(社説)自民と教科書 政治は採択に関わるな

–The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 23
EDITORIAL: LDP should not meddle in school textbook selection process
(社説)自民と教科書 政治は採択に関わるな

The process is under way for local governments to select textbooks that will be used in junior high schools from next spring.

Given that, a league of lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has compiled a brochure that compares social studies textbooks issued by various publishers, and has distributed it to local LDP assembly members across the country.

The action is purportedly aimed at encouraging boards of education, through questions by local assemblies and other means, to select textbooks with a strong conservative slant.

Selections, after all, belong to the authority of education boards, which are supposed to make them on the basis of discussions from educational viewpoints on which textbooks are the most suitable for the children and schools of their communities.

Political parties are free to have their own perceptions of the textbooks issued by different publishers. But they should refrain from encouraging the selection of textbooks that are more in line with their philosophies.

Local assembly members are there to approve the appointments of education board members. They should exercise self-restraint so that their actions will not be perceived as applying pressure. What they should do is to serve as a monitor to ensure that education boards can fulfill their primary functions.

The brochure, certainly, contains no text that explicitly recommends any particular publisher.

But the issues being taken up in the brochure include the national flag and the national anthem, the right to collective self-defense and constitutional amendment–pet issues of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe–as well as the Nanking Incident and “comfort women,” which the LDP has argued some textbooks contain “self-deprecating” statements about.

Concerning the national flag and the national anthem, for example, the brochure presents strongly conservative textbooks in a favorable light, saying that one contains “detailed descriptions on a feature page.” Some other textbooks are portrayed in a negative light, as seen in a statement that “some textbooks contain no reference in the index” to the issue of the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea.

School textbooks are not tools for inculcating arguments of a political party.

Education board members should ensure they are making independent judgments and, even if they are asked questions at local assemblies, they should only regard these queries as the opinions of individuals.

The education board system was reformed so that, starting this spring, the heads of local governments should set up a “general education council,” a forum for exchanging views with education boards.

The education ministry has said the selection of school textbooks should not be a subject of discussions in the council, because it is believed that political neutrality is de rigueur in the textbook selection process.

The LDP has proposed–and has realized–a revision in textbook screening rules so that textbooks must mention the government’s official position, wherever available. As 18-year-olds will be given suffrage from next year, the party has also proposed to Abe that law could be revised to punish senior high school teachers who have deviated from political neutrality.

We cannot accept the sequence of these moves, whereby the political sector is meddling in public education.

The selection process throughout the nation will continue through the end of August.

The LDP brochure is titled, “To deliver better textbooks to our children.”

Thought should be given again to what should be done and not be done by a political party and assembly members if that goal is to be achieved.


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



WordPress.com ロゴ

WordPress.com アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト / 変更 )

Twitter 画像

Twitter アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト / 変更 )

Facebook の写真

Facebook アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト / 変更 )

Google+ フォト

Google+ アカウントを使ってコメントしています。 ログアウト / 変更 )

%s と連携中