Saturday, December 20, 2014

Striking Degradation in Education Environment: What's happening in schools in Fukushima?

Futaba-gun County of Fukushima Prefecture is located within 30 km distance from the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant. The residents had to evacuate after the devastating accident of March 2011. All the elementary and junior high schools in the county were closed then. When schools were reopened later either at the original schools or in the municipalities where the town/village offices moved to, only about 10% of children returned: Before the nuclear accident, a total of 6397 pupils were attending schools in 8 municipalities of the county, but only 657 returned to the reopened schools. Schools in Kawauchi-mura Village and Hirono-machi Town were reopened with the original buildings, but in other 6 municipalities, classes are still held in make-shift buildings  on premises of closed factories,  prefabricated buildings build beside damaged original school buildings or buildings of old schools that had been closed for some time before the accident. Children attending these schools are left in extraordinary poor education environment.  The teachers' union of Fukushima Prefecture is making much efforts to improve working conditions and education environments of schools in Fukushima, particularly those in Hamadori, the region closest to the crippled nuclear power plant. One of the executive committee members is responsible for issues related to the nuclear disaster. (By YUMOTO Masanori. Yomoto interviewed HINO Akira, the executive committee member of Fukushima Teachers' Union in charge of nuclear disaster related issues on Dec. 5. ) 
 Photo: HINO Akira


福 島県双葉郡は、福島第1原発か20km、30km圏にあり、震災後は避難を強いられた地域である。郡内の小中学校は、震災直後は休校を余儀なくされた。そ の後は、役場機能が移転した先等で次々に開校した。再開後の児童、生徒数は8町村合計657名(震災前6397名)である。しかし学校再開といっても元の 学校での開校は8町村中川内村と広野町のみであり、ほかの町村では工場跡地利用、プレハブ校舎、廃校の跡地利用となり教育環境が著しく低下した中での開校 となっている。また、再開後の学校に戻った児童生徒数は、震災直前の1割程度となっている。福島県教職員組合では特別執行委員として「原発災害対策担当」 を置き、原発に至近距離の福島県浜通りの学校の労働条件、教育環境の改善に取り組んでいる。今回、原発災害対策担当の日野彰さん(写真)に双葉郡の学校の 現状を聞いた。(湯本雅典) 報告動画(YouTube 4分)

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