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Education in Japan
Education in Japan
only in military strategy and the martial arts, but also agriculture and accounting. Likewise, the wealthy merchant class needed education for their daily business, and their wealth allowed them to be patrons of arts and science. But temple schools (terakoya) educated peasants too, and it is estimated that at the end of the Edo period 50% of the male and 20% of the female population possessed some degree of literacy. Even though contact with foreign countries was restricted, books from China and Europe were eagerly imported and Rangaku ("Dutch studies") became a popular area of scholarly interest. After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the methods and structures of Western learning were adopted as a means to make Japan a strong, modern nation. Students and even high-ranking government officials were sent abroad to study, such as the Iwakura mission. Foreign scholars, the so-called o-yatoi gaikokujin, were invited to teach at newly founded universities and military academies. Compulsory education was introduced, mainly after the Prussian model. By 1890, only 20 years after the resumption of full international relations, Japan discontinued employment of the foreign consultants. The rise of militarism led to the use of the education system to prepare the nation for war. The military even sent its own instructors to schools. After the defeat in World War II, the allied occupation government set an education reform as one of its primary goals, to eradicate militarist teachings and "democratize" Japan. The education system was rebuilt after the American model. The end of the 1960s were a time of student protests around the world, and also in Japan. The main subject of protest was the Japan-U.S. security treaty. A number of reforms were carried out in the post-war period until today. They aimed at easing the burden of entrance examinations, promoting internationalization and information technologies, diversifying education and supporting lifelong learning. In successive international tests of mathematics, Japanese children consistently rank at or near the top (see TIMSS). The
Terakoya for girls in Edo period Formal education in Japan began with the adoption of Chinese culture in the 6th century. Buddhist and Confucian teachings as well as sciences, calligraphy, divination and literature were taught at the courts of Asuka, Nara and Heian. Scholar officials were chosen through an Imperial examination system. But contrary to China, the system never fully took hold and titles and posts at the court remained hereditary family possessions. The rise of the bushi, the military class, during the Kamakura period ended the influence of scholar officials, but Buddhist monasteries remained influential centers of learning. During the Edo period (1603-1867), the daimyō vied for power in the largely pacified country. Since their influence could not be raised through war, they competed on the economic field. Their warrior-turned-bureaucrat Samurai elite had to be educated not
and expression. which are separated by short holidays in spring and winter. eight. covers such areas as human relationships. these two kinds of institutions enroll well over 90 percent of all preschool-age children prior to their entrance into the formal system at first grade. Junior high school Lower secondary school covers grades seven. preschools are predominately concerned with providing care for infants and toddlers. Although it is still possible to leave the formal education system after completing lower secondary school and find employment. The 58 percent of kindergartens that are private accounted for 77 percent of all children enrolled. are supervised by the Ministry of Education. proper social behavior. which applies to both kinds of institutions. and starting school is considered a very important event in a child’s life. but are not part of the official education system. and each class 2 . children between the ages of roughly 12 and 15. Private schools tended to be costly. and there are numerous books and television shows aimed at helping mothers of preschool children to educate their children and to "parent" more effectively. Like elementary schools. The Ministry of Education’s 1990 Course of Study for Preschools. All children enter first grade at age six. and nine. and thence to a university. with thirty-eight students per class on average.828 yen (US$934) that the ministry estimated as the cost for students enrolled in public lower secondary schools. Some private elementary schools are prestigious. about four times more than the 130. environment. Science and Technology (MEXT) is responsible for educational administration. with increased focus on academic studies. less than 1% of the schools are private. A typical classroom in Japanese junior high school More than 99% of children are enrolled in elementary school. and a one month long summer break. Together. The school year consists of three terms. Private schools were costly. Sports. Virtually all elementary education takes place in public schools. Kindergartens (yochien ???). supervised by the Ministry of Labor. and structured play. Starting from March 2008 the new revision of curriculum guidelines for kindergartens as well as for preschools came into effect. Education in Japan Elementary school Structure The school year in Japan begins in April and classes are held from Monday to either Friday or Saturday. Much of the home training is devoted to teaching manners. Culture. depending on the school. and they serve as a first step to higher-level private schools with which they are affiliated. most lower-secondary schools in the 1980s were public. Parents are strongly committed to early education and frequently enroll their children in preschools. words (language). Kindergarten and nursery school Early childhood education begins at home. but 5% were private. Same as kindergartens there are public or privately run preschools. fewer than 4% did so by the late 1980s. although the rate of cost increases in tuition for these schools had slowed in the 1980s.989) per student in 1988. Classes are large. averaging 558.592 yen (US$3. predominantly staffed by young female junior college graduates. the free encyclopedia Ministry of Education.From Wikipedia. although verbal and number skills are also popular themes. In addition to kindergartens there exists a well-developed system of government-supervised day-care centers (hoikuen ???). Whereas kindergartens follow educational aims. and more than 80 % graduated from a four-year college. Teachers often majored in the subjects they taught.
