Saturday, April 23, 2011

Board of Education members in disaster hit areas reported the difficulties of the mental care for the students of the tragedy.

In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, a conference of executive members of the Board of Education from all over Japan--prefectures plus Tokyo, Hokkaido, Osaka, and Kyoto as well as ordinance designated cities--was held at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on April 20th, 2011. One after another, members of the board from the disaster hit areas and also those from prefectures that accepted the evacuee students expressed the difficulties in providing the mental care to the students and appealed for the increase in budget to hire the additional teachers.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology distributed the guideline materials for the mental care designed for the schools and parents at the conference. After reviewing the contents, Mr. Jin Takahashi, superintendant deputy of the Board of Education in Miyagi Prefecture requested, “Please consider the situation. The guideline instructed ‘not to worry too much,' but those children went through the tsunami cannot forget the disaster even if they try not to think about it. It is not easy to tell them not to worry.”

The Ministry explained the plan to increase the number of teachers for the prefectures of the disaster hit areas and those accepted the evacuee students. For example, Niigata Prefecture received a total of 993 students of elementary schools and middle schools (as of April 19, 2011), and 42 additional teachers will be additionally deployed. Mr. Rikiya Hamanaka, the counselor of Niigata Prefectural Board of Education appealed, “under the existing system, it is expected that the two thirds of the cost of salaries for those additional teachers has to be covered by prefectures and it is very tough for them to do so. Could the government cover 100 %?” The ministry answered that it would be covered by the tax money allocated to local government.

Mr. Mitsuru Fukushima, the superintendant deputy of the Board of Education in Fukushima Prefecture met with Mr. Yoshiaki Takagi, the Minister of Education and other staffs after the conference and asked them to explain the standard of judging whether children can go outside and play in the schoolyard in reference to the amount of radiation, directly to the parents of 13 elementary schools, middle schools, kindergartens, and nursery schools where the radiation amount exceeded the standard., 4/20/2011

Translated by Makiko Tajima Asano

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