Speaker on Educational Reform in the Japanese Educational System

Posted on November 5, 2004

Educational Reform in the Japanese Educational System: Much Ado about Nothing, or Radical Reform?

Tuesday, November 16, 4:30pm, Vance B10

Speaker: Sam Shepherd, President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS)

Panelists: Dr. G. Cameron Hurst III, Dr. Frank Chance, Dr. Emily Hannum
Over the past several years, substantial reform measures have been mandated by the Japanese Ministry of Education across all levels of education from primary to tertiary. For grades 1 through 12, these include going from a 5 (+) day to a 5 day school week, introducing a cross-disciplinary curriculum mode called Integrated Studies, and allowing for more decision making power at the local level. Among the many sweeping changes that have come or are coming to tertiary education are administrative independence for the national universities, identifying centers of excellence, and a range of first-ever external evaluations of university systems. What was the motivation for these changes, and are they as substantive as they appear on the surface or mere window dressing?

Sam Shepherd, President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS) in Washington, DC, will address these and other issues related to educational reform in Japan from the perspective of someone who has had the privilege of participating in the reform process, first as a member of one of the Central Councils of Education (1995-98), and more recently (2000-2004) as a member of the Standing Committee for external evaluation of national universities, the National Institute of University Degrees and University Evaluation. This event is co-sponsored by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia and Graduate School of Education.

Kathleen Hall
Associate Professor
Graduate School of Education & Department of Anthropology
University of Pennsylvania
3700 Walnut
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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