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2012年12月31日 (月)

教育政策 高校無償化の見直しは妥当だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 31, 2012)
Review of tuition-free program for high schools appropriate
教育政策 高校無償化の見直しは妥当だ(12月30日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apparently has shown his true colors in the educational area that he is willing to reform.

The previous Democratic Party of Japan-led government held off on a decision over whether to include pro-Pyongyang Korean schools in its tuition-free program for high schools. The Abe administration has decided to exclude them.

In giving a reason for this decision, Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakubun Shimomura said there had been no developments regarding the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents.
Shimomura also said the finances and curriculums of those schools are under the influence of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, which reportedly has strong ties with North Korea.

The education ministry has been studying whether to include these schools based on standards established under the DPJ-led administration, but the Abe administration, acting independently, made its own decision, Shimomura said.

If these schools were included in the program, the government would provide grants totaling 200 million yen a year for tuition to 10 pro-Pyongyang Korean high schools in Japan.

It seems certain taxpayers would be puzzled why the government is spending their money on these schools unless it was able to ensure the grants would not be used for purposes other than tuition or that the schools would not teach students material that deviated from the facts.


Income cap reasonable

Shimomura already has said he would review the current tuition-free program for high schools and impose income ceilings on families receiving grants, starting in fiscal 2014.

The program was an eye-catching policy devised by the DPJ-led government, as it believed society as a whole should help raise children. However, the program was constantly criticized as a handout because it was applied to everyone without exception, including students whose parents were well-off.

In addition to tuition, school supplies and other necessities are heavy financial burdens for high school students. The Abe administration plans to save money by reducing the number of students under the program with the introduction of income caps, and to utilize the funds saved to support low-income earners. We think this is a good idea.


Measures against bullying

Another big issue in the educational field is school bullying, for which countermeasures must be taken as soon as possible.

Since summer, serious bullying cases have surfaced around the country.

In a bullying case involving an Otsu middle school boy who killed himself in October last year, for instance, papers on two of three classmates were sent to prosecutors on suspicion of assault or other charges.
The other was sent to a child consultation center for delinquency.

Bullying is caused by a lack of sensitivity toward other people.

We praise the Abe government for announcing plans to enhance moral education at school.

Respect for social norms and public morality must be nurtured at school and through work experiences in local communities.

Enactment of a basic law on measures to prevent bullying is also being studied.

It is significant for society as a whole to use the law-making process to say bullying will never be tolerated.

We expect legislation to call on local governments and schools to take tangible measures to prevent school bullying.

We also hope the government will discuss the function of education boards, as the education board that dealt with the Otsu case proved dysfunctional.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 30, 2012)
(2012年12月30日01時17分  読売新聞)


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