From February to November 2020, the Japan NGO Network for Education (JNNE), a coalition of Japanese NGOs working in the field of international educational cooperation, organized an annual SDG 4 campaign. This year, the campaign consisted of three phases.
First, the JNNE sent a questionnaire to all political parties regarding Japanese government’s policy on SDG 4, asking four questions on domestic education and three questions on global education including Japan’s contribution to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
Wide agreement from all respondents to increase education funding
The questions on domestic education were about:
- the right to education of children of migrant workers and illiterate adults,
- inclusive education for persons with disabilities,
- gender equality in education,
- bullying and violence at school,
- truant children,
- Japan’s public expenditure in education, which is the lowest among OECD member states in terms of GDP ratio. This leads to deteriorating working conditions for teachers.
All seven parties, two ruling parties and five opponents, responded to the questionnaire. Thanks to the campaign, a Member of Parliament raised a question about the education budget at the education committee of the House of Representatives. She stated that all parties were in agreement to increase the education budget to the same level as the OECD average (GDP ratio), quoting the results of the questionnaire.
Responses to the questions on international issues are also quite encouraging. For instance, all seven parties replied “Yes” to the first question on whether Japan should increase its official development assistance (ODA), adding comments on why they replied so.
Furthermore, six parties replied “Yes” to the second question on whether they agreed that Japan should increase its allocation of bilateral aid to basic and secondary education. Only one party responded that they cannot say yes or no because there are many issues to be addressed by ODA.
Lastly, six parties replied “Yes” to the third question on whether Japan should contribute more to GPE and Education Cannot Wait (ECW). One party responded that they cannot say yes or no because characteristics and strength of multilateral agencies need to be examined. Responses to each question of all parties have been uploaded on JNNE’s website.