The education ministry plans to evaluate public school teachers and reflect the assessments in pay raises and personnel moves nationwide beginning in fiscal 2007, government officials said.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry will ask local-level boards of education to research the creation of such systems, starting with funds of some 120 million yen from the ministry’s budget for next fiscal year, the officials said.

The plan comes in response to criticism of an “egalitarian mentality” among public school teachers because their conditions are uniform despite varying abilities.

The ministry’s plan to introduce a competitive mind-set to improve the quality of teachers is expected to draw protests from teacher unions.

Some unions have argued that such a system is unsuitable in an educational environment and will lead to a situation in which only teachers who are obedient to management will receive good appraisals.

Beginning in April, the ministry will urge all 47 prefectural and 13 municipal boards of education nationwide to set up an expert study group to discuss ways to evaluate teachers, the officials said.

The study group will also be tasked with deliberating how to reflect the evaluation outcomes in personnel moves and pay raises as well as ways to train those in managerial positions to make the assessments, they said.

The groups will be asked to compile reports of their discussions in fiscal 2004 so that the local boards of education can refer to them in coming up with their own evaluation system. The new systems will be used on an experimental basis in fiscal 2006 and expanded to full-fledged implementation nationwide by fiscal 2007 at the latest. , according to the officials.

There have been systems for evaluating public school teachers around the country, but Tokyo was the first local government to introduce a merit system in fiscal 2000. Kagawa Prefecture followed suit in fiscal 2001, as did Osaka Prefecture this fiscal year.

Saitama, Kanagawa and Hiroshima prefectures are considering a similar evaluation system.

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