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

esis of development education is created through a comparative analysis of countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and Australia. Some other countries are also used as examples to test the theory.

The second theme is analyzed at the level of policy making, and the third, at the level of classroom teaching. The lack of development education in the Japanese national curriculum, due to the policy-making system, is explained theoretically and by counterpoint with one example of slow curriculum change in Japan.

The analysis of classroom teaching is based on interviews with teachers in Japanese schools where development education has been introduced relatively successfully. Why, within the same national curriculum system, development education was introduced in these schools, while in other schools it was not, is investigated.

The author argues, first, that there are socioeconomic and political contexts that increase the possibility of the genesis of development education as something to be taught in schools; secondly, that Japan came to have these contexts in the 1980s; and finally, that governmental intervention for promoting development education in schools did not occur in Japan in the 1980s because the Japanese educational policy-making system blocks or slows down policy changes. Development education in Japan at school and classroom levels can be understood as an attempt on the part of teachers to adjust their teaching to changing social contexts, given the slow national curriculum change. Expanded opportunities for development education being inserted into formal education in the late 1990s' curriculum revision confirms that such a gap exists between social contexts and the national curriculum.

This book is organized in two parts to test these arguments. The first part focuses on the relationship between societies and development education, and the second is the investigation of the relationship between the educational system and development education, including the Japanese national curriculum and innovations at classroom level. The first part consists of chapters 1 to 4, and the second part includes chapters 5 to 9. Chapter 9 is the concluding chapter.

In chapter 1, the term development education and the background for the creation of development education are discussed. In chapter 2, a tentative working theory for the genesis of development education, based on the comparative analysis of some selected countries is suggested. Chapter 3 applies this theory to the case of Japan. When and how there arose, in Japan, socioeconomic and political contexts that are similar to those in other countries where development education was created is discussed. Chapter 4 discusses how governmental intervention introduced development education into formal educational systems in some countries and points out the absence of such an intervention in the case of Japan in the 1980s. The chapter ends with a suggestion that the absence of governmental intervention in Japan is due to its educational policy-making system, which makes policy change difficult.

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