Research Activities
The New ‘Three Rs’ of Education in Japan: Risk, Responsibility and Rights
2nd Seminar of Group 3, 2008
■Speaker :Robert Aspinall (Professor, Faculty of Economics, Shiga University)
■Place :B103-104, Chikou-kan, Seta Campus, Ryukoku University
■Date :14:00-17:00, Thursday, June 5, 2008
■Number :080605
Since the 1980s the rhetoric of educational reform in Japan has focused on the individual. After decades of education for conformity, politicians, teachers, parents and students themselves are demanding increased scope for expression of individual differences and choices. Economic change, the modernization of Japanese society, and international pressures have also had an impact. However, in responding to pressures for more attention to the individual, institutions and individuals have been constrained by various factors. There are complex interconnections of diverse processes and forces. The discourse on the Rights of the Child grew from almost nothing in the 1970s to a dominant position in the 1990s. However, this development has also sparked a backlash against what is sometimes seen as selfish individualism. The paradigm of Risk Society is of use in analysing the way individuals are now being encouraged to become their own “risk managers”, i.e. calculators of how their actions and choices will affect their own lives. This kind of thinking is less concerned with the welfare of the group. It also involves people taking more responsibility for their actions. In response to these developments the state has, in the field of education, adopted a style of managerialism that borrows ideas from other states like the UK. This kind of approach, paradoxically, is more likely to reduce risk taking by teachers and taught.