Japanese educator connects local development and graduate teacher education

Dr. Yoshinobu Tokita, Vice President and Executive Director of Joetsu University of Education (JUE), presented “The Establishment of Graduate Schools of Education in Japan: Key Learnings and Strategies from the Joetsu University of Education” in a lecture on 3 February 2012 at the STTC auditorium. The 28th in the series, the lecture is the first lecture for 2012.

Dr. Tokita started his lecture stating that in Japan, national universities having been recently transformed into corporations have the function of contributing to local development. As such, their programs must bring about local progress in regions where they are located, in aspects that include not only education but also economy, historical and cultural heritage, sports, and healthcare. According to him, JUE’s core contribution to regional development is achieved through teacher training, in particular, through initiatives at the graduate school (master’s and PhD programs). Dr. Tokita then spoke at length about the Core Science Teacher Training Program (CST), a collaborative project between JUE and the Prefectural Education Board (PEB). Key points in the presentation included:
  • The training curriculum is jointly designed by the university and the PEB consistent with local development goals.
  • The program provides re-training of in-service teachers within and outside the prefecture with the aim of equipping them with high-level capabilities for specialized practice.
  • Local PEB selects five teachers from cities and municipalities within the prefecture for admission to a two-year master’s degree program with their salaries for two years already guaranteed.
  • In addition to coursework in the university, teacher-trainees complete on-the-job training and experiments at the Niigata education center, 12 local science education centers, museums and public education facilities, and cooperating schools.
  • After completion of the graduate program, these teachers return to the schools in the original region that dispatched them and reengage in the teaching profession, already equipped with high-level competencies in research and instruction as well as the ability to deal quickly and effectively with various problems and phenomena in school education in their respective regions.

Professors from the Philippine Normal University, teachers from Old Balara Elementary School, NISMED staff and consultants, and other science educators were among the audience.

Organized in honor of UP NISMED’s founder Dr. Dolores F. Hernandez, the lecture series aims to disseminate information on current trends, development, and research findings in science and mathematics education.