Day 2 of the G7 Education Minister’s Meeting in Toyama and Kanazawa began with an Opening Session attended by the Heads of Delegations(HODs) of all participating nations and organizations.
In the opening address, MEXT Minister NAGAOKA Keiko explained this was the first time in seven years for Japan to host the meeting. The following topics were proposed and adopted by the end of the session.
Overall Theme: Education after COVID-19 pandemic
- The role of schools in the society after the COVID-19 pandemic
-Education that unlocks the potential of all children
-Fostering learners to adapt to social changes and global challenges
- Re-connecting the World: The Role of International Education Exchange by all persons involved
Narrative by four participants related to the theme of the meeting
At the opening session, presentations on individual and hands-on experiences were made on the four relevant themes of the meeting.
Elementary school teacher from Toyama Prefecture
“On the modality of schools in the post-corona era”
Presentation by MORIYAMA Rena, now a nursing school student following her years attending school for the deaf
“Education that brings out all children’s possibilities.
IZUMO Mitsuru, President of Euglena Co., Ltd.
“Fostering human resources that create growth by using innovation to solve social issues”
ISHIRUGO Ayumi, natural science major at Kanazawa University Graduate School
“Globalization of education and its future role following changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic
Keynote presentations by HODs
Keynote presentations were then made by Italy, Canada, France, US, UK, Germany, and the EU. UNESCO and the OECD also offered words as observers.
The HODs shared their experiences on the pandemic and what they realized was the fundamental value of education. They also discussed education that fosters human resources with the necessary qualities and knowledge needed for future society and utilizing digital resources in education to realize children’s well-being based on each country’s social and cultural backgrounds. At the minister’s session that followed, the issues, future visions, and country case studies shared were discussed. The details of this session will be provided in another article.
Keynote presentations were made by the following HODs.
Children’s Summit Declaration by Junior High School Students in Toyama and Kanazawa
Among the highlights of the day was a presentation by 10 students representing junior high schools in Toyama and Kanazawa Prefectures on the Children’s Summit Declaration. A Q&A session with the students and ministers followed.
The Governor of Toyama Prefecture, NITTA Hachiro, opened the session. The students made their presentation in English, on the Summit Declaration that was drafted based on discussions following the 2023 Children’s Summit this March.
1. We will possess dreams and goals and make best use of our strengths and possibilities
2. We will accept diversity, and understand and respect others
3. We will create towns and cities that are easy to live in and that all people can be proud of
4. We will realize a sustainable and happy society
5. We will pass on the baton for a bright future 100 years from now
There was also strong mention of the importance of not just making declarations, but for individuals to have a wide perspective and to take action.
In the Q&A session, the students explained the difficulties they experienced during the pandemic including having to wear facemasks at school, their future dreams, their efforts in summarizing the declaration, and their expectations towards the ministers. The ten students actively raised their hands, and boldly expressed their views.
While facing difficulties communicating in a masking society, the students said they were also able to deepen their understanding through virtual classes and studying using tablet computers. The students also said using online chats created stronger bonds, and some even said they wanted to become educators in the future to help create a sustainable society.
Near the end of the Q&A session, Minister Nagaoka said she was impressed to see the students actively responding to the minister’s questions and has high expectations for them to become future leaders of Japan.
The session was closed with a commemorative photo session with the students and ministers.
Opening Session followed by a luncheon
At the luncheon, the Japanese meal included an array of fresh fish caught from Toyama Bay, Himi beef and freshy picked local vegetables.
After lunch, the ministers attended their respective bilateral meetings followed by the education ministers’ meeting session.