music. however. The most common type of upper-secondary school has a full-time. and ceramics. business English. Most upper-secondary teachers are university graduates. A growing number of JHS students also attend Juku. Teachers also use other media. fine arts. Others. The ministry recognizes a need to improve the teaching of all foreign languages. All students are also exposed to industrial arts and homemaking. In upper-secondary school.142) in both 1980s and that private upper-secondary schools were about twice as expensive. the government invites many young native speakers of English to Japan to serve as assistants to school boards and prefectures under its Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. Beginning with 848 participants in 1987. Classroom organization is still based on small work groups of four to six students. The Ministry of Education estimated that annual family expenses for the education of a child in a public upper-secondary school were about 300. there is a core of academic material throughout all programs. Upper-secondary schools are organized into departments.  High school Even though upper-secondary school is not compulsory in Japan. such as television and radio. general program that offered academic courses for students preparing for higher education as well as technical and vocational courses for students expecting to find employment after graduation.000 yen (US$2.273 participants in 2002. A small number of schools offer part-time programs. English. as part of an effort to address juvenile delinquency. All course contents are specified in the Course of Study for Lower-Secondary Schools. including schools that used them only for administrative purposes. The first-year programs for students in both academic and commercial courses are similar. rather than the students. as well as an increasing number of school boards hiring their foreign native speakers directly or through lower-paying. They include basic academic courses. evening courses. Most students also participate in one of a range of school clubs that occupy them until around 6pm most weekdays (including weekends and often before school as well). The teacher. moves to a new room for each fifty or forty-five minute period. More than 70% of upper-secondary school students were enrolled in the general academic program in the late 1980s. though from April 2009 English will become a compulsory part of the elementary school curriculum. and physical education. Education in Japan the program has been on the decline in recent years due to several factors. Moral education and special activities continue to receive attention. health. and there is some laboratory work. including shrinking local school budgets funding the program. although no longer for reasons of discipline. science.From Wikipedia. are coordinated with the elementary curriculum. and neither public nor private schools are free. mathematics. and teachers 3 . Business and industrial courses are the most popular. social studies. such as Japanese language and mathematics. or correspondence education. differences in ability are first publicly acknowledged. such as information processing. fish farming. A focus by students upon these other studies and the increasingly structured demands upon students’ time have been criticized by teachers and in the media for contributing to a decline in classroom standards and student performance in recent years. the program grew to a high of 6. and course content and course selection are far more individualized in the second year. such as foreign-language study. 99% of all lower-secondary school graduates entered upper secondary schools as of 2005. Instruction in lower-secondary schools tends to rely on the lecture method. Vocational-technical programs includes several hundred specialized courses. private extracurricular study schools. such as Japanese language. especially English. Private uppersecondary schools account for about 55% of all upper-secondary schools. The junior school curriculum covers Japanese language. To improve instruction in spoken English. However. and science. Some subjects. navigation. the free encyclopedia is assigned a homeroom teacher who doubles as counselor. accounting for 72% of all students in full-time vocational programs in 1989. mathematics. However. lower-secondary school students have different teachers for different subjects. Unlike elementary students. private agencies. in the evenings and weekends. begin at this level. By 1989 about 45 % of all public lower secondary schools had computers.
and other institutions.mofa. were in the social sciences. at least in the public schools. enrolling almost 40 percent of all undergraduate students. Assistance also is offered by local governments. the two top-ranking universities in Japan are the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University.pdf  http://search. Hebert (2005). Retrieved on 2007-03-27. At the top of the higher education structure. Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone’s Legacy. particularly at the upper-secondary level.pdf.mext.org/success/ Education/ times_world_ranking_2005. Sports. students frequently work part-time or borrow money through the government-supported Japan Scholarship Association. Cooperation. External links • Ministry of Education. TSL Education Ltd. fees. emphasizes vocational education to enable students to be as independent as possible within society.jp/j_info/visit/jet/ participants. and living expenses) for a year of higher education in 1986 were 1. and accounting. nonprofit corporations. Universities and colleges As of 2005. 2005-10-28. • David G.alnaja7. Hawai: University of Hawai’i Press. It is clear that the government is aware of the necessity of broadening the range of possibilities for these students. Training of disabled students. Doctoral Dissertation. and Social Reform in Early Twentieth Century Japan.From Wikipedia. including business. 2001. http://www.. Advancement to higher education is also a goal of the government. but the options are limited for some.jp/cgi-bin/ fl20060328zg. founded by prefectures and municipalities. Uno (1999).html  STATISTICAL ABSTRACT 2006 edition(http://www.go. Further reading • Christopher P.8 million students were enrolled in 726 universities. University of Washington. Music Competition. Passages to Modernity: Motherhood. • Kathleen S. ISBN 0-415-23283-X.co. There are two types of public four-year colleges: the ninety-six national universities (including the Open University of Japan) and the thirty-nine local public universities.000). Education in Japan According to The Times Higher Education Supplement. and education (7 percent). 2005:  Japanese education system  http://www. Vocational training varies considerably depending on the student’s disability. Science and Technology 4 . The 372 remaining four-year colleges in 1991 were private. more than 2. and some offer six-year programs leading to a professional degree. with the main goal of covering the very demanding curriculum in the time allotted.htm)  "The Times Higher Education Supplement World University Rankings" (PDF). the free encyclopedia specialize in their major fields although they teach a variety of courses within their disciplines. Culture. the humanities (15 percent). Childhood. Other popular subjects were engineering (19 percent). The overwhelming majority of college students attend full-time day programs. In 1990 the most popular courses.4 million yen (US$10.japantimes. Hood.jp/english/ statist/index. and Community: An Ethnography of a Japanese School Band. See also • • • • Juku Yutori education JET Programme Japanese University Entrance Examinations • Japanese school uniform • Eikaiwa • Curriculum guideline References  PISA scores for 15 year olds in Japan. London: Routledge. Approach and subject coverage tends to be uniform. To help defray expenses. Ann Arbor: Proquest/UMI. Teaching depends largely on the lecture system. The average costs (tuition.go. and it struggles to have institutions of higher learning accept more disabled students. law. these institutions provide four-year training leading to a bachelor’s degree.
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