いじめ対策 教育委員会の在り方問い直せ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 3, 2012)
Education boards must improve their responses to bullying
いじめ対策 教育委員会の在り方問い直せ(8月2日付・読売社説)

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry has set up a new office specializing in bullying issues in response to a case in which a second-year middle school student committed suicide in Otsu last October.

In addition, two other serious middle school bullying cases have recently been revealed--one in Soka, Saitama Prefecture, and the other in Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture--both of which resulted in severe injuries to the bullied students.

Bullying-related issues continue to appear. We urge the ministry to make effective use of the new office to deter bullying, which causes serious suffering to children.

The new office, established Wednesday, comprises about 20 officials, including some from the National Police Agency. When serious bullying cases are revealed or students commit suicide as a result of bullying, the office is supposed to provide schools and boards of education with instructions and advice regarding how to probe such cases and prevent their recurrence.


Ministry's commitment needed

The ministry used to leave how to respond to bullying cases up to schools and boards of education whenever they came to light. It can be said that the ministry has responded slowly to bullying issues so far even though it is aware of the overall trend of bullying nationwide.

Setting up the new office suggests that the ministry has concluded it would be difficult to solve bullying cases as long as it leaves them up to schools and boards of education.

It is necessary for the ministry to gather information related to bullying and establish a framework that will allow it to swiftly respond to emergency cases.

It is also important for the ministry to dispatch experts to schools and boards of education to give them appropriate advice on preventing children from killing themselves.

It would, however, be unreasonable to expect the ministry to directly respond to every single bullying case. Only schools and boards of education are responsible for dealing with the issue firsthand.

The Otsu case has revealed how dysfunctional the city's board of education was in responding to the problem. Reforming education boards is an urgent task.

The Otsu Municipal Board of Education rushed to wrap up its investigation even though many students at the public school the boy attended told how he was bullied when the board surveyed them following his suicide.


Board showed no understanding

Members of the board, moreover, reportedly did not raise any questions or express any opinions regarding the case during their regular meetings following the suicide. The board did not show that it understood the seriousness of the case or that it was committed to probing the cause of the suicide.

This seriously calls into question whether boards of education are really necessary.

It has long been said that boards of education--most of whose members are appointed from among local communities--lack substance. Although the boards are independent from the heads of local governments, it is often the case that the majority of board members simply rubber-stamp decisions made by their secretariats, which handle practical affairs.

Many boards of education have former teachers as their superintendents--the heads of the secretariats. A common criticism is that such superintendents fail to respond properly when problems arise because they feel camaraderie with the teachers involved.

Some observers strongly feel that boards of education are unnecessary.

Some heads of local governments insist that it should be up to them to decide whether to even have such boards, in light of moves toward the decentralization of power.

Should boards of education be left as they are?

It is necessary for the ministry to review the system.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 2, 2012)
(2012年8月2日01時26分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2012-08-04 07:53 | 英字新聞

<< 消費税と新聞 文化と民主主義を... 防衛白書 中国軍の活動に警戒を怠るな >>