Basic Report No. 1
Stop abolishing high schools, which deprives children of their right to learn.
Osaka Prefectural High School Teachers and Staff Union
President Shima Tsuyoshi
In Osaka, it is rampant that “the destruction of public high schools” deprives children of “the right to learn.”
What is called Basic Education Regulation was proposed by the “Osaka Ishinnokai’s Association(Osaka Reform Association),” which occupied the majority of Osaka Prefecture Assembly in the election in April, 2011. Popular opposition to the draft regulation that denies the fundamental principles of education arose and there was a protest movement. But, in March, 2012, after being amended partly, “prefectural school regulation” and “basic education administration regulation” passed. Article 2 of the former stipulates that if a prefectural high school does not meet its quota because of the shortage of applicants for three consecutive years and is not expected to improve itself thereafter, then it will be reorganized. The policy to abolish prefectural high schools because of under-enrollment was stipulated.
In addition, the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education formulated the plan to improve and reorganize Osaka prefectural and municipal high schools in November, 2013, and decided to stop recruiting students at about 7 high schools by fiscal 2018 because of “declining birthrate.”
Regrettably, in fiscal 2014, the abolition of high schools started owing to under-enrollment, based on these regulations and policy. As a result, 2 prefectural high schools, that is, Ikedakita and Sakishima in fiscal 2016, and 2 high schools, that is, Sakishima and Nishiyodogawa in fiscal 2017 started stopping recruitment, and Taisho high school will stop recruitment in fiscal 2018 and Nose will have to be degraded to a branch of a prefectural high school.
This abolition is extremely unreasonable in the following respects.
In the first place, public high schools exist to guarantee high school education for all children if they wish, and it is natural that they should have plenty of quota. The regulation’s idea that if a public high school cannot fill its quota it should be abolished leads to the one that every high school should be overloaded. That idea deprives the children of the right to learn.
In particular, in Osaka, in 2009, owing to the increase of the private high schools’ tuition fee, accompanied by private school aid cuts, public high schools became overloaded and the secondary recruitment of the nighttime scheduled system exceeded the capacity limit. As a result, in deciding the number of classes of public high schools, “Capacity” that exceeds the number of students who wish to enter high school is introduced as a safety net, and it is inevitable that some schools cannot meet their quota
While student recruitment inviting under-enrollment is left as it is, it is extremely unfair and an abnormal measure nowhere to be seen that some high schools are destroyed as if they accept responsibility for under-enrollment.
In Osaka, the district system of prefectural high schools was done away with by the “prefectural school regulation”, as a measure to promote competition, and “feature schools” were established, so that high schools are ranked increasingly, the examination competition goes on being broadened, and regardless of public or private, each high school is driven to competition for recruiting students.
Under these circumstances, high schools which cannot meet their quota are located in inconvenient areas of the prefecture and are occupied by children, who are left behind in the entrance examination race. To abolish such schools is nothing but robbing of the right, students who live in areas poorly served by public transportation, students who have low academic ability, facing economic difficulties and problems involved in unstable family environment, and students who haven’t studied much at elementary and junior high schools
What is quoted next reveals how foolish “abolishing high schools” is. Two graduates of the schools which were forced to stop recruitment say, “Although I was told that you could go only to this school because of truancy during junior high school days, I went to the school and after careful guidance there I was able to go on to university. I’m what I am because of this high school.” “If it were not for this school, my brother and sister cannot go there. I do not want to lose the school of last resort.”
The Prefectural Board of Education explains that a new empowerment school is set up for the purpose of “learning again” and that the school can play the same role that the reorganized ones did. In fact, the special entrance examination of the empowerment school precedes the general entrance exam, so that competitive ratio for the school is 1 or more, and so there are some applicants rejected by the school, which is far from “a safety net. ”
We cannot permit “high school abolishing,” which intensifies examination competition and rejects the children who are disadvantaged in competition.
The Board of Education explained that “high school abolishing” makes a response to “falling birthrate,” but this is not true. The number of junior high school graduates in Osaka halved from 140,000 in 1987 to 70,000 in 2009, but about 20 prefectural high schools were abolished due to merger or consolidation. Then, the number of junior high school graduates increased once again and it declined once again in 2014, but in fiscal 2018, the year of the completion of the “plan” formulated by the prefectural board of education in 2013, it won’t be lower than 70 thousand people in 2009. Then, it is estimated that it will stop falling at about 65,000, which is not one good reason for destroying schools.
Meanwhile, the number of the first grade classes in Osaka prefectural high schools is 8 on average, exceeding the nationwide average (6 classes), which is excessive compared to the whole country. ‟In our school,” as one teacher complains about the situation, “we cannot have enough classes to develop, and the same grade cannot be placed on the same floor of the school building.” What’s more, the number of people in one class is still unchanged from the national standard of 40 , and it is overcrowded as compared with the fact that small classes are being promoted nationwide.
“It is required to solve excessive overcrowding and to improve educational conditions, taking this opportunity of the small number of students based on declining birthrate. Such a voice is also rising from citizens and parents. We cannot forgive “high school abolishing” under perpetual bad educational conditions.
Since “the abolition of high school” started in 2014, parents or PTA, graduates or an alumni association, students, local residents, etc. have raised their voices against it. The association for the propose of protecting Ikedakita and Sakishima submitted 40,000 signatures, the association in support of Nishiyodogawa did 15,000(as of 2015) and the association with the aim of protecting Osaka High Schools did 12,000 (as of 2016). Nearly 80 thousand signatures in total were submitted to Osaka Prefecture Assembly.
It is contrary to the best interests of children that the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education goes on abolishing high schools, trampling the voices of people concerned. They should stop the absurdity of getting rid of high schools.