The government is aiming to provide every student in elementary, junior high and high school across the country with a computer, such as a laptop or tablet, within the next five years, government officials said.
The government plans to release a road map for the project by the end of this fiscal year, which will also allow students to bring their own computers to school. The project was included in a report submitted to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday by the Council for the Promotion of Regulatory Reform.
The government plans to include the project in its growth strategy, which will be decided by the end of this month.
The council report urges the government to take comprehensive measures to ensure that digital technology is used at all elementary, junior high and high schools within five years.
The report also urges the government to draw up a road map for the measures by the end of this fiscal year and to include in it a timetable for the one-computer-per-student project.
According to a survey by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, there was only one computer for educational purposes for every 5.6 students at public elementary, junior high and high schools as of March 2018.
The government previously set a goal of installing one computer per every three or so students between fiscal 2018 and 2022. The new goal of one computer for every student is meant to accelerate the pace of introducing information and communications technology into schools.
The ministry will urge local governments to assess the extent to which schools in their jurisdictional areas are equipped with personal computers and release the results. The ministry will also urge local governments to draw up a plan to achieve the goal.
The ministry plans to create an environment in which local governments can purchase the necessary equipment at low cost through the use of inexpensive secondhand computers or joint purchases by local government groups, among others.
By ensuring the one-computer-per-student policy, the government aims to ensure people can make full use of digital devices from a young age. As technological innovations such as artificial intelligence are advancing rapidly, the government is set to take steps to nurture children’s ability to utilize information technology, such as through computer programming training.
The use of tablets and other digital devices will make it possible to collect data on things that students struggle with, making it easier to provide them with individualized teaching according to their level of understanding. It will also make it easier to use digital textbooks and video materials, which are expected to improve the quality of education.