Department of Research Planning and Development

Outline of Research and Programs

The Department of Research Planning and Development is charged primarily with the planning and coordination of NIER activities overall, including research and programs. The Department is also responsible for promoting partnerships and cooperation with research institutes in Japan, and particularly with local education research institutes and education centers.
    The Department of Research Planning and Development performs overall coordination in light of trends in education and education research, and considers how NIER can best allocate its limited human and physical resources, conduct research that contributes to the planning and design of Japan's education policy, and meet the expectations of the Japanese people.

 Recent Developments at NIER

First established in June 1949 , NIER was restructured and reorganized in January 2001 when it also was given its current name. In collaboration with Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), NIER aims to conduct research and surveys that make an even greater contribution than before to the planning and design of the nation's education policy.
    Properly evaluating national research institutes is very important for the institutes from the perspective of designing R&D projects where researchers can give full play to their creativity, ensuring accountability to the Japanese people, and promoting the prioritized and efficient allocation of resources. An external evaluation agency made suggestions regarding the overall operation of NIER in a report released in February 2005. Based on that report, NIER announced mid-term goals in April 2006 for the five-year period from fiscal 2006 through fiscal 2010, and we have actively taken initiatives to achieve those goals ever since. In fiscal 2008, an interim evaluation was conducted regarding the mid-term goals. Based on that evaluation, additions and changes were made to the priority tasks.

 The Policy Research Strategy Office and PR Activities

(Photo) FY 2009 International Symposium on Education Reform

The Policy Research Strategy Office was established at NIER in October 2005, with the aim of improving NIER's management of its research activities and ensuring that all studies are conducted effectively and efficiently in response to Japan's education policy issues and social needs.
    The Policy Research Strategy Office plans and coordinates the topics, aims, and content of project research for NIER's basic studies for the planning and design of education policies, and the Department of Research Planning and Development serves as the secretariat. The Policy Research Strategy Office conducted an evaluation of NIER's fiscal 2006 studies based on the mid-term goals and disclosed the results to the public.
    We have held the Public Symposium on Educational Research every year since fiscal 1990 with the aim of ensuring that NIER's research findings are available to the Japanese people and are delivered directly to educational settings so that they can be used to improve school operation and teaching skills. The International Symposium on Education Reform has been held annually since fiscal 2001. By inviting educational reform specialists from overseas, the symposium offers an opportunity to learn from the experience of other countries and apply it to educational reform efforts in Japan. We also edit and issue a bulletin and public relations newsletter to ensure our research findings are available to society and to gain the understanding of the general public regarding our work.

 Future Initiatives

Today Japan is actively pursuing initiatives to revitalize education. This has resulted in more and more settings where empirical data is needed to plan and design educational policies and in an increasing number of opportunities to submit materials to government councils and other bodies. We aim to meet such governmental demands properly and promptly and to address the needs of schools and other members of the education community appropriately.
    Based on our mid-term goals, we will further develop partnerships and cooperation with MEXT, boards of education, and research institutes under their jurisdiction as well as promote public relations and disclose our research findings with an eye to contributing to society.

Project Research

Study on Improving Teacher Quality Leader: OTSUKI Tatsuya
Period: FY 2007-FY 2010
< Outline >
  Based on a comparative analysis of teacher policies abroad, this study looks at the current state of teacher-training programs at universities and the issues faced in this area as well as the best way for teacher training and evaluations to be conducted to improve educators' teaching skills. The study aims to contribute to the planning and design of measures to raise the quality of teachers, including the improvement of teaching skills, teacher training systems at universities, and other training frameworks.
  The fiscal 2010 study includes (1) an analysis of the results of the fiscal 2009 study , (2) a questionnaire survey on teacher evaluations conducted by boards of education and others, (3) interview and questionnaire surveys of educators at teacher-training colleges and teacher-training departments at comprehensive universities, and (4) a survey of school principals with experience in the private sector and others nationwide from the perspective of looking at how best to train school administrators.
  This study is being conducted in cooperation with the Department for Educational Policy and Evaluation Research, the Department for Lifelong Learning Policy Research, the Department for Elementary and Secondary Education Research, and the Curriculum Research Center.
Basic Research on Education Funding and the Optimal Division of Costs Leader: OTSUKI Tatsuya
Period: FY 2010-FY 2011
< Outline >
  The Study on Education Funding and the Optimal Division of Costs conducted in fiscal 2009 was dissolved and this improved study designed. In addition to a comparative analysis with other countries, a survey and analysis will be conducted of demand for funds for envisioned responses to issues and estimates of the effectiveness of such investment. Empirical data will also be collected and analyzed to help design measures that will be needed in the future.
  Specific topics will be selected by educational stage, and anticipated issues will be considered from various perspectives. The supply and demand situation for the education spending required to address those issues and the effectiveness of such investment of funds will also be examined.

Research Results

Mar. 2007 Report on the Study on Teacher Salaries Overseas (study commissioned by MEXT) led by the NIER Study Group on Teacher Salaries Overseas.  
Mar. 2006 Report on the International Symposium on Education Reform FY 2005: "Save Children from the Risk of Violence in School."  
Mar. 2006 Report on the Survey on the Use of Japanese Language Contents in Educational Institutions in the Pacific Region (JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research [Scientific Research B]) led by SAKAYAUCHI Masaru.  
Oct. 2005 Report on the International Symposium on Education Reform FY 2004: "Sustainable Development and Education for the 21st Century."  
Mar. 2005 Report on the Research and Development of Programs for Teacher Training to Improve Reliability in Evaluation (JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research [Scientific Research C]) led by KAWAI Hisashi.