Education and Social Class in the UK and Japan

29 January 2013

6:00 – 7:30pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:30pm

13/14 Cornwall Terrace (Outer Circle), London NW1 4QP

Organised by Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation

According to UNICEF, 12.1% of children in the UK are living in poverty, while the figure for Japan is 14.9% (Innocenti Report Card 10, May 2012). Since this report was produced, the economic situation has, if anything, deteriorated in both countries.  Inequality and social exclusion have become concerns again, and in a time of austerity for both the government and parents, the role of education needs reconsidering. Can education contribute to better social mobility? Are working-class groups still under-represented in higher education, and if so, why? Although higher education has become more inclusive in both countries in recent decades, if investing in education does not necessarily guarantee a job, then what is the incentive for young people to aspire to go to university? Professor Robert Cassen of LSE will look at social exclusion and education, and at government policies aimed at making life chances more equal, in pre-school, primary and secondary education. Issues of gender and ethnicity will also be explored. Professor Takehiko Kariya of Oxford University will analyse a new educational selection mechanism that has contributed to rising disparity in learning motivations after Japan’s education reforms in the 1990s, and will offer important insights for understanding similar problems in other countries.

Robert Cassen

Robert Cassen is Visiting Professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics. He held his first post at LSE in 1961, and subsequently was a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, and Director of Queen Elizabeth House and Professor of Development Economics at Oxford. He also served on the staff of the UK Department for International Development, the British High Commission in New Delhi, the World Bank, and the Brandt Commission. His books include Does Aid Work? (with associates, Oxford University Press, 1994); with Tim Dyson and Leela Visaria,  21st Century, India: Population, Economy, Human Development and the Environment (Oxford University Press, 2004); and with Geeta Kingdon, Tackling Low Educational Achievement: a Report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2007. In 2008 he received an OBE for services to education. He is currently working on a new book, with Anna Vignoles and Sandra McNally:Making a Difference: What Works in Education and What Doesn’t, to be published by Routledge in 2014.

Takehiko Kariya

Takehiko Kariya is a Professor in the Sociology of Japanese Society, at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and the Department of Sociology, University of Oxford and he is a Faculty Fellow of St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. His research interests include the sociology of education, social stratification, school- to-work transition, educational and social policies, and social changes in postwar Japan. Before he joined Oxford University, he had taught sociology of education at the Graduate School of Education, University of Tokyo for 18 years. He is co-editor of Challenges to Japanese Education: Economics, Reforms, and Human Rights (Teachers College Press, 2010), the author of Education Reform and Social Class in Japan (Routledge, 2012) and Japanese Education and Society in Transition: A Sociology of Education Reforms, Opportunities and Mass Education during the Lost Decades (Routledge, forthcoming), and he has published more than 20 books in Japanese.

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The Future of Education in the UK and Japan

This fourth seminar in the 2011 series, Uncertain Futures: The Individual, Society and the State in the UK and Japan, will consider the role of education in society and the pressures of adapting education policy to changing needs. The ebb and flow of educational reforms in past decades has seen British and Japanese models held up for scrutiny or emulation. Individualism, internationalization and the information age have, at different times, informed debates on ideology and practice. Our speakers will explore such topics as ‘the tyranny of exams’ and education for employability in determining to what extent economic necessity may determine the priorities of the future. The discussion will focus upon core values in education and aspirations for children, families and schools in the UK and Japan.

Contributors

Dr Anthony Seldon

Anthony Seldon is a political historian and commentator on British political leadership as well as on education and contemporary Britain. He is also Master of Wellington College, one of Britain’s most famous and historic independent schools and was co-founder and first Director of the Institute of Contemporary British History. Dr Seldon is author or editor of some 25 books, including Brown at 10, a biography of Gordon Brown (2010), ‘Trust: How We Lost It and How to Get It Back’ (2009), ‘Blair’s Britain, 1994-2007’ and ‘Blair Unbound, 2001-2007’ (with Peter Snowdon)(2007). He has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Brighton and Richmond and in 2007 was given a Chair at the College of Teachers as Professor of Education. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Arts. Dr Seldon is regarded as one of the country’s most high profile independent school headmasters and appears regularly on television and radio and in the press, and writes for several national newspapers. His views on education have regularly been sought by both government and political parties.

Professor Roger Goodman

Roger Goodman is Nissan Professor of Modern Japanese Studies at the University of Oxford where he has been Head of the Social Sciences Division since 2008. His publications include ‘Japan’s International Youth: The Emergence of a New Class of Schoolchildren’ (1990) and ‘Children of the Japanese State: The Changing Role of Child Protection Institutions in Contemporary Japan’ (2000) both of which have also been published in Japanese versions. He has also edited or co-edited a further eleven books including ‘The East Asian Welfare Model: Welfare Orientalism and the State’ (1998); ‘Family and Social Policy in Japan’ (2002); ‘Can the Japanese Change their Education System?’ (2002); ‘Global Japan: The Experience of Japan’s New Immigrant and Overseas Communities’ (2003), ‘The ‘Big Bang’ in Japanese Higher Education: The 2004 Reforms and the Dynamics of Change’ (2005), ‘Ageing in Asia: Asia’s Position in the New Global Demography’ (2007) and ‘A Sociology of Japanese Youth Problems: From Returnees to NEETs’ (forthcoming, 2011). His main research interests are in the education and social welfare systems of modern Japan.

Baroness Estelle Morris (Chair)

The Baroness Morris of Yardley started her career in education as a teacher in an inner city multi-racial comprehensive school where she taught for 18 years. In 1992 she entered Parliament and in 2001 became the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. She followed this with 2 years as a Minister at the Department of Culture Media and Sport and left Parliament in 2005. Since then she has combined a career that includes senior posts both in education and the arts as well as being a member of the House of Lords. Her roles in education have allowed her to see the education landscape from classroom teacher to senior policy maker and it is this breadth of experience that is now reflected in her comments and analysis of education. Amongst other posts she now works at the Institute of Effective Education at the University of York which aims to transform the relationship between education research and practice so that policy making and teaching can become more evidence based. She is a regular contributor to Guardian Education.

24 May 2011

6:00 – 7:00pm, followed by a drinks reception to 8:00pm

Daiwa Foundation Japan House

Organised by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

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