History and Education

History of Japanese Education

-School system was reformed after WWII

-Rapid population growth after WWII

-Because of high population, junior high school classes exceeded 50 students--now need to be kept under 40

-Modern Education System Started in 1872

-Like French School System, school began in April and ended in March of the following year (height of spring of cherry blossom: new beginnings)

-Average school day: 6 hours (one of the longest school days in the world)

-Children have drills and homework to keep them busy

-Vacation: 6 weeks in the summer, 2 weeks for Winter and Spring

All Japanese Schools

-Uniforms are required

-Japanese observe group/community based norms (culture, learning, etc.)

-Before WWII: 6-5-3-3 System: 6 years elementary, 5 years, junior high, 3 years high school, 3 years university

-After WWII: 6-3-3-4 System: 6 years elementary, 3 years junior high, 3 years high school, 4 years university

-100% Enrollment in compulsory grades (elementary+3years of junior high): children are accepted at any time during year, no one pays tuition or for text books, grouped by age (no skipping grades)

-High School Drop Out Rate: 2%

-100% Literacy Rate

-240 day long school year

-All students participate in the cleaning of the school at the end of the day

Ministry of Education supervises all educational aspects of Japan: Maintains a uniform level of education throughout the whole country, creates a high standard of education

Types of Schools



-Enroll: Full knowledge of Japanese language (fluent)

-Pass Japanese Language Proficiency Test: 4 levels, 3 areas: vocabulary and kanji, listening and reading, grammar

-Technical schools are available

Teacher Professionalism

-Teachers are expected to infuse cultural values throughout school activities

-Teachers to be concerned with students lives both in and out of schools

-Efforts and influence extend into the community and home

-Japanese culture views school as moral community and a basic training ground for becoming a good citizen

-Teachers have the responsibility for moral education and character development as well as instilling Japanese values, attitudes and norms in all students at all levels

-Equal in importance to academic role

-Salary of teachers is now higher than of other public employees (compares favorably to the private sector)