing in teacher training, which were launched in 2008, are expected to play a pivotal role in putting the envisaged training system into force.

We support the idea of spending sufficient time to have future teachers acquire practical teaching capabilities through the teacher training courses.

However, there are only 25 graduate schools that specialize in training teachers in this country at present.

Total enrollment at these schools stands at 815, a far cry from the number of newly recruited schoolteachers--about 30,000 every year at publicly operated schools alone. How to fully implement the projected teacher training program is a key task that must be addressed from now on.

School expenses needed for teacher training at graduate schools are another problem.

Without suitable support measures, including a scholarship system for graduate school students, there is a danger of excellent human resources hoping to become teachers being forced to abandon their aspirations for financial reasons.


Open teaching posts wider

Over the next 10 years, many teachers are expected to retire as they reach the mandatory age limit. One-third of all schoolteachers will have to be replaced, making the training of young teachers a matter of urgency.

Along with the introduction of a master's degree system for teachers, it is important for all universities with teachers' courses to rapidly improve their curricula on their own initiatives.

Universities should exchange information closely with boards of education that hire and assign teachers to specific schools.

Through such exchanges, it should be worked out whether teaching content and methods suit the actual needs of teachers and students.

It also is important to open the teaching profession to citizens engaged in other work.

For instance, if a science researcher is given a teaching post at a school, he or she may be able to convey the joy of learning about science to children who have a tendency to shy away from the subject.

Attention should be also paid to hiring people proficient in English help children improve their English-language skills.

Making use of people from a broad range of fields and with a variety of experiences should help reinvigorate the nation's school education.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 26, 2012)
(2012年8月26日01時28分  読売新聞)


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