Aspirations and Dreams for A Better Deaf Education

from May 2004 Issue of Japanese Deaf News, JFD’s monthly newspaper:

Every year, schools throughout the country employ new teachers to prepare for the new school year (which begins on April 1 in Japan). A survey has revealed that this year, at least 12 Deaf teachers have been employed by the public education system to teach in Deaf schools throughout Japan. It is the first time in history that over 10 Deaf teachers were newly hired in a single year.

12 New Deaf Teachers to Start Teaching in Deaf Schools

The big news is that Deaf teachers have been employed for the first time by 6 prefectures: Iwate, Nagano, Yamanashi, Gifu, Miyazaki, and Nagasaki. Aichi Prefecture has also hired a Deaf teacher for the first time in 70 years. On the island of Kyushu, Deaf teachers specializing in Physical Education and English have been employed.

Besides the full-time teaching staff, 30 other Deaf employees have been hired by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) as part-time lecturers, assistant teachers, assistants for lab work and practical training, boarding school counselors, etc.

A Ray of Hope in the Dark Night

Comment by Mr. George Sakagami, Manager of the Education Section of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf:

Today, MEXT is promoting a new Education Reform Plan, under which a new Special Support Education system will be introduced. This new system gives little consideration to the communication needs of Deaf children and students. Therefore, the news that more and more new Deaf teachers are being employed is like a ray of hope shining in the dark night. Of course, the fact that they are Deaf does not guarantee that they are fluent in Sign Language. In future, I look forward to the increase in the number of Deaf teachers who are also fluent signers.

10 New Deaf Teachers (who consented to have their photographs introduced):

Ms. Chiemi Abe Mr. Kiyoshi Oikawa Ms Asami Sugawara Mr. Hironori Chishima Ms. Kie Furuya
Ms. Yoshino Asai Mr. Hiroshi Suzumura Ms. Sakiko Matsuda Mr. Suminari Nagaoka Ms. Shoko Yamamoto
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