Q: An “active learning” system that encourages students to actively participate in the learning process will be introduced in the next official curriculum guidance. What are your plans for providing support for teachers engaged in the new curriculum?
A: Rapid globalization makes active learning necessary in order to develop originality in our students’ ways of thinking and expressing themselves. We will create an environment in which training in this new instructional method is also available to the teachers.
Q: The teachers are already very busy with their current workload.
A: Both data and teacher testimony indicate the long work hours teachers have to put in. The reality of the Japanese education system is that the system depends on it. I doubt this way of doing things is sustainable in the mid- to long-term. I will make efforts to solve the issue of extended working hours by improving curricula and increasing the number of teachers.
Q: You are conducting a study in preparation for the establishment of a student financial aid system without a payback obligation.
A: Opinions diverge over how to design the system, in terms of eligibility and conditions, for example. We are still searching for the best option. Nonetheless, we will make it happen in the FY2017 budget.
Q: What is your opinion on the provision of more diverse learning options, such as free schools?
A: Some years, there are anywhere from 110,000 to over 120,000 truants in Japan. It is important to provide a learning environment for these students. We would like to deal with this issue while closely monitoring a bill currently being compiled by a supra-partisan group of lawmakers.
Q: What will you do for the mental health of the children who were victims of the Kumamoto earthquakes?
A: We will discuss the issue with the local school board, and we plan to bear the cost of care in its entirety.