Education ministry planning to improve quality of teachers

The education ministry plans to improve the quality of teachers by drastically overhauling the current licensing system and lengthening the time required for teacher training, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry will seek advice on the matter as early as June from the Central Council for Education, an advisory body to the ministry.

Many newly employed teachers start working at schools without sufficient practical teaching skills and some cannot cope with different school problems, which have grown more and more complex.

The Democratic Party of Japan blames the current licensing system for these problems. It also criticizes the training system for not providing sufficient teaching practice at schools and for the increase in the number of candidates who decide not to become teachers after undergoing the training at schools, which usually lasts two to four weeks.

The DPJ proposed a drastic review of the licensing system and extension of the overall training system to six years as one of its campaign pledges in the August House of Representatives election.

The council will discuss the matter based on such proposals.

The ministry plans to ask the council to discuss appropriate systems to improve the quality of teachers, namely how to train candidate teachers, hire teachers and train incumbent teachers.

Although the ministry does not plan to ask the panel to discuss specific points, the licensing and training systems are likely to be the topics for discussion.

The education minister, vice minister and parliamentary secretary have been reviewing the license renewal system introduced in 2009 and considering the creation of a specialist certification system, which certifies teachers who have worked in such specific fields as life counseling and school management.

The ministry also aims to set up a master’s course to provide significant on-the-job training and other programs, in addition to the current four-year undergraduate course.