• Kyodo

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Shizuoka Gov. Heita Kawakatsu on Thursday released the names of 262 public elementary school principals whose students scored above average in Japanese in this year’s national achievement test on the prefectural government’s website, without obtaining consent from the municipal board of education.

Kawakatsu also released the average percentage of correct answers for elementary schools in each of 35 cities and towns in the prefecture.

Kawakatsu, who released the names of school principals for the second time following last year, told reporters Thursday that he wanted to make clear that teachers have the responsibility of educating children and they deserve credit if their students did well.

Education minister Hakubun Shimomura strongly criticized the move, saying it is against the rules for a governor to release the test data on his own judgement. Ministry officials said they will consider countermeasures for the first time, such as restricting the provision of test data to municipalities that fail to follow the rules.

The test, launched in the 2007 academic year, is used to gauge achievements mainly in Japanese and mathematics. In principle, all students in the sixth year of elementary school and third year of junior high school are supposed to take it.

The education ministry allows municipal boards of education to release individual schools’ results, but bans them from releasing them in a list or in a specific order, out of concern it would cause excessive competition and promote grading among schools.

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