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PENTAS SENI


Education in Japan

 
 

Japanese Educational Reform




The present Japanese school system was established soon after World War II. Currently in Japan, children must attend 9 years of compulsory education from the ages of 6 to 15. As of 1997, approximately 96.8 percent of junior high students went on to high schools and 47.4 percent of high school students went on to colleges and universities.

Japanese education has a centralized uniform curriculum. Japanese society places a heavy emphasis on the schools students attend; therefore, there is high competition to attend prestigious schools. As a result, most young students attend juku (cram school) in the afternoons, evenings, Saturdays, and holiday to prepare for the entrance exams.

The current system has seen some problems. The competetion has caused increased levels of suicide, increased dropout rates and problems with bullying. As a result, there has been a call for school reform.

The major points of the current educational reform include:
  • Emphasis on Individuality - this is significantly different from the current system that emphasizes harmony and uniformity. They will focus on creativity and have more hands-on activities for children.
  • Emphasis on Life Long Learning - this will bring about change in the current system from rote memorization to learning how to learn and higher level thinking.
  • Emphasis on preparing students who can plan and cope with change and succeed in the information age and global society - there is political pressure for students to acquire the skills to compete internationally. There is a move to provide students with comprehensive international learning; to help students understand other cultures, history, and values.

The following changes are expected to be implemented nationally:
  • Reduce the school week to five days in all schools in 2002.
  • Introduce a program for gifted and talented students.
  • Increase the amount of full time counselors in schools.
  • Provide more support for home education. 
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