• Kyodo News

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The Cabinet approved two bills Friday to add patriotism as a goal of compulsory school education and reinforce the direct power of the education minister over public schools.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has placed top priority on education reform this Diet session. In addition to the patriotism provision for the School Education Law and the increased powers for the local education administrative law, the Cabinet also approved a bill Tuesday that would strip teachers of tenure and require them to renew their licenses every 10 years.

Education critics have said the government is moving too quickly, arguing it has been only two months since the government council on reforming the education system issued its first report.

They also said giving the education minister more power goes against another of Abe’s policy initiatives: the decentralization of administrative power.

The bill to revise the School Education Law follows along the same lines as the changes to the Basic Education Law in December. The bill says that developing “the attitude of loving one’s country and hometown” and “the attitude of participating in society based on social norms and public spirit” are goals in education.

The other bill would give the education minister the power to order that action be taken “when there is an urgent need to protect the life of a student.”

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