Friday, 16 October 2009

High school tuition

The recent national election has changed the party in power for the first time since the war. ( Although there was  a brief coalition govt about 15 years ago, it wasn't a majority goverment and didn't last last long.) The recent elections though represent a sea change from the LPD which was pro-US, pro construction and pro farming.  The LDP had their power bases in the regions, and while they handed out a lot of money there they haven't done that much to help the regions become self reliant or helped them adapt to being part of a global economy.  
The new DPJ  government is very inexperienced - obviously since they are new - though some MPs have previously belonged to the LDP.  They are getting a lot of flack for being populist.  In some cases its a fair charge making expressways free seems counter productive on many fronts.
Another change they have committed to is making high school education free.  At  present junior high school (years 7-9)  tuition is free, however for high school students have to pay I think around 150,000 dollars a year.  (About 1,800AUD/a).  Students drop out of high school because they can't afford it.  It's a travesty befitting economies of 80 years ago.  For a country like Japan, where manual labour jobs have decreased significantly, it's unbelievable that some people aren't getting high school education because they can't afford it.

Today in Ginza there was a rally of sorts of high school students, and principals , that were calling for free tuition. Good on them! It's positive to see students politicised and believing that they can influence govt. policy. I hope the govt. comes good on their promise ASAP.