Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 28

Shocking! Social media outrage over Class IV textbook asking students to ‘kill kitten’ as experiment


A book for environmental studies titled Our Green World, while trying to educate the students the importance of breathing, asks children to suffocate a cat to death!


The Class IV textbook tries to teaches that air is needed for living things to breathe and survive through the absurd experiment. (Source: Lola Kuttiamma/Twitter)


In the recent past, the content in many textbooks has raised serious concerns about what schoolchildren are being taught these days. Only recently, a Class XII Social Science textbook – published and circulated by the Maharashtra State Board authority – said that a man’s family may demand high dowry, particularly when the girl is ‘ugly’ or ‘handicapped’. The images of the textbook were circulated online raising a huge furore on how are these statements still making their way to educational books.

While we were yet to get over the shocker, another image of an equally – of not more – ridiculous piece of text has appeared online. A Class IV book for Environmental Studies titled Our Green World, while educating students on the importance of breathing, gives a practical example that shows how children can suffocate a cat to death!

Yes, the book part of a curriculum in a Delhi school tries to explain through an experiment that “living things breathe” and “living things need air to breathe”.

The book reads, “no living thing can live without air for more than a few minutes.” And to explain this with an actual experiment the book says, “You can do an experiment” and asks children to put a small kittens in two wooden boxes each and cover with lids, one with holes and one without. The obvious outcome of the experiment is that “the kitten inside the box without holes has died”. All this with a living being just to teach children that living beings cannot survive without breathing.

So, basically, instead of creating awareness about environment and conservation, it is indirectly teaching young children to kill another living being!

Full story at The Indian Express (February 2017)



Nationalist Osaka preschool draws heat for distributing slurs against Koreans and Chinese


A handwritten letter distributed to a parent by the deputy principal of Tsukamoto Kindergarten in February last year says, 'I don't discriminate. But in my mind, I hate Koreans and Chinese.' | KYODO


OSAKA – The managers of a kindergarten in the city of Osaka that handed parents copies of a statement slurring Korean residents of Japan and Chinese people have been questioned on suspicion of spreading hate speech, prefectural officials said Thursday.

The statement, distributed by Tsukamoto Kindergarten in Yodogawa Ward, described Korean residents and Chinese people as those with “wicked ideas,” calling the latter shinajin, a derogatory term for Chinese.

A prefectural official questioned the Principal Yasunori Kagoike and his wife, the deputy principal, on Jan. 12 after local officials were tipped off by one of the parents in December. Kagoike is also the head of Moritomo Gakuen, which runs the kindergarten.

While admitting to distributing the derogatory papers, Kagoike declined to explain his reasons for doing so, citing a pending lawsuit, according to the Osaka Prefectural Government.

The letter, however, is apparently just one of many incidents pointing to the pair’s nationalist and even racist leanings.

A separate pamphlet distributed to parents in December and obtained by Kyodo News read, “The problem is that people who have inherited the spirit (of Koreans) exist in our country with the looks of Japanese people.”

Kagoike is also said to have highlighted “the uniformity of the Japanese race” in a separate letter to the parents.

In February last year, a parent in her 30s received a handwritten letter from the deputy principal that bluntly said, “I don’t discriminate. But in my mind, I hate Koreans and Chinese.”

The woman, who is ethnically Korean but a naturalized Japanese, pulled her child from the school several days later.

Kagoike recently said his kindergarten, which is known for making its pupils memorize the Imperial Rescript on Education — an 1890 edict that was used to promote militaristic education during World War II — is “treating every country equally.”

Full story at The Japan Times (February 2017)



Japan PM's wife cuts ties with school at heart of political furor


The construction site for an elementary school of Moritomo Gakuen, an educational institution, is seen in Toyonaka, Osaka, Japan February 18, 2017, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Picture taken February 18, 2017. Kyodo/via REUTERS


By Kaori Kaneko And Linda Sieg | Tokyo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife has cut ties with an elementary school involved in a land deal that provoked opposition questions just as the Japanese leader was basking in the glow of a friendly summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Abe has said neither he nor his wife, Akie, was involved in a murky deal for the purchase of state-owned land by Moritomo Gakuen, an educational body in the western city of Osaka that also runs a kindergarten promoting patriotism.

