A committee of experts assisting the Education Ministry recently submitted an interim report on a subject that very much interests parents: the size of school classes. But the report’s conclusion has apparently disappointed many parents, as it supports the current ministry guideline that sets the upper limit for class size at 40 students. Thus the idea of introducing smaller classes nationwide in a uniform way has been shelved.

This decision is regrettable because the need for smaller classes has been publicly discussed for a long time, and many prefectures have reduced class size one way or another. Smaller classes should not be confused with the special groups that teachers may divide students into depending on subject material or individual progress. Classes in toto are for learning academic subjects as well as for helping students develop human relationship and cooperation skills, while special groups tend to focus on academics.

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