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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 November 15 - 21  > Livelihood assistance program obstructs recipient children’s path to higher education
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2017 November 15 - 21 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Livelihood assistance program obstructs recipient children’s path to higher education

November 16, 2017
Under Japan’s public assistance program, recipient families will suffer cuts in social protection benefits if their children go to universities, vocational schools, or other higher education institutions. This is because the government position stipulates that children in families on public assistance should find a job immediately after completing secondary education.

Arakawa Mikio, 56, lives in Saitama City (Saitama Pref.) on welfare assistance with his wife and three daughters. His second daughter went to a childcare college. After her entry into the college, monthly welfare payments to the family was reduced by more than 38,000 yen.

The Welfare Ministry data shows that in 2016 the percentage of students who go onto tertiary schools, including universities and junior colleges, from families on welfare stood at 33.1%, almost half of that of students in ordinary households. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations in its statement which was published in October this year stated that the Welfare Ministry’s welfare benefit reduction policy discourages youth in recipient families from entering higher education.

Social Welfare Professor at the Zen Buddhist Hanazono University Yoshinaga Atsushi pointed out that the percentage of senior high school students who seek employment after graduation is only 30%, casting a critical eye on the ministry policy.

Yoshinaga said, “The current welfare program allows welfare recipients to purchase comparatively high-priced durable goods if 70% of Japanese families possess such goods. From that point of view, children’s dream of obtaining a college education should be supported.” In the above-mentioned ministry data, 73.2% of senior high students in ordinary families entered into higher education.

The professor stressed, “The welfare assistance program should be revised to one enabling children to receive tertiary education in order to break the poverty chain.” The JFBA in its statement also stated that workers with higher levels of education usually earn more during their working lives than workers with less education.

Past related article:
> Poverty influences children’s educational access [July 20, 2017]
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