Building Next-generation Schools with 21st Century Skills(learning) and ESD (Reconstructing Japanese Teacher Education System)

Umezawa Osamu


The Japanese government has actively promoted Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) that UNESCO advocates and is going to fully implement the school reform that aims to enhance next generation’s 21st century skills by the year of the Olympic in Tokyo, 2020. So far, Japanese schools focused on basic skills. However, the presenter believes that next generation’s schools need to be reconstructed with 21st century learning and ESD as their base.
Now the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) is taking actions to fix the comprehensive conditions for the educational reform. Especially MEXT focuses on the reform of the comprehensive system of training, employment, and development of teachers. The basic directions of the system reform is as follows: to hold “the Teacher Professional Development Consortium” by the association between education boards of the prefecture and universities; to develop the index of teacher professional development based on the fundamental principles by MEXT; to improve the curriculum of teacher training or development; and to assess the ability and quality that teachers need to hold.
Since 2010, the Shizuoka University has promoted the systematic reform that integrated teacher education and in-service education. Such a reform corresponds to the era of globalization. The basic concept, if I state briefly, is to nurture and support the teachers who can teach for 21st century learning in their classrooms. To achieve this concept, the Faculty of Education, Shizuoka University, of which primary purpose is to train future teachers, is going to open the Elementary Learning Development Major in April of 2016, as a part of the organizational reform of teacher training. In the program, students will deal with contemporary educational problems and use interdisciplinary methods.
In order to support teacher professional development and their research, School of Education established the Research and Education Center for the Learning Sciences (RECLS) in April of 2013 and the Center for Promoting Higher-Quality Teacher Education (PHTE) in April of 2014. In addition, it established Advanced Professional Development in School Education in 2009 and Cooperative Doctoral Course in Subject Development in 2012.
Teachers in next generation schools should hold the practical abilities to organize their classes based on theories and methods of interdisciplinary and comprehensive learning.
The Shizuoka University will promote such a reform and research teacher training, if possible, in association with the universities in Indonesia, ASEAN and Asia.


21stcentury learning skills; ESD; teacher professional development; next-generation school

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