Ruling bloc lawmakers have outlined a bill aimed at enabling unaccredited schools for Brazilian and other foreign children to receive public financial assistance.
The lawmaker group from the Liberal Democratic Party-New Komeito coalition seeks to submit the bill to the ongoing Diet session, hoping to help the financially struggling schools improve their operations amid the recession.
The number of students is decreasing at unaccredited schools, which currently rely almost entirely on tuition fees to operate. A key reason for the decline has been the loss of jobs of family breadwinners.
According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, there were 86 schools for Brazilian children in Japan as of February, including 82 not accredited under the school education act because they do not meet the required standards for facilities and other criteria.
Some local governments and municipalities have tried to find ways to support the unaccredited schools on their own, but the government has taken the stance that such support violates the Constitution, which bans use of public money for any educational enterprises not under the control of public authorities.
The bill sets new criteria for unaccredited schools so they can qualify for public assistance, including drastically easing the requirements relating to their properties.
The bill says if unaccredited schools offering classes mainly to foreign children aged between 6 and 15 meet the proposed criteria, municipalities can provide support for operating expenses and the state can also shoulder part of the aid.
To ensure proper use of subsidies, the bill envisages giving local governments oversight authority that includes the decision of whether to close schools down or purge officials if corruption linked to the aid money is discovered.
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