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Japan Education


Study in Japan EducationAlready at the turn of the 1900s, virtually all adult literacy was in Japan, and Japan has long been considered the world's most educated population. Higher education has traditionally high status, and even in modern Japan, a degree from one of the highest-ranked universities is an entry ticket to the most sought after and fastest careers. During the post-war period, education up to high school has come to be characterized by extremely tough competition. Most parents are prepared to prioritize a long and expensive education for their children over almost everything else in the household budget. About half of the high school students continue to university and college studies.

Study in Japan

Most children now attend preschool at the age of 3-5. Preschools are often private and they have gradually become increasingly school-like in their demands for achievement. However, a curriculum from 2008 states that learning in preschool should be based on play.

The compulsory, free schooling is nine years old and starts at the age of six. It includes a six-year primary school and a three-year lower secondary school (equivalent to Swedish high school). Almost all primary schools are municipal, while private schools are more common at higher levels. The school year starts in April and consists of three semesters. Since 2002, five-day week has been completed.

For the first six years the children are trained to work together and work as a group. On the schedule are the internationally used subjects but also training in traditional Japanese art types such as calligraphy and haiku poetry. All children should also be able to play two instruments. In primary school, students will learn just over half of the approximately 2,000 characters needed in everyday life. In year four, the student learns the Western alphabet. In the lower secondary school, school work is gradually becoming more and more focused on ensuring that the individual student gets good results on the degree that gives entry to the high school. Teaching in English started earlier in the seventh school year but starts year five from 2012.

It is very important to get high marks on the entrance exam. It is required to enter a high-ranking high school with stiff competition for the places. However, large extra efforts are required. The students participate in courses in the school in their spare time and usually they also attend expensive courses in private preparation schools (juku) where they are trained for the degree. Weak pupils cannot count on extra support in school. Their parents, if they can afford it, must pay for extra evening lessons. Thus, there is a thorough sorting of the young people already at the age of 12-15.

The vast majority of Japanese youth (96% in 2006) continue to study in high school. Most colleges are three-year-olds, with college preparatory or more professional study programs, but there are also five-year technical colleges. Furthermore, there are four-year evening gymnasiums and also distance education for young people who have already started working during the day and for adults who want to study further. High school studies are subject to fees, and at that level the pressure is further increasing on students to pass the entrance exam to a high-ranking university. Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Japan.

In 2010, Japan had 95 national and 570 private universities, plus several hundred colleges (junior colleges) with 2-3 years of education. In addition, there were several thousand special vocational colleges. In particular, junior colleges provide education that is traditionally intended for women (such as health care and home economics). In 2007, the vast majority of college students were women, but only 40% of the university students. However, the traditional gender roles are changing rapidly, and in 2011, the proportion of women at universities was almost the same as the proportion of men. At the elite university, men still constitute a large majority.

Academic studies mean a quiet time without tough competition. Time studies in the late 1990s showed that on average, students spent less than two hours daily on studies. Internationally, Japanese academic teaching does not have the same high reputation as lower education, while natural science research has been internationally prominent. Since 1980, Japanese researchers have been awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry on six occasions and in physics and medicine on each occasion. On a global ranking of universities in 2011, the University of Tokyo (Todai) came in 20th place and the University of Kyoto in 27th place.

The reduction in population in Japan means fewer and fewer young people. It has become difficult for many colleges and small universities to get enough students and thus sufficient income. Government grants have also declined. Several colleges have gone bankrupt and even small universities on the outskirts of the country have been forced to close down the business. At the same time, more forms of entrance exam have been developed, especially at the elite university competing for the best students. The universities also strive to get more foreign students, but not even at the elite university Todai was the proportion higher than 7% in 2010.

Traditionally, Japanese school students have shown very good results in international comparisons, especially in science subjects and mathematics. At the same time, they have been less good when it comes to investigative tasks that require independent thinking and final ability. More and more, employers are also complaining about young people's lack of ability to speak and understand spoken English. To counteract these weaknesses, a new school law was adopted at the end of the 1990s with new curricula and timetables for the compulsory school. The course content was sharpened and the number of hours was increased, especially in Japanese and mathematics.

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