Establishing the Seigakuin Education Charter -1-

Report Reform of Seigakuin Education

Establishing the Seigakuin Education Charter

In 2000 Seigakuin began research and discussion about the future of Seigakuin Education, and a series of three Conferences on Education were planned.  Progress and the results of the research and discussion were reported at the conferences held in 2001 and 2002, and the final result will be crystallized in the Seigakuin Education Charter to be proclaimed at the third Conference in November 2002.

First Conference:
Report by sub-commitee chairs

Questioning the current trend supporting a revision of the Fundamental Law of Education

There are numerous problems regarding the educational situation in Japan today such as truancy, bullying, the increase in juvenile delinquency and the trend for younger students to be involved, the decline in basic academic ability, etc. At the same time the developments in information technology and globalization require a new educational system. At Seigakuin, it is considered most important to revise the framework of education for all of its schools, from the kindergartens to the university and the graduate school.

Prime Minister Koizumi and his predecessors, Prime Ministers Obuchi and Mori, have been seeing the problem of education as a problem of the Fundamental Law of Education. Therefore, priority has been given by the government to a revision of the Law in an attempt to find a solution to the problem.

The Fundamental Law of Education, established in 1947, defines the national education system in terms of character development and maturation. Certain government officials and intellectuals advocate a revision of the Law, claiming that it is the main cause of most of the problems in the field of education today.

The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has commissioned the Central Education Council to review the Law, and it is expected to submit a draft revision by the end of the year. However, can the revision of the Law serve as an ultimate solution to the problems of education? When studying the proposed revision, one can observe a drift toward a restoration of nationalism and an imposition of outdated national identity. There are many other points that are questionable. For example, the proposed revision makes voluntary activities quasi-compulsory calling it an "encouragement of public and social service activities."

First Conference:
Keynote speech by the Chancellor

Japan made a disastrous mistake in the past by hoisting the colors of nationalism.  Therefore, issues and ideas such as patriotism need to be fully discussed. A revision of the Fundamental Law of Education, if it is meant to be a genuine undertaking, requires a long and hard effort of research and study, instead of the political approach that values speed above quality.

In contrast to the current political maneuvering, we at Seigakuin believe that the urgent need is to tackle the issue from Seigakuin's own point of view, creating and presenting our own vision of education. In keeping with the spirit of the Fundamental Law of Education, we shall reexamine the education system as a whole and work out new guiding principles for education in Japan. At the same time, we will also strive to clearly redefine Seigakuin education. To achieve these goals, the Seigakuin Conference on Education was established in 2000, and since then there have been ongoing research and study activities. In this report, we would like to explain what has been done, where we are now as well as plans for the future.

The Seigakuin Conference on Education: Activities based on unity and shared awareness

The Seigakuin Conference on Education was originally planned in 1997 at the Heads of Schools Council, composed of the chief administrators of the various Seigakuin Schools, with the purpose of clearly defining what Seigakuin Education is, and announcing a new and unique orientation for education in the present day, an era of turmoil and significant change throughout society. In April 2000, the 2000-2003 Committee was established for the administration of the Conference.

On October 23, 2000, the first Seigakuin Conference on Education was held with the participation of all members of the faculty and staff from the Seigakuin Schools. The number of the participants totaled 377 and Seigakuin Junior and Senior High School was the venue for this event. The Conference also established ten sub-committees to facilitate ongoing research and discussions and for drafting the Seigakuin Education Charter.

The second Conference on Education was held on October 23, 2002 at Seigakuin University with 361 participants. In the morning following the worship service, sub-committee sessions were held and pupils and students gave presentations. The sub-committee sessions continued in the afternoon and were followed by a lecture by Mr. Tsutomu Hotta, Chairman of the Board of Sawayaka Welfare Foundation. The lecture, entitled "For Whose Benefit is Education" offered various valuable insights. An Appeal was made at the end of the Conference, preceding the closing ceremony.

The second Seigakuin Conference on Education Appeal clarified anew the principles and the orientation of the Conference by saying, "Notwithstanding the importance of the educational guidelines and policies that are developed through the Conference, we are required to have our own attitude toward education.

Second Conference: Lecture by Mr Hotta

The most important question is whether we teachers possess a well-integrated personality and the educational skill and leadership necessary to nurture children and young men and women who will be the leaders in the future. With those qualities, we must be capable of developing their intellectual and human qualities, helping them live a life that is democratic, free and peaceful, and train people who will maintain harmony with nature and serve those who are socially vulnerable."