竹富町の教科書 違法状態の解消迫る是正要求

The Yomiuri Shimbun October 20, 2013
Govt must enforce rules on adoption of textbooks without any exceptions
竹富町の教科書 違法状態の解消迫る是正要求(10月19日付・読売社説)

The government acted properly to resolve the illegal adoption of a textbook in Okinawa Prefecture.

Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakubun Shimomura instructed the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education to issue a demand for corrective action against the town board of education of Taketomi in the prefecture as the board has been using an independently adopted textbook in violation of textbook adoption rules.

Issuing a demand for corrective action is the strongest action the government can take under the Local Government Law. The action has been taken only twice before, and this is the first time it has been taken in the field of educational administration. Taketomi’s education board must take the situation seriously.

The regional council on textbook adoption of the Yaeyama district, comprising Ishigaki, Taketomi and Yonaguni, selected a civics textbook published by Ikuhosha Publishing Inc. as the textbook for middle schools in the district in the summer of 2011, but the Taketomi board alone adopted a different textbook.

The Ikuhosha textbook, written by former members of the Japan Society for History Textbook Reform, carries detailed descriptions of territories. One reason the Yaeyama regional textbook adoption council selected this textbook is that the district is close to the border with China, with tension between Japan and China rising.

On the other hand, some people in the prefecture complain the Ikuhosha textbook provides too much space to such things as the national flag, the national anthem and traditional Japanese culture. This may be behind the Taketomi board’s refusal to adopt the Ikuhosha textbook.

The law on free distribution of textbooks for compulsory education schools, which stipulates textbooks are paid for at national government expense, obliges adoption of the same textbook for a district comprising several municipalities.

This is based on such considerations as that it is easier for teachers to jointly study teaching materials if they teach with the same textbook.

The Taketomi board’s independent adoption of the textbook obviously violates the free distribution law.

Wrong response

The confusion over the issue has been prolonged because of the wrong response to the problem by the Democratic Party of Japan-led government. Although then education minister Masaharu Nakagawa took the position that the independent adoption of a textbook violated the law, he tolerated the action if the town government purchased copies of the textbook at its own expense for distribution to students.

As a result, the town government purchased copies of a different textbook with donations from residents and started to distribute them to students in April last year. After the change of government, Hiroyuki Yoshiie, then parliamentary secretary of the education ministry, visited Taketomi in March this year and instructed the education board to reverse its decision to adopt a different textbook. However, the board refused.

It is extremely problematic that the town has been illegally conducting lessons for compulsory education without accepting the free distribution of the officially adopted textbook.

Also, it should not be overlooked that the prefectural board of education failed to instruct the Taketomi board to reverse its decision, although it was in a position to do so. To end the confusion, the prefectural board should fulfill its primary responsibility—ensuring that the Taketomi board observes the law.

The education ministry should also thoroughly implement textbook adoption rules to prevent a recurrence of the Taketomi situation.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 19, 2013)
(2013年10月19日01時36分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2013-10-21 07:25 | 英字新聞

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