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EDUCATION > Educational Reform

MEXT to analyze impact of educational policies

  • September 8, 2016
  • , Mainichi , p. 28
  • JMH Translation

In fiscal 2017, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Technology and Science (MEXT) will embark on a new project that will analyze the impact of educational polices and incorporate the findings into policy-making at the national and local levels. With budget allocations limited, MEXT deems it necessary to explain to the public the impact of educational investments when implementing policies.

 

As part of this project, a “task force on educational policies” will be launched in fiscal 2017. It will set policy research topics, such as “free early childhood education,” “reduction of the burden on teachers,” and “the impact of scholarships (that do not have to be repaid),” and then outsource the research to universities.

 

The task force will also designate certain areas as “educational revitalization pioneers.” The municipalities [overseeing these areas] will implement new educational methods on a trial basis, and this will then be assessed by universities.

 

It is commonly accepted in the U.S. and the U.K. that educational policies should be based on scientific evidence. Experts are commissioned to conduct research on a range of themes, such as “class formation based on degree of academic achievement and the impact of such class formation on student performance” and “early childhood education and future earnings.” The results of the research are disclosed to the public.

 

In Japan, however, this practice has not taken hold. Some have pointed out that MEXT and the Ministry of Finance “debate with each other without presenting objective evidence” when they negotiate budget allocations for policies on such matters as teaching staff numbers and the introduction of small classes. (Abridged)

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