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Brief history

April 2004
Established in the Otsuka district, Tokyo campus of the University of Tsukuba as an on-campus joint education research organization.

July 2004
Launch of the Special Needs Education Research Center, University of Tsukuba. (3 professors and 2 teachers).

April 2005
System restructured to consist of 3 professors and 5 teachers The SNERC, began its "the traning programs for practing teachers (long-term)".

April 2008
System restructured to consist of 3 professors, 1 assistant professor, and 5 teachers.


Overview and mission
According to the final report on the future direction of special support education issued by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (March 2003), proposals were made to create a new system to meet the individual education needs of disabled students, and to rebuild the existing system. The future "special support education system" will be linked to the Basic Plan for the Disabled promulgated by the Cabinet in December 2002, the Developmentally Disable Support Law enacted inn December 2004, and other measures to develop an integrated counseling support system for disabled children from infancy to the time they graduate from school. It also stresses the development of a comprehensive support system for disabled children in the regular schools.
The Special Needs Education Research Center is the largest research organization in Japan devoted to the study of physically and mentally disabled. It forms the foundation for research and practices related to education at affiliated schools of the University of Tsukuba that deal with five types of special needs education : blindness, hearing loss, immobility, intellectual impairment, and autism. It was established to serve as a focus for special support education to meet the social demands that are expected to occur during this major system transformation.
Educational activities and features
The Center organically strengthens and unifies the collaborative activities among the departments of the university working with the physically and mentally disabled, the Education Bureau of the Laboratory Schools, and the affiliated schools. It also performs the following roles related to disabled education to "Continue, Develop and Disseminate Specialization," "Enhance Functionality as a Centre," and so on.

(1) Research and development functions
The Center deals with a wide range of research both inside and outside the schools, including center strategic planning, establishing linkages with affiliated schools for the disabled, and procuring outside funding (Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Reseach by JSPS, Cooperation Bases System by MEXT, and so on).
(2) Teacher training functions
The Center holds public lectures related to licensing and certification, provides comprehensive, highquality lecture contents required for Class I and Class II certifications for teaching in schools for visually, hearing, and physically and mentally impaired, and helps to increase the number of holders of special education licenses and enhance the specialization of associated education.
The training programs for practicing teachers are geared toward trainees who have been sent by the education boards of their respective prefectures, and are designed to nurture teachers who are highly specialized in instruction methods and coordinators for special support education.
(3) Functions for understanding, enlightenment, and interactions
Through supporting research projects, the Center's seminar series "Start for Special Needs Education," and other programs, the Center is addressing today's issues related to special supporting education in order to continue, develop, and enlighten the specialization of teachers.
Miscellaneous
The University of Tsukuba is establishing linkages between the 5 affiliated schools for the special needs education (School for the Visually Impaired, School for the Deaf, School for the Mentally Challenged at Otsuka, Kirigaoka School for the Physically Challenged, and Kurihama School for Children with Autism), and Japan's largest research organizations that are involved with disabilities.
As a joint use center of the University of Tsukuba, the Special Needs Education Research Center manages the foundation for establishing linkages between the Education Bureau of the Laboratory Schools and research departments for the mentally and physically disabled. Of these linkages, those with the 5 affiliated schools for the disabled are given top priority, as they form the basis for all of the Center's projects.
The Center is consisted of the "Five-Department Commission" which has been established to coordinate and manage linkage projects, and the "Council of 5 Affiliated Schools for the Special Needs Education and the Center" which has been established to investigate linkage projects.