Textbook Examination Procedure
To ensure that the textbooks are objective and impartial and incorporate adequate educational considerations, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) examines textbooks in accordance with textbook examination standards, following deliberations within the Textbook Approval and Research Council.
1. Examination based on Textbook Examination Standards
MEXT sets and announces Compulsory Education Textbook Examination Standards and Senior High School Textbook Examination Standards as screening criteria for textbook examination. In the examination process, textbooks are screened, in an appropriate and fair manner based on the relevant examination standards.
The examination standards include General Rules, which outline the basic policy for screening, common conditions applicable to all subjects and subject-specific conditions. These conditions are arranged from the following three viewpoints: "scope and degree of difficulty," "selection/treatment and organization/amount" and "accuracy, orthography and expression" (refer to the overview of the General Rules and common conditions).
2. Examination based on Report of Textbook Approval Research Council
The Textbook Approval and Research Council is an affiliation with MEXT and textbooks are examined on the basis of a report submitted by the Council. The regular and non-regular members of the Council are chosen from university professors and teachers of elementary, junior high and senior high schools and other educational institutions.
Each textbook for which an application for examination has been filed is studied by textbook experts prior to screening by the Council. When necessary for the examination of specialized issues, specialist members are appointed to serve on the Council to undertake a specialist investigation. Textbook experts are full-time officials of MEXT and are appointed based on university teaching experience and other relevant experience.
The Council undertakes a comprehensive screening of textbooks in which it considers the findings of textbook experts and specialist members, as well as the findings of its members. This mechanism ensures that the Council's screening process reflects the result of investigations undertaken by a large number of experts from various perspectives.
Textbook Examination Standards (Summary)
(The following is an overview of the General Rules and common conditions applicable to all subjects.)
- General Rules
Textbook examination is designed to screen textbooks in order to ensure that they conform to the purpose and policy of education as specified by the Fundamental Law of Education and the purpose of the school and objectives of education as specified by the School Education Law. This process takes into consideration the fact that textbooks are created for students and intended for use in their instruction as primary teaching materials and must therefore be organized and arranged in accordance with the curriculums.
- Common conditions applicable to all subjects
[Scope and degree of difficulty]
- All items specified in the Courses of Study must be included and no unnecessary items may be included. Material not specified in the Courses of Study may be included outside the main text.
- The educational content of all textbooks should be appropriate to the mental and physical developmental stage of the students for whom they are intended.
[Selection/treatment and organization/amount]
- Selection and treatment should be implemented so that no part of the textbook may be deemed inappropriate in light of the Courses of Study (the objectives and intentions set out in the Courses of Study for material not specified in the Courses of Study, if applicable). Furthermore, there should not be any potential to pose a barrier to the learning process for students.
- The treatment of politics and religion should be impartial, and no part of the textbook should support or criticize a specific political party or religious sect or its ideology or beliefs.
- There should be no bias towards specific subjects, phenomena or fields, and an overall balance should be maintained.
- One-sided views should not be included without adequate safeguards.
- Overall amount of material and its allocation, organization and linkage (for material not specified in the Courses of Study, if applicable, its amount) should be appropriate.
- When material not specified in the Courses of Study is included, it should be organized separately from other material and clear indication should be made identifying it as material not specified in the Courses of Study.
[Accuracy, orthography and expression]
- There should be no errors, inaccuracies or contradictions.
- There should be no expressions that are too difficult for students to understand or have the potential to cause misunderstanding.
- Orthography should be appropriate and consistent.
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