The Education Ministry has released guidelines to make moral education a special subject in schools by fiscal 2018. Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura says the goal of the guidelines is to encourage students to think impartially, as well as prevent bullying and juvenile crimes.
The guidelines were drawn up by a ministry panel set up last year to revise the teaching manual to include moral education as a “special subject” for elementary and junior high school students, TBS reported. The panel advocates revising textbooks to include ethics in the curricula.
The panel says youth problems are becoming increasingly complex due to expanding income gaps in society. It says that juvenile crime can stem from a lack of communication with family and others, an unstable employment outlook and the financial difficulties of parents. It recommends that approved textbooks should be used for moral education in the classroom.
According to the guidelines, elementary school students from first to fifth grades will be taught the importance of life, to listen to others with different opinions, to be fair, respect their country and learn about foreign cultures, TBS reported.
Teachers will be tasked with encouraging students to think for themselves rather than just giving their opinions. The panel advocated more class discussions and interactive exchanges between students.
In the past, plans to introduce moral education into school curricula have met with opposition from some teachers and parents concerned that it would impose certain values on children.© Japan Today