Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Education in Japan
Education has been and is an important issue in Japanese society. There are three ways that a child is educated in Japan: by attending a public school for a compulsory education, by attending a private school for a compulsory education, or by attending a private school that does not adhere to standards set by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) or Monbukagakushō (文部科学省）).
While secondary education is not compulsory, more than 90% of the population attends secondary school. More than 2.5 million students advance to universities and colleges. In the past, the selection process for advancing to higher education had been described as "hellish" and "war-like." But with the dwindling number of Japanese children being born set to decline in the near future, the tide has turned the other way. Now schools are having to compete amongst themselves to gather students. However many children continue to be sent to Juku (Cram schools) in addition to state school.
One of the things that amazed Europeans that arrived in Japan at the end of the Edo period was that the Japanese were very well educated and that popular cultures also existed that were widely believed at that time to be something that could not exist without an industrial revolution. It is estimated that the literacy rate was already over 80% for men and somewhere in the 60s or 70s for women and much higher in cities like Edo and Osaka, something that many modern nations still struggle to achieve. The temples and shrines offered free courses in reading, writing, and arithmetic for everyone. Samurai attended their own schools to learn those three, and Chinese classics. Teachers taught mostly without pay and were well-respected. It is estimated that 14,000 schools were attended by 750,000 students. With these semi-public schools as the base to build on, a modern public school system was born with added European educational ideals that is basically unchanged even today.
Education for females, which often bound with religious constraints, had become an issue as far back as in the Heian period over a thousand years ago. But the Sengoku period finally made it clear that women had to be educated because they must defend the country when their husbands died. It also helped that both Buddhism and Shintoism did not look down on females and instead treated them as their equals. The Tale of Genji was written by a well-educated female from the Heian period and writings by women blossomed throughout Japanese history.
Education in Japan is a national, prefectural, and municipal responsibility. The MEXT has dozens of internal study groups that study how education should be done, and provide guidance and advice to prefectural governments based on this research. In the past, these "guidance" and "advice" have been something to be studiously observed and straying from them resulted in cuts in the budget and other difficulties. However, recent reforms have handed over more power to prefectural governments. The MEXT also checks textbooks to see that they are neutral in their points of view and include correct information that should be taught according to grade levels. One of the important points from the recent reforms is that in the past, the MEXT set the maximum of information to be included in a textbook. But today, the MEXT sets the minimum amount of information to be included in a textbook. Schools used to have textbooks and supplementary textbooks not checked by the MEXT because the textbooks contained minimal information that made teaching difficult as the textbooks lacked information that would help develop a deeper understanding of the subject.
Every prefectural government has its own Prefectural Board of Education that offers guidance, advice, and directs prefectural schools and private schools. This Prefectural Board of Education has a wide variety of responsibilities including, but not limited to, choosing textbooks to use, hiring teachers, and along with the governor, making the budget.
Both the MEXT and the prefectural government give guidance and advice to municipal governments. The municipal government also has its own Municipal Board of Education that has the same task as its prefectural counterparts.
- Secondary education in Japan
- List of schools in Japan
- List of universities in Japan
- Imperial universities
- School Education Law
- Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform
- School System in Japan (by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Japan)
- Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in Japan
- Teaching about Japan
- Ideas for Integrating Japan into the Curriculum
- Fiction about Japan in the Elementary Curriculum
- Teaching Primary School Children about Japan through Art
- Japanese Education in Grades K-12
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details