日本史必修化 自国の軌跡を深く学びたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun January 28, 2014
High school students should receive better education in Japanese history
日本史必修化 自国の軌跡を深く学びたい(1月28日付・読売社説)

To cultivate their identity as Japanese, students should receive an adequate education in Japanese history.

Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakubun Shimomura announced that his ministry will study the possibility of making Japanese history a compulsory subject at high schools. By referring the idea to the Central Council for Education for deliberation, the minister hopes to realize the idea in five or six years’ time.

For mapping out the future of Japan, it is essential for young people to study Japanese history. It is also important for them to be able to exhibit pride in the history of their own country. Making Japanese history compulsory at high schools is reasonable.

As globalization advances, there will be more opportunities for Japanese to talk about their country’s culture and other things abroad.

The idea of making the subject compulsory at high schools indicates a sense of crisis over the lack of education required to produce internationally minded people.

When school teaching guidelines were revised in 1989, social studies at high schools were divided into “geography and history” and “civics.” When studying “geography and history,” world history is compulsory. In addition, a student has to choose either Japanese history or geography as an elective subject.

As a result, 30 percent to 40 percent of high school students in Japan are believed to graduate from high school without a sufficient grounding in Japanese history.

Although students are supposed to have studied the basics of Japanese history in primary and middle schools, it is problematic that many students have no opportunity to deepen their knowledge of Japanese history in high school.

Many problems remain

Making Japanese history a compulsory high school subject has been urged by local governments and other entities. The Tokyo metropolitan government and Kanagawa prefectural government have prepared textbooks, so that students have to learn Japanese history at the high schools they operate.

However, many issues need to be discussed.

By making Japanese history a compulsory subject in place of world history, students may have few opportunities to learn about the history of foreign countries at primary, middle and high schools.

It may be necessary to review the curriculum, including compulsory education subjects, by adopting elements of world history at middle schools, for instance.

If both world history and Japanese history became required subjects, more high school students would not study geography. Some people have suggested the establishment of a general course of geography and history that would be made compulsory.

There is also room to review the conventional way history is taught, which gives too much weight to memorization. It is natural for high school students to dislike studying history if they are forced to memorize a vast amount of terms.

It is desirable for educators and schools to tax their ingenuity to come up with educational content that stimulates the intellectual curiosity of students, for instance, by having them delve more deeply into historical events.

It is also necessary to improve education in regard to modern and contemporary history. Such efforts will certainly cultivate students’ understanding of the current complex international situation, by correctly understanding the history between Japan and other Asian countries.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 28, 2014)
(2014年1月28日01時11分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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