In Japan, the transformation of the value orientation from a growth-oriented economy to a life-oriented economy has paralleled a growing interest in consumer education. This paper reviews the historic development of the consumer movement in Japan from which consumer education evolved, discusses the present situation of consumer education at school, and examines the new wave of enthusiasm for consumer education in Japan.
The purpose of this study was to explore the instructive and social effects of decision making in consumer education and ways to activate it. Learning to make decisions develops the students' abilities to analyze and judge their own thinking processes. Then, it contributes to the prevention of consumer problems. To activate the decision making process, critical thinking was effective.
The aims of studying decision making in consumer education are to ascertain what kinds of decision-making enriches life and protects and ensures the eternal reproduction of life. Consumers' decision-making must have the power to determine not only their consumption but also the state of production and the social systems. The ability of decision-making is to:
1. Identify the needs or wants of daily life.
2. Recognize what kinds of resources are needed to satisfy their own daily life.
3. Adjust and distribute human and material resources to satisfy needs or wants.
4. Collect information needed to attain goals.
5. Access the authenticity of the information gathered.
6. Evaluate the worth of the information.
7. Recognize the utility of the goods in daily life.
8. Understand the influences of consumption on the social and natural environments.
9. Discover the problems of consumption in view of the worth and continuance of life ; eternal reproduction of life.
10. Discover the problems of the social and natural environments related to value and prolongation.
Compared with the past, people today have increased the average number of purchases and the range of products they buy because of their higher level of consumption. However, their time per purchase for product selection has become more scarce. Moreover, products today are more technologically complicated so that it has become more difficult for consumers to judge product quality. As a result, people tend to use rules of thumb to simplify the process of product selection.
One rule of thumb is to believe that certain manufacturers always have higher quality products than others.
This research tests whether this rule of thumb works in the Japanese market. The data was collected from the 1978 to 1987 issues of Monthly Consumers product testing magazine published by the Japan Consumers' Association.
The results of the study indicates that there were not any manufacturers whose products always had higher/lower quality than others. In addition to this research, previous studies showed that price is not an indicator of quality in the Japanese market. All of these studies suggest that consumers had better use objective information such as product testing magazines, at least when they choose durable goods in the Japanese market.
The aim of the research was to investigate the effect of formal classroom instruction on improving knowlegdge and awareness of consumer education among a group of trainee teachers. The research subjects were divided into two groups, one of which received instruction in consumer education and one which did not. A researcher generated questionnaire was then used to measure consumer education awereness in the two groups. The results indicated notable differences in awareness between the two groups.
The aim of this study is to define the role of business sponsors in consumer education. Consumer educators need high quality teaching materials, but the teaching materials are insufficient in both Japan and the U.K..
In Japan the consumer education teaching materials at schools are produced by teachers, consumers interest organizations, local boards of education and local government authorities. So far no commercial sponsors have under taken to produce any teaching materials. However in the near future, a consumer education resource centre which will provide teaching materials also is going to be set up by a working party of representatives Of business sponsors, consumer interest organizations, educators and government authorities. Therefore it will be necessary to define the role of business sponsors in producing teahing materials.
In the U.K. according to the National Consumer Council reports, consumer education at schools is highly dependent on free, commercially sponsored materials. Some of these materials that circulate in the classrooms contain a lot of commercial and industrial advertisements. In 1983 the NCC surveyed consumer education at schools and recommended that teaching materials should never seek to promote the sponsor's goods or services and proposed certain safeguards. Following these recommendations, the working party organized by the NCC published in September 1988 'Guidelines for business sponsors of educational material'.
Having reviewed the guidelines of SOCAP, UNICE, IOCU and the NCC in detail, I conclude that business sponsors should provide accurate and up‐ to― date information in their teaching materials for education without any advertisements for their goods or services.
When clothes were handmade within each household, all the washing was done at home and there were hardly any washing accidents.
Now that clothes are mass-produced commercially, however, a great variety of materials require different handling. Checking care labels is not only one of the effective ways to prevent washing accidents, but can also help consumers make a wise selection of clothes. Therefore, care directions on the labels should be accurate and comprehensible.
Considering that pupils and students are future manufacturers as well as consumers, I have compared and examined the existing teaching materials for home economics education, while developing new ones.
As a result, some inadequate expressions were found regard- ing "Care Labelling of Textile Goods" in the textbooks and reference books widely used in elementary, junior high, and high schools. Special mention should be made that the warning signs on the care labels are often drawn in colors other than red, which is generally recognized as a color of caution.
Care labels are important not only for washing but also for wise selection of merchandise.
Since a great number of pupils are expected to be on the side of manufacturers in near future, they should learn about " the principle of product liability" even at elementary school.
Sewing an apron with a care label was one of such efforts.
In the course of the study of materials, it was found out that there was no unfading red ink to print with. Many of red caution signs on care labels collected by class were either faded away or discolored.
On the other hand, both red and black caution signs were presented to fifth graders (154 in all) and their opinions were collected. There was no clear difference according to colors.
Conclusion: Care labels are mostly printed. At present, there is no printing ink that does not fade. While signs could be woven in on labels, it would cost a great deal. The colors of signs did not make much difference. Therefore, it is permissible to print caution signs in black.
It is becoming popular among young women to use a rental dress.
We probably can explain this phenomenon because of the following three reasons: Young women can enjoy various types of dresses. There is no need to store and to take care of dresses. The expense of rental dress is much lower than that of a purchase.
However there are many troubles with this rental dress system. We therefore started studying present and possible problems of the rental dress industry so that we can supply proper materials to educate consumers. We come up with the following conclusions:
(1) College students are the largest potential users of this service.
(2) Cleanness is one of most important factors for them, but our recent data indicates some rental dresses are not clean enough for commercial use.
(3) Students in general are not familiar with a rental agreement, and the agreement itself issued by retailers is not perfect.
(4) Joint Cooperation among representatives of consumers, professional scholars, the private sector and governmental bodies is essential to make up appropriate regulations for what we call new business.
Recently it has become much more difficult for consumers to select pertinent housing, because there is a tendency for housing costs to take up too much of the total budget. Also there are often various problems about the contracts concerning buying, refurnishing or enlarging houses.
Moreover there exists an overflow of both accurate and inaccurate information on housing through the mass-media.
In order to overcome such difficulties, it is important not only to strengthen the power of authorities to take countermeasures but also to learn the nature of the problems on the side of consumers themselves. From this point of view, the aim of this paper is to point out existing problems of the present situation concerning consumer education of housing by educational institutions.
An interview was carried out by the planning staff of a seminar about housing during May in 1987 and November in 1988, and various brochures published by public and private educational institutions were collected.
From a survey it can be concluded that there is no such curriculum planned dealing with selection of pertinent housing systematically. This is true even though such public agencies as consumer centers adopt such topics as how to use and maintain electric appliances, and some private institutions open periodical seminars concerning such themes as acquisition of houses, selection of housing appliances and furniture, and interior coordination.
I think consumer educaition should be incorporated into various subjects in highschool education.
With this view in mind, I tried incorporating economics into high‐school mathematics and researched the themes as shown below.
1. maximum value of sales
2. total revenue
3. maximum profit
4. average cost and marginal cost
l am convinced that this research will show a new direction for consumer education in high‐ school mathematics in the future.