How should we rear the children who will assume responsibility for the era ahead, and teach them self-reliance?
It depends entirely on how they are educated.
Education is an extremely important task, since it entails rearing individual human beings.
In an age in which educational capability within schools has weakened substantially, the DPJ will reshape education in a way that restores school education in the regions and supports the environments in which children are brought up in homes and communities.
Face up to the realities of the situation in schools, and devote full efforts to the rebuilding of school education
Educational establishments are facing major problems, such as dysfunctional classes, violence in schools, and a decline in basic scholastic attainment. To give all children equal educational opportunities it is above all essential to revamp public primary and secondary schools. Action is needed; not mere wordplay. We do not want bureaucrats just thinking over the problems at their desks; we will support the nationwide application of experimental projects that are already being carried out in various parts of the country. We will also appoint a variety of higher-quality personnel to positions in educational establishments. For example, we will ensure smaller class sizes of no more than 30 pupils, appoint school principals by advertising the positions publicly and by not restricting appointees to the teaching profession, and implement group and individual learning in conjunction with local communities. Assigning education to local control will create a far wider range of choice of educational opportunities. By broadening the freedom of choice with respect to schools, we will provide parents and children with a diversity of educational opportunities.
Promote open school management
Our goal will be to create schools that are open to the community, so as to create opportunities for children to acquire strength of character and to learn from the experience of adults. Education that builds the entire character of children is not something that should be entrusted only to schools; it is essential for the home, the school, and the community to work in unison to address and resolve problems. We will also encourage the formation of community schools in various formats, by introducing a mechanism through which organizations other than educational foundations can also participate in school management.
Provide learning opportunities at all times by improving the system of scholarships
We will substantially improve the system of scholarships, making them available at all times to anyone who wants them, irrespective of the economic circumstances of their parents. These scholarships will cover not only academic expenses, but also minimum living costs. In this way we will create a system under which anyone with the motivation to do so will be able to study: young people without receiving any assistance from their parents, or older people who are no longer of normal school or university age. Additionally, to introduce an element of competition into university education, we will switch to a mechanism in which universities do not depend on grants, but engage in friendly rivalry.
Limit the role of the state to special areas, and restore authority over education to the regions
We will reduce central government involvement in the content of education, doing away with the setup dating from the former Ministry of Education, which entailed involvement in almost every detail of school education, and central approval of textbooks. We will switch to an arrangement under which the central government confines itself to maintaining and improving the levels of primary and secondary education, and matters directly affecting day-to-day teaching and administration in schools are left to those schools to decide. For example, in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology we will reorganise the departments in charge of primary and secondary education and other departments into a "Central Education Committee", and entrust all aspects of school education, such as planning, management, and teaching, to the regions.