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Message from the Director General

Ikuko Arimatsu Director General


Today we live in a rapidly changing society and are faced with such issues as swift changes in the employment patterns, the industrial structure and social systems due to the progression of such factors as an ageing population and a declining birthrate, globalization and advancements in science and technological innovations. The situation of children and their families are also changing posing such problems as child poverty, regional disparities, and weakening of links within the local community. Amid these challenges, education is taking on an increasingly more significant role in ensuring that every individual is able to lead an abundant, full life throughout his or her lifetime-which could be as long as 100 years-and in achieving the sustainable growth and development of society.

In response to a consultation from MEXT last April, discussions are currently underway at the Central Council for Education relating to commencement in FY2018 of the formulation of the Third Basic Plan for the Promotion of Education. The discussions suggest a need to discuss methods of formulating more effective and efficient educational measures through professional and multifaceted analysis and verification of the effects of educational measures, as well as ideal educational policies looking ahead to possible societal changes predicted to commence in around 2030. Ways of clearly explaining the socioeconomic and other effects of educational policy to the general public are discussed as well as the design of an ideal education policy implementation system, including ways of enhancing empirical studies and of systematically developing the data and information necessary to analyze and verify the effects of educational measures from a professional and multifaceted perspective.

Initially, the National Institute for Educational Policy Research (NIER) started out as the National Institute for Educational Research in 1949, and later underwent a reorganization in 2001 as an institute to conduct basic research and studies on policies related to education, and continues to fulfill this mission to the present day.

In order for education reform initiatives to be truly effective, it is essential for us to implement cutting-edge research studies and to verify educational policies by collecting and analyzing diverse data and good practices both in Japan and other countries, and I strongly believe in the growing importance of proactively communicating the effects. NIER, as the only institute for educational policy research in Japan, conducts research projects on policy challenges, implements the “National Assessment of Academic Ability”, and participates in international research projects such as the OECD-PISA, TALIS and IEA-TIMSS. NIER also conducts professional and empirical studies on educational curricula, student guidance and counseling, early childhood education, social education and educational facilities.

As a theoretical pillar for education reform, NIER continues to make comprehensive efforts to promote studies which may be effectively utilized in schools and that will contribute to policy planning in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the boards of education across the country, and universities and research institutions in Japan and other countries, and moreover, NIER plans to do its utmost to communicate the results and information on related initiatives to the general public in an effort to gain their greater understanding.

July 2017

Ikuko Arimatsu
Director General
National Institute for Educational Policy Research, Japan
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