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  2. Message from the Director General
Yuji Nagayama Director General

Innovation in Education and Missions
of the National Institute for
Educational Policy Research

The National Institute for Educational Policy Research (NIER) has a history of more than 70 years, since it started out as the National Institute for Educational Research in June 1949 as an “institute to conduct practical and basic research and studies related to education.” During this period, in 2001, as part of the reform of the government structure, our objectives and tasks were reorganized as “basic research and studies on policies related to education”, and the name of institute was changed to the National Institute for Educational Policy Research, and was relaunched as a research institute for educational policy.
 The organizational structure has since then also undergone some changes with the establishment of the Curriculum Research Center and the Guidance and Counseling Research Center, which serve as national centers for developing educational curricula and student guidance and career counseling. Thereafter, we established the Educational Facilities Research Center and the Early Childhood Education Research Center, and the Practical Social Education Research Center. In October 2021, we have established the Education Data Science Center.
 Over the years, NIER has been expanding its work to cover a number of areas such as conducting research projects relating to various policy issues, as well as the “National Assessment of Academic Ability”, participating in joint international research projects such as the OECD-PISA, TALIS, PIAAC and IEA-TIMSS. We have been engaging in specialized and empirical research and studies on educational curricula, student guidance and careers counseling, social education, the educational facilities, and other themes. All of such research is being utilized as data and materials for policy planning in various fields. In particular, in the revisions of the Courses of Study, the results of various research activities conducted and engaged in our institute are used as a basis for policy formulation.
 With Japanese society undergoing major changes in society, such as technological innovation, globalization, a demographic shift due to a declining birthrate and aging population, and the advent of a 100-year-life society, education will take on an increasingly more important role in ensuring that each and every individual develops the necessary competencies to deal proactively with changes and to solve problems in the future, and to lead an abundant and full life throughout his or her lifetime, and in tandem, in creating a vigorous and sustainable society. We conduct a wide range of research activities in the fields of primary and secondary education, higher education and lifelong learning, and is also working on project research relating to education innovation and other areas in accordance with educational policies that emphasize objective evidence and the progress of advanced information technology based on the perspectives requiring particular attention in the future, which were indicated in the Third Basic Plan for the Promotion of Education (approved by the Cabinet in June 2018) .
 Education creates a future. In order to make the constant efforts toward enrichment of education further fruitful, it is vital to conduct a wide range of research, including collection and analysis of various corroborating data and examples of best practices observed in Japan and abroad, and to verify educational policies. At NIER, as the only institute specialized in educational policy research, we will continue to promote research activities on educational policies in collaboration with MEXT as well as local boards of education, universities, educational research institutions, and other related organizations nationwide, and will also actively disseminate our initiatives and the results thereof.
 Last, we would appreciate your continued support.


 September 2022
Yuji Nagayama
Director General
National Institute for Educational Policy Research, Japan

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