National

Koichi Hagiuda, Japan's new education minister, looks to revamp teacher training system

JIJI

New education minister Koichi Hagiuda on Wednesday said he wants to review the nation’s teacher training system.

“Teaching is a significant job linked to human resource development,” Hagiuda, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, said in an interview with news organizations.

Hagiuda raised questions about the current system in which teachers just out of university take on their own classes in their first year.

“I’ve been wondering a little whether it is really good for children and prospective teachers,” he said of the status quo.

Separately, he said he wants to create a system that prevents teachers who face challenges from leaving the profession and allows them to restart their careers after brushing up their skills.

He also mentioned a possible system to allow athletes, such as those who have participated in international sporting events, to work as teachers at elementary, junior high and high schools after going through a certain amount of training, even if they have not finished a college teacher-training courses.

Hagiuda said he sees such as a system as a possible legacy of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Ahead of an extraordinary Diet session due to start Oct. 4, Hagiuda said his ministry is preparing legislation that would give legal status to working-hour guidelines for teachers at publicly run schools and make it easier for teachers to take extended holidays.

Hagiuda also said his ministry will proceed with the planned adoption of private-sector English tests for university entrance examinations, while taking steps to minimize any confusion.

Regarding a high-profile cronyism scandal involving school operator Kake Gakuen, headed by a friend of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Hagiuda — a close Abe ally — said he was ready to give as full of an explanation as he can.

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