Hopes and challenges for progressive educators in Japan: assessment of the ‘progressive turn' in the 2002 educational reform
A variety of perspectives exist on the evaluation of Japan's educational reform of 2002, which has evolved since the 1980s. However, thus far, little attention has been paid to the emerging influence of civil society on educational policies and practices. This paper shows that the origin of the current educational reforms can be traced to reports prepared by various neo‐liberal/conservative business leaders and politicians. Further, it shows their privatization and decentralization principles happen to coincide with the increasing interest of progressive citizens' groups and educators. Their impact on the Japanese education system remains latent, especially as more scepticism grows towards progressivism as a philosophy behind the current educational reform. However, the expanding civil society and new progressive education movements in Japan are trends worth exploring in the context of globalization at the grass‐roots level.
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