Development Education in Japan: A Comparative Analysis of the Contexts for Its Emergence, and Its Introduction into the Japanese School System

By Yuri Ishii | Go to book overview

5

The Introduction of Development Education into the Japanese National Curriculum: Theoretical Considerations

INTRODUCTION

This chapter seeks further explanations as to why the introduction of development education was delayed by a decade in the Japanese formal education system. Leonard James Schoppa's theory, which identifies conflicts among actors in the educational policy making system as a cause of the difficulty of major educational policy change in Japan, may offer a solution. 1 Although his analysis does not focus on the curriculum change in particular, the theory provides an initial explanation about the circumstances in which educational policy changes slow down.


SCHOPPA'S THEORY

Schoppa argues that Japan's efficient adjustment to the rapidly changing world was not the case with educational policy making after 1955. 2 This was the year when the structure of conservative-opposition confrontation was established. Schoppa's suggestion is supported by the cases of two major educational reforms that took place in the early 1970s and the mid-1980s.

These two educational reforms aimed at a thorough revision of the postwar educational system. The result did not produce as much change as had been expected at the beginning of the reform discussion. 3 The report of the 1970s reform included many ambitious suggestions, but many of them were not implemented. 4 The original ambition of the 1980s' reform, was often undermined because of the lack of consensus among members of the Ad Hoc Council on Education. 5 When proposals by the Council were adopted, implementation of

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