Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group

Short news from Japan: Foundation of ‘Japanese Society for the Study of Basic Education and Literacies’ by Tomoya Iwatsuki (Kyoto Women’s University)

In August 2016, we founded the Japanese Society for the Study of Basic Education and Literacies. Its mission is to develop research and practices in basic education and literacies and to offer policy proposals to local governments and the central one. About 200 learners, practitioners, policy makers, researchers and people involved in the media throughout the country took part in the foundation meeting and discussed research on literacy, methods and policies of basic education and other matters of national concern. We were delighted that the Permanent Secretary of Education delivered a congratulatory address which emphasized the need for a guarantee of basic education from the perspective of a guarantee of the right to education as a constitutional one.

Now in Japan a slightly bigger policy change in adult basic education is taking place. Japan’s bicameral legislature are introducing a bill that expands provision of night junior high schools and alternative schools for people who could not receive compulsory education fully. Therefore, we are going to continue to reinforce our campaign for establishing the national policy on adult basic education on the basis of learner-centred research and practices.

The key activities of our society are the following:
1.      Carrying out joint research of researchers and practitioners (building a national network of researchers and practitioners).
2.      Building an archive of the educational materials which have been used in the literacy classrooms of all areas of the country.
3.      Carrying out a longitudinal and in-depth nationwide survey of literacy.
4.      Promoting cooperation with foreign organizations which work in the field of basic education and literacies.

We think RaPAL is one of the most suitable models for our society and look forward to exchanging experiences with each other in the near future.

*The author (Tomoya Iwatsuki) is a professor of adult and community education at Kyoto Women’s University and also a member of RaPAL. In 2010, I was visiting research fellow at Lancaster Literacy Research Centre.

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