Japanese education ministry officials to serve as volunteer teachers

JAPAN – The education ministry is encouraging all its employees to serve as volunteer lecturers for ministry-promoted Saturday classes at public primary, middle and high schools-and even the education minister is chipping in.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry intends to hold seminars for officials with teaching licenses to instruct other officials how to teach, while surveying the lesson contents they want to teach.

The ministry revised an ordinance of the School Education Law in November to make it easier for boards of education to adopt Saturday classes. The ministry also plans to establish a “lecturers on demand” system by registering private companies’ employees and engineers with expertise in certain fields from the next academic year.

The ministry’s volunteer lecturers are part of the system.

Education minister Hakubun Shimomura taught arithmetic to fifth-grade students at Narimasu Primary School in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo, on Dec. 14. At one point, Shimomura smiled in embarrassment when a student pointed out that a decimal point on the blackboard was in the wrong place. After the class, a female student said, “The lesson was easy to understand because he explained how to solve questions in detail.”

Although not on a Saturday, Tomohiro Tsubota, head of the ministry’s Social Education Division, gave a lecture to first-year students in their integrated study class at Ueno Gakuen High School on Dec. 18. and talked about his work as a national public servant.

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Japanese education ministry officials to serve as volunteer teachers
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