A subpanel of a government advisory body on education agreed Friday to make currently employed teachers subject to license renewals, education ministry officials said.
The task force under the Central Council for Education, an advisory body to the education minister, reached the agreement after discussing a position paper presented by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
In the position paper, the ministry says the present lifelong validity of a teacher’s license is not an inalienable right and that limits can be imposed on the license within a reasonable scope.
The Central Council for Education is expected to include the proposal on teachers’ license renewals in a report to be filed by this summer with Kenji Kosaka, the education minister.
The Japan Teachers Union takes exception with the proposed imposition of license renewals, saying it does not think the move will lead to an improvement in the quality of teachers.
Yuzuru Nakamura, the union’s secretary general, said Friday that teachers grow while deepening interchanges with children and giving lessons to them.
Nakamura said he worries license renewals, along with proposed teacher salary cuts, might discourage young people from becoming schoolteachers.
In an interim report in December, the Central Council for Education proposed obliging teachers every 10 years to undergo refresher courses lasting 20 to 30 hours to renew their licenses.
But it has held off on this over legal concerns in applying the obligation not only to new teachers but also to the 1.1 million teachers currently on the job.