National

'Gender-free' roll calls may be axed

The Tokyo board of education might ban schools under its control from holding student rolls by alphabetical order and order a return to the old way of calling the roll by gender, board officials said Friday.

The board said it believes roll calls “on the basis of the gender-free idea completely ignore the differences between men and women.”

In 2002, the metro government encouraged schools to introduce gender-free roll calls as part of an action plan for gender equality.

But in a policy speech to the metropolitan assembly in June, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara voiced concern about the widespread “gender-free” concept, which he said “ignores differences between males and females.”

A metro board of education official said the board will not impose a general ban.

“School principals will eventually have to decide what kind of roll call they will take,” the official said.

As of April, roll calls that are not based on gender were used in 80 percent of public elementary schools in Tokyo, 40 percent of public junior high schools and 90 percent of high schools.

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