EDUCATION IN JAPAN
The Japanese education system
Its highly centralized and is administered
by the Mombusho or Ministry of Education.
School system from kindergarten through
university serves about 24 million students,
with about ten percent going to the
University. About one third go to the private
schools and the rest are enrolled in the
public school system. (Abner, 2002)
In 2005, a book Japan in the 21st
Environment, Economy and
“ Japan’s educational system
produces students who perform far better
on international examinations than
Americans do, and Japanese students are
indisputably among the best in the world
in solving mathematical equations…
Youngsters are well behaved, envied
around as law-abiding;
Japan’s low crime rates are well
known and widely envied around the
world. But what is even more striking than
the lack of crime is the overwhelming
civility; graffiti and vandalism are rare and
school sports teams not only bow to each
before the game but rush over to the
opposing team’s stand after the game to
pay their respect.
The Japanese education is divided into
five basic levels:
2. elementary school (six years)
3. lower secondary school (three years)
4. upper secondary school (three years)
5. university (usually around four years)
There are also preschool (yochien) with
mainly female teachers. These are not
official part of the educational system.
Prefectural boards license teachers,
appoint teachers to public elementary and
secondary schools and also license
preschool in their area.
Japanese education is free and
compulsory for children from 6 to 15
Japanese students spend 243 days year in
school. The calendar is year-round with
some breaks between sessions.
Standard Curriculum includes Japanese
Math and science
Art, music, home economics, physical
education, with the greatest emphasis on
learning the Japanese language.
Lower secondary schools
cover grade seven, eight and nine. Men
compose two-third of the teachers in this
level. Class size average is 38 and the
periods are fifty minutes long.
Upper secondary schools
offer academic, technical and vocational
programs. The first year courses include
Japanese language, English, Science and
Vocational course includes information
processing, navigation, fish farming,
ceramics and business English.
Junior colleges for women who want to pursue
courses stress home economics, nursing,
teaching, humanities and social science.
There are various universities that students can
attend in Japan. Private institutions make up
80% of university enrolments although the
public schools have the most prestige. In order
to get into the Universities, the student must
take two exams; the first one is a National
Achievement Test and the second one given by
the university itself which is highly competitive.
Students who fail the test will take
another year to study and prepare to take
the test again. These students are called
ronin, which originally meant samurai.
The entire education system seem to be
built on a principle that if you do well in
exams, you will get into good schools, or
universities and automatically into good