Tokyo, March 24 (Jiji Press)–The average number of pages for a batch of textbooks approved to be used by junior high school students starting in fiscal 2021 rose 7.6 pct from that for current textbooks, the Japanese education ministry said Tuesday.
The ministry has completed its first screening of new textbooks under the new teaching guidelines, planned to be fully implemented from April 2021, approving 106 textbooks in 10 subjects.
The total number of textbook pages exceeded 11,000 in A5 format at the time of applications. The average number of pages for existing textbooks was the largest in the 1989-2019 Heisei era.
The new teaching guidelines place importance on active learning methods, in which students learn proactively through debates and other learning activities, in order to nurture their intellectual ability to find and resolve problems themselves.
For this purpose, many of the new textbooks present learning challenges at the outset of chapters and subchapters, and encourage students to have debates in groups after the end of chapters and subchapters to deepen understanding of what they learned.
The use of quick response, or QR, codes and uniform resource locators, which was approved for the first time in last fiscal year’s screening of elementary school textbooks, is features in many of the new junior high school textbooks. They are used, for example, for English pronunciations by native English speakers and science experiment videos.
As for social studies, the new teaching guidelines clearly describe the Sea of Japan islands of Takeshima and the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea as part of Japan’s inherent territories, as is the case with references to four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands, collectively called Northern Territories. The islands of Takeshima are under the effective control of South Korea, where they are called Dokdo, while China claims the Senkaku Islands, calling them Diaoyu.
But this description for the islands has been already included in the commentary for the current teaching guidelines and is already reflected in the current textbooks, so no opinions were made on this topic during the latest screening.
Of 110 textbooks that underwent the ministry screening, a total of four, in the fields of history, as well as technology and home economics, were rejected.
Five Japanese and English textbooks were withdrawn by textbook publishers before the outcome of the screening was announced.