More geography, history may be taught in Japan's schools

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Primary school students may have to rote-learn more key geographical facts and study more history in a proposal expected soon from a special committee of the Central Council for Education as part of revisions to the education ministry's official curriculum guidelines planned for the next school year, it has been learned.

The current primary school social studies curriculum does not clearly state what should be taught in geography lessons.

However, under the new proposal, students would have to remember the names and locations of all 47 prefectures, major countries, seas, oceans and continents along with other important geographical facts.

Students are currently taught Japanese history from the Yayoi period (ca 300 B.C.-ca A.D. 300) onward, but would study further back to the Jomon period (ca 10,000 B.C.-ca 300 B.C.) under the committee's plan, allowing them to learn about the beginnings of agriculture, which currently is not included.

The proposal is being seen by many as part of the move away from cram-free education policies.

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