The 21st Century COE Program

Center for Research of Core Academic Competences (CRCAC)


 Individual knowledge and skills assume primary importance in the social and economic development of societies in this global, knowledge-based age. However, in many societies, student motivation is said to be weakening and school education seems unable to meet the challenges of continuing social and economic change. Moreover, in Japan as well as other nations, maintaining former standards of academic achievement levels has become an increasingly difficult endeavor. The situation is further complicated by the lack of social consensus on what constitutes newly required academic competence.

 Japan shares these educational and social concerns with other OECD member nations. Establishing a definition for new academic competences and creating an educational structure to nurture these competences is a pressing issue in Japan. Universities and researchers are accepting this challenge. Through the analysis and dissemination of research, education researchers hope to present a clear vision of the content of the new core academic competencies, and propose ways in which schools can help children can acquire these competencies.

 Against this background, the Graduate School of Education, University of Tokyo has established the Center for Research of Core Academic Competences (CRCAC) under the framework of The 21st Century COE Program of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology (MEXT). CRCAC is a faculty effort that addresses the issue of rebuilding educational systems to nurture core academic competences. With this goal in mind, teaching staff at the Graduate School of Education of The University of Tokyo (Center staff members) and COE researchers are working together in close partnership with school teachers and boards of education nationwide, and with foreign researchers as well.

 The CRCAC is currently engaged in nine separate projects. These projects adopt an array of approaches such as extensive surveys on the actual situation of childrens` core academic competences, action research projects, international comparative studies, and theoretical investigations. We believe that it is essential to accumulate a wide array of perspectives from a variety of research genres in an effort to reform the current education system and promote the acquisition of core academic competencies.