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Promoting Political Participation through Experience-based Political Education
Unformatted Document Text:  or textbooks of the school?” Let us see the correlation between their answers to this question and other indices. The levels of political learning at school show statistically significant positive relations with political attitudes, recognition of legitimacies of parliament/election systems, and sense of duty for voting. Those who answered they learn about politics at school understand the norms of political system well, or accept them positively. On the other hand, there are no statistically significant relations between the level of political leaning at school and external political efficacy (2) or internal political efficacy (Tables 21 and 22), and negative relations were found between the level of political learning at school and external political efficacy (1) (Table 20). Our data show that those who obtain political information from sources other than school show higher external political efficacy. Above analyses prove that schools make educational impact on students’ leaning about politics in parallel with their educational principles. In other words, schools successfully promote students’ understanding of political institutions and principles, at the same time stop short of proactively internalizing them in the students’ political attitudes. The Japanese government (the Ministry of Education) seems to disregard the connection between low voting ratio among the youth and political education at school, and would like to rather blame the Election Administration Committee for its ineffective public relations. Political education programs at Japanese public schools have been the target of partisan war between the left and right during the Cold War, the government tried to make sure political neutrality is maintained, to the excessive level. However, as we have seen, the declining sense of political efficacy among the students make us think that it is high time for the government to change its course, and to allow more space for real politics in the classroom. In 2000, the Ministry of Education introduced a policy to give more time to activities not directly related with subject matters, thus to shift away from the knowledge-intensive education. Comprehensive Study is among the newly introduced subjects. This is to aim at promoting the sense and ability for problem finding and problem solution, and to integrate in the study such various elements as experience in the nature, voluntary activities, experience in the society, experience-based learning such as observation, experiment, investigation, research, and presentation, and problem-solution leaning. In the area of civics, new textbooks are being made aiming at political education reflecting this new policy, but their introduction is still quite limited and how to use the contents can greatly influence the effect of teaching. The following shows some of the experimental textbook contents. 19

Authors: Ishibashi, Shoichiro. and Chieko, Otsuru.
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or textbooks of the school?” Let us see the correlation between their answers to this question and
other indices. The levels of political learning at school show statistically significant positive
relations with political attitudes, recognition of legitimacies of parliament/election systems, and
sense of duty for voting. Those who answered they learn about politics at school understand the
norms of political system well, or accept them positively. On the other hand, there are no
statistically significant relations between the level of political leaning at school and external political
efficacy (2) or internal political efficacy (Tables 21 and 22), and negative relations were found
between the level of political learning at school and external political efficacy (1) (Table 20). Our
data show that those who obtain political information from sources other than school show higher
external political efficacy.
Above analyses prove that schools make educational impact on students’ leaning about
politics in parallel with their educational principles. In other words, schools successfully promote
students’ understanding of political institutions and principles, at the same time stop short of
proactively internalizing them in the students’ political attitudes. The Japanese government (the
Ministry of Education) seems to disregard the connection between low voting ratio among the
youth and political education at school, and would like to rather blame the Election Administration
Committee for its ineffective public relations. Political education programs at Japanese public
schools have been the target of partisan war between the left and right during the Cold War, the
government tried to make sure political neutrality is maintained, to the excessive level. However, as
we have seen, the declining sense of political efficacy among the students make us think that it is
high time for the government to change its course, and to allow more space for real politics in the
classroom.
In 2000, the Ministry of Education introduced a policy to give more time to activities
not directly related with subject matters, thus to shift away from the knowledge-intensive education.
Comprehensive Study is among the newly introduced subjects. This is to aim at promoting the
sense and ability for problem finding and problem solution, and to integrate in the study such
various elements as experience in the nature, voluntary activities, experience in the society,
experience-based learning such as observation, experiment, investigation, research, and
presentation, and problem-solution leaning.
In the area of civics, new textbooks are being made aiming at political education
reflecting this new policy, but their introduction is still quite limited and how to use the contents can
greatly influence the effect of teaching. The following shows some of the experimental textbook
contents.
19


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