SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English
XIE Zhihai “The Governmental GoTo Campaign” -GoTo School, rather than GoTo Travel-
I came across a blog which was written by a mother who has a daughter as first year college student. I do not know her, but her tweet weighed heavily on my mind and made me think variously. Her daughter entered college this spring, but she has never passed through college gate. Despite she is in second semester now, she is passing her time as if it is usual to stay home. Amid such circumstance, her mother received a transfer slip for tuition for the second year. She ended her tweets saying that “it’s OK GoTo Travel. But please do something for GoTo School.”
I think this tweet are real cry of parents who have children who cannot go to school and this gives indescribable bitter feeling. I wrote before in “kawaraban” that college must be the place which can offer chances to students no matter what happens. If we compare the present with one year before, I am worried about decrease of their studying time. As to teachers, they require more work than last year to prepare for their teaching and time to upload their lectures. However, it would be meaningless if parents, payers of tuition, and students cannot understand such efforts. Early popularity of on-line classes is welcomed. But there is a limit. President of Waseda University Aiji Tanaka wrote in the Weekly Magazine “Economist” on October 13, 2020 “Society at present want such human resource as tough intellectuals and flexible feelings. Tough intellectuals can learn 70% by on- line. But it will be impossible to learn flexible feeling by on-line.”
Students cannot go to school and lose time not studying are not limited. Educational circumstances and studying time this year has brought worriedness in educating students, high-school students and students of all over the world. UK magazine “Economist” worried in their issue of July 18, 2020 that children who cannot go to school due to the COVID-19 pandemic are damaged greatly. For example, they warned possibilities of domestic abuses, malnutrition and low mental health. They pointed out how loss of learning opportunities would affect future economy saying that “according to the World Bank, in case the school closes due to the COVID-19 the loss will be 10 trillion Dollars”.
When I read this estimate of the World Bank, I remember the words first in mother’s blog (mentioned above) “GoTo School! rather than GoTo Travel”. It is said that birthrate is declining in Japan. I think the Government must establish sustainable economic policy forecasting future, rather than covering immediate economy. Everybody in Japan now know the words “GoTo Travel” which did not exist in this spring. If so, I hope the Government would establish another policy which can make up for delay of educational chances for students.
Recently, the Ministry of Education announced emergency handout to university students and subvention to universities. For example, the University of Tokyo and Waseda University paid 50 thousand yen and 100 thousand yen per person respectively to students who are in financial difficulties in order to prevent withdrawal from Universities. Of course, it is important to prevent withdrawal from school. But at this moment, opportunities of going to school are decreasing and lessons are done by “on-line”. If we can offer exciting teaching or program and students are satisfied with their selection for their Universities, they will never think of “withdrawal from school”. According to another survey, difference of annual income between University graduates and high school graduates is more than one million yen. Considering such situations, students will leave University because of financial difficulties, it would be necessary to have measures against tolerization for registered absence or giving a chance to return to school.
We must establish such measures speedily and eagerly like “GoTo School”. Severe winter is coming. However COVID-19 will increase or decrease this winter, I hope every student, who are going to school, can get chances of studying before a year 2019 or more.
I like to initiate educational fields and will do my best keeping that in mind.
XIE_Zhihai / Associate Professor, Kyoai Gakuen University
SGRA Kawaraban 655 in Japanese (Original)
Translated by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sabina Koirala