From WEEKLY MDS No.936, May 19, 2006 issue logoFrom WEEKLY MDS No.936,

Educational Transformation for Global Capitalism / Stop Corruption of Fundamental Law of Education

Scheme for new constitution and moves in synch

On April 28, the Japanese government submitted to the Diet a proposal to "revise" the Fundamental Law of Education. The objective of this turnaround of the Law is to promote efforts in the area of education to reconstruct the nation into a neo-liberal and warmongering one that supports globalization, as indicated in the remarks given at a ruling parties' panel for the issue, admitting that they have been preparing the revision "also with the draft of a revised Constitution in mind."

The proposed revision emphasizes education that serves securement of vested interests of global capitalism called "national interest" in disguise of "public spirit" and "handing over of tradition." "This spirit is embedded in each of the 18 articles," observes OSHIMA Tadamori, head of the task force.

Furthermore, the corrupted version of the Law is aimed at full introduction of an education system designed for early and efficient sorting of children in order to selectively develop elites needed for survival against international competition on the one hand while creating the disposable low-wage labor force on the other. The bill removes the provision of "9 years" for compulsory education (Article 5) to further promote rank-order tournaments. It coerces "discipline" on those who "cannot catch up" or would not submit (Article 6). The target is not limited to schools; they even aim to control and interfere with homes (Article 10) and local residents (Article 13) as well.

Previously, MIURA Shumon, a former chairperson of the Curriculum Council, candidly described the objectives of the educational reorganization by giving remarks such as "An elite only appears one in hundred," and "The rank and file without abilities or talents should simply develop the spirit of honesty." The corruption bill, just as the Liberal Democratic Party's new constitution draft, is not a partial revision, but effects complete destruction of the current Law and creation of an all-new Education Law benefiting global capitalism.

Collapsing public education

Already, the market mechanism and the introduction of the war policy line have been destroying and dismantling education of peace and democracy and the principle of equal opportunities, the essential goals of the Fundamental Law of Education.

It has become a norm for public schools to coerce teachers and children to incorporate Japan's "national" flag and anthem in school ceremonies. More and more schools are including patriotism in the evaluation items with at least 172 schools in 11 prefectures adopting such evaluation system (as of 2003). The regional gap of education is widening due to reduction or elimination of the national government's share of compulsory education expenses. Public school models are under development, including public elementary schools under a school selection system (which means deregulation of the school district system), integrated schools combining elementary and junior high schools or junior and senior high schools, and early education models unifying a nursery school and a kindergarten. Children are exposed to competition and sorting from a young age, to face difficulty later in finding employment as a regular worker even after completing high school or college education, and most of them experience unstable employment or unemployment. A society is heading for fixation of classes divided into regular and temporary labor forces.

The market mechanism or jungle law has deprived the youth of their future perspective, driving them out of society in the forms of so-called "school refusal (a type of truancy)," part-time job hopping or NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). In order to cope with "behavior problems" among those young people deprived of dreams, a system is built for controlling them as if to defend social security, mobilizing cooperation among schools, local communities and police faculties. Nara Prefecture has enacted an ordinance to expand the scope of delinquency subject to police guidance as broadly as to include staying out overnight without parental permission and truancy.

Ruling of education by global capitalism has already reached an unbearable point.

Promote children's rights from local communities

The struggle involving the Fundamental Law of Education demands more than simple opposition against the revision of the Law. Such activity meant to protect the current state of education, which cannot be deemed as having values for children, is way off our objectives. Our struggle must be focused on the transformation of the community that enables re-building of education and development of children's rights.

Basic human rights under the Constitution must be protected for children first. The Convention on the Rights of the Child that the Japanese government also ratified explicitly declares rights of children to freedoms of thoughts, beliefs and expression.

Let us create a movement for restoring the rights to decision on the contents of education back to the hands of children, parents and the community, seeking education that can provide equal rights for all children to learn peace and democracy. (May 8)

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