430 Department of External Affairs to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 42 CANBERRA, 11 January 1947, 12.05 p.m.


Your FEC 9. Japanese Education.

SCO47/2 is being studied by Commonwealth Education authorities. We hope to be able to formulate definite views before the end of January.

In the meantime the following preliminary observations may assist you:

1. While considerable emphasis is placed on the elimination of the unhealthy features of the Japanese system, the treatment of the constructive aspect seems rather inadequate.

2. The policy is confined to primary and secondary school education. We feel that some provision should be included to cover University training.

3. The provision of more opportunities for higher education is desirable if only with the objective of increasing the numbers of qualified and suitable recruits to the teaching profession.

4. The difficulty of introducing Roman script is undoubtedly great but we consider that a real effort is highly desirable in any long range plan.

5. Reference paragraph 15. Consideration might be given to the establishment in Tokyo of an international advisory body on education to operate under S.C.A.P. C.I. and E. Section. [1]

6. Reference paragraph 16. Comprehensive educational reform is likely to be more effectively handled by a centralised governmental department, hence decentralisation of administration is not recommended for general policy planning, finance, appointment of teachers, conditions for teachers, provision of buildings, planning of educational standards and conduct of research programmes.

Decentralisation, however, would be desirable in carrying out details of administration.

With reference to curricula it is considered advisable for a central authority to make general suggestions for all subjects and to specify requirements of standards.

Decentralisation is recommended particularly for social studies, biological sciences and vocational subjects in which local conditions should play an important role. Decentralisation might most effectively be accomplished by removing schools and teachers from prefectural control and placing local administration of education under District Superintendents of Education who should be educationists of standing.

7. The principle stated in paragraph 1 of equal opportunity for girls should be given greater emphasis by more specific treatment in the body of the document and should cover both secondary and tertiary education.

1 Civil Information and Education Section.

[AA : A3196, 1947, 0.529]