Mrs. Jorgensen's Fulbright Memorial Fund Study Tour of Japan   |     home
back to  E-Journal

October 6
The agenda for today included many lectures from several distinguished guests of the government of Japan.  Prior to leaving the United States, we had each selected an area of education which we wanted to explore more deeply.  Of the choices given, I selected Special Education.

Providing our lectures today were -
   Changes in Education : Dr. Yoshiya Abe, President of Kokugakuin University
   Mathematics Education : Dr. Eizo Nagasaki, National Institute for Educational Research
   Peace Education : Dr. Susumu Ishitani, Professor Emeritus of Hosei University
   Special Education : Dr. Shigeru Narita, Professor at Hyogo University of Teacher Education

Dr. Narita's view data on Special Education practices in Japan is summarized below  
(terms used are those of Dr. Narita during his lecture) -
   Only 1% of students are identified as having a learning disability, as opposed to an average of about 13% in other nations.
   Child Psychologists or Pediatricians diagnose Learning Disabilities in Japan, as it is more a medical term as opposed to an educational term.
   Creating an IEP is not mandatory once a disability has been diagnosed.
   Learning Disabilities are not recognized as a handicapping condition for educational programming.
   Handicapping conditions currently include only Visual Impairments, Orthopedic Impairments, Emotional Disturbance, and Mental Retardation.
   Teachers working with students with learning disabilities do not have special training for this.  No special certifications are required, and the School Board assigns teachers to their programs.
   Students with learning disabilities are recognized as such only informally, and parents pay for private tutoring in order to keep their children in the local schools.
   Children with special needs who cannot succeed at the local school will have to be educated at a Special Education facility.  These schools are generally boarding schools.  Each prefecture has one such school.
   Retention is not a possibility in Japanese schools.  Social promotion is accepted as the only option.
   For students with special needs, attendance is the only requirement for graduation certificates.

Prior to our lectures today, several of us awoke at 4:00 a.m. to go to the Tsukiji Fish Market.  We were told that a trip to Tokyo could not be considered complete without an expedition to this particular wholesale/retail establishment.  We were not disappointed!