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Defend the Fundamental Law of Education to save children

Nationwide action growing against the adverse revision of the law

The parliamentary debate on the government bill to adversely revise the Fundamental Law of Education is at a critical phase. At issue today are bullying-related suicides, high schools' failure to ensure that students complete all required subjects necessary for graduation, and planting pre-scripted questioning at local public hearings on educational reform. All these are factors for the broad movement to develop in opposition to the revision of the Fundamental Law of Education.

Urgent need to solve problems of school bullying, failure to complete required subjects and the planting of pre-scripted questioning

While law makers are debating the bill to revise the Fundamental Law of Education at the House of Representatives special committee meeting, school children are killing themselves to get free of bullying. This is now a social problem. In many senior high schools, students have failed to complete required subjects.

MIKAMI Man, former Zenroren President and coordinator of the Liaison Council to Stop the Adverse Revision of the Fundamental Law of Education points out as follows:

"Competitiveness in education is the source of school bullying. While the merit-based wage system has torn places of work apart in large corporations, Japanese schools are forced to rate every student using numerical goals. But we must know that each child is different. It is natural that some students show fast progress while others slow progress. Why is it necessary to impose numerical goals to achieve uniformly? Children are by no means goods that come under quality control."

Many senior high schools' failure to ensure students to complete all required subjects is connected with the increasing competitiveness often referred to as "entrance examination war" for universities. These schools did not provide students with classes in required subjects simply because they are not useful for students who take entrance examinations. This is a typical example of the competition-driven education. The boards of education overseeing schools have tacitly approved the failure to teach required subjects.

In addition, it was revealed that the government had planted pre-scripted questions at a town meeting on educational reform in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture in September. The Cabinet Office has admitted that the Education Ministry had some participants speak using scripts prepared by the ministry with the aim of manipulating public opinion.

At a Nov. 2 Central Rally, Zenroren President BAN'NAI Mitsuo denounced the bill as unconstitutional and said, "What the Japanese people want is not the adverse revision of the Fundamental Law of Education aimed at educating children faithful to the nation. We now need to solve the problems of bullying and students' failure to complete required subjects."

Develop common action not just at the parliament but throughout the country to call for the defense of the Constitution

In many places throughout the country, rallies and other actions are being held in defense of the war-renouncing Article 9 and in opposition to the adverse revision of the Fundamental Law of Education.

On November 3, about 7,500 people attended a rally in Hyogo Prefecture to mark the 60th anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution and called for Article 9 to be given full play.

Similar rallies were held in Hiroshima with 7,000 people participating and in Kyoto with about 4,000 people taking part in opposition to the adverse revision of the Constitution and the Fundamental Law of Education as promoted by the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties.

Near the National Diet (parliament) is located, trade unions and other democratic organizations are holding protest rallies and petitions almost every day.

On November 2, the Liaison Council for Blocking the Adverse Revision of the Fundamental law of Education staged a sit-in protest in front of the Diet building with several hundred people taking part.

A man from Hiroshima said, "We have a very serious shortage of teachers. There is a school where positions of part-time teachers are not filled for three months. There are also cases in which no teachers of special education or swimming instructors are made available. Although educational administration is responsible for improving educational conditions, these are the actual conditions facing schools." Criticizing the educational administration that distorts the Fundamental Law of Education, he said he will do everything he can to scrap the bill.

At four sites of local public hearing on educational reform, unions and democratic organizations carried out publicity campaigns demanding a thorough discussion of the bill.


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