The affair has energized the often-floundering opposition, offering a reminder of the unexpected pitfalls that could still emerge for Abe's seemingly stable rule, now in its fifth year.

Abe, grilled about the purchase of the land at a rock-bottom price, said on Friday his wife would scrap a plan to become honorary principal of an elementary school the institution will open in April.

Last year, Moritomo Gakuen paid 134 million yen ($1.2 million), or 14 percent of the appraisal price, for an 8,770-sq-m (94,400-square-foot) plot on which to build the elementary school, official data show.

The difference reflects the cost of waste cleanup at the site, officials have said. Finance Minister Taro Aso told parliament this week there were no problems with the deal.

Abe said his wife had tried to refuse the role as honorary principal, and only accepted after it was announced to parents.

"Despite this, she decided that it would be detrimental for both the students and the parents if she continued, and so she told them she would resign," he added.

OPPOSITION ENERGIZED

The institution's president, Yasunori Kagoike, heads the Osaka branch of Nippon Kaigi, or Japan Conference, a nationalist lobby group with close ties to Abe and his cabinet.

On the school's website, Akie had said: "I was impressed by Mr. Kagoike's passion for education and have assumed the post of honorary principal."

Abe said the comments were removed from the website on Thursday at his wife's request.

Abe reiterated that he had declined to let his name be used when Moritomo Gakuen sought donations for what it called the "Abe Shinzo Memorial Elementary School".

He has also denied that either he or his wife was involved in obtaining approval for the school, or in the land acquisition, saying last Friday that he would resign if evidence to the contrary were found.

Full story at Reuters (Febuary 2017)



Labour Party's policy on schools giving shadow education secretary Angela Rayner 'sleepless nights'


Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has had sleepless nights over the Labour Party's education policies Credit: PA Wire


By Camilla Turner


The Labour Party lacks coherent policies on education, the Shadow Secretary has admitted, as she revealed that she has suffered "sleepless nights" worrying about it since her appointment to the shadow cabinet last July.

Angela Rayner MP, a staunch supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, hinted at her frustration with the Labour leader who has failed to outline in any detail how the Party will reform the sector.

After delivering a keynote address to head teachers at the Association of School and College Lecturers annual conference today, Ms Rayner was asked: “When will the opposition party present a coherent vision and policy on education for this country?”

The shadow education secretary has been touted as a possible future Labour Party leader Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images


“Jeremy talked about a national education service and I truly believe that that’s what we need... building and weaving that national education is something that’s truly important to me.”

She added that Labour needs to develop a “cradle-to-grave lifelong learning policy”.

The most substantial policy to have been announced by the Labour Party since Corbyn’s election to the leadership a year and a half ago is what he calls the “national education service”, but few details about the policy or how it will be implemented have since emerged. He has also pledged and arts pupil premium.

Full story at The Telegraph (March 2017)

Headteachers write to parents over school funding and job cuts


Families urged to lobby MPs to fight controversial new plans that will see London and other urban areas lose out


Schools in London and other urban areas are set to lose out to rural and coastal towns. Photograph: Gideon Mendel/Corbis/Getty


By Sally Weale And Sarah Marsh


Headteachers are writing to parents highlighting the budget crisis facing their schools and warning that teachers’ jobs will be cut under the government’s school funding plans for England.

The letters, sent out to parents in the run-up to the budget on Wednesday, are part of an increasingly organised campaign against the revised national funding formula in which schools in London and other urban areas will lose out to rural and coastal towns.

Families are being urged to lobby their MPs, write to ministers and attend local meetings to fight the changes, which coincide with a growing crisis in overall education funding, with schools being asked to find savings of £3bn.

“Please realise doing nothing and changing nothing will mean a vastly reduced education system for all children and, I for one, am not prepared to let this happen on my watch without causing a serious fuss,” Helen Williamson, headteacher of Billingshurst primary school in West Sussex wrote.

“Please join me in expressing that very loud and clear to those who have the power to give us the resources to ensure a world-class education system that has every child equally at its heart.

“We have far fewer teaching assistants, fewer teachers, fewer interventions to support children’s learning, fewer leaders to support staff, children and families, fewer books, IT resources and vastly reduced capacity to ensure that all children’s needs are met, especially those with a special educational need.”

Full story at The Guardian (March 2017)