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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 09:38 07/28/2008
News Review #456: July 28, 2008

Panel to Urge Doubling of Information in Textbooks

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Panel to Urge Doubling of Information in Textbooks
The Daily Yomiuri (7/27/2008)


There is yet another sign of clear reversal in the so-called "relaxed education policy" in Japan, as the government's council on revitalizing education will soon propose to increase the volume of information and improve the quality of content in school textbooks, according to the Daily Yomiuri article linked above. It is well known that the volume of content in Japanese textbooks has been reduced since the relaxed education policy was adopted in the 1990s, and is now considerably less than that in the corresponding American and European textbooks.

It is encouraging to learn that the Education Rebuilding Council is suggesting that the number of pages in new textbooks for English, Japanese, and science should be doubled. Furthermore, it is recommended that textbooks for English and Japanese should contain some excerpts of famous literary works as well as speeches, which will be good examples that students can memorize and utilize themselves for their own writings and speeches in the future. It should be emphasized that this is an effective way to correct Japan's traditional emphasis on word-by-word translations without memorizing natural sentences in English.

Although there is no assurance at this stage that the proposal at the council level will be adopted by the government as a national policy, the direction shown in this proposal is certainly desirable and encouraging. Hopefully this is going to be the beginning of rebirth of Japanese education for next generations, at least, in the fields of languages and sciences.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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