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Japanese Education System: issues and challenges

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Dijana Nikodinovska

on 12 February 2015

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Transcript of Japanese Education System: issues and challenges

National policies on education
Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism
Tokorozawa school incident
Middle school education
Characteristics of Japan's educational system
High school education
inflexibility of curriculum
reluctance of teachers to exert discipline
preparation for university entrance exams
little differential treatment
focus on n 5 subjects: Japanese, English, mathematics, science and social studies
Primary education
Japan's educational system: issues and challenges

Dijana Nikodinovska

recurring issues
lack of creativity
rejection of individual differences
textbook controversy
nationally unified education
difficult transition from school to work
orientation towards capitalist achievement and productivity
'poor' English skills
'classroom collapse'
school diplomatism
examination system
school refusal
disparity society –
kakusa shakai

late 1940s: SCAP - deletion of militarist and nationalist contents from existing textbooks; formation of non-governmental organizations based on the constitution of UNESCO
1950s: Cold War, comeback of nationalism; in 1958, the MOE issues a new 'Course of Study': moral education is central
1960s: report from MOE: education is a crucial factor of economic growth
1970s: The new Course of Study puts‘ greater emphasis on moral education than before’
1980s: textbook revision policies;
1990's and 2000s: introduction of integrated studies, encouragement of autonomous learning; narrowing down of traditional academic subjects
members of a nation, or members of the world?
nationalism prioritizes the ‘nation’, while cosmopolitanism prioritizes the ‘world’
institutional contradictions between differing logics: market, state, religion, family, democracy etc.
How can this be applied to Japan?
'Japanese in the world' (
sekai no naka no nihonjin
) and 'cosmopolitan Japanese’ (
kokusaitekina nihonjin
international cooperation as a 'Japanese person'
- wartime associations
debate over authority and freedom
'normalization' of the school
emphasis on discipline and obedience
conflicting understandings of democracy
importance of moral and patriotic education
threat to the school system
dominance of the Right in Japanese national politics
the Left exerts influence through Japan's Teachers Union
conflicting ideas on democracy and educational policies
in 1999 the government 'legalizes'
shift of ideology
'holistic' and 'text-centered' approach
adherence to national curriculum
teacher-centered, text-oriented classes
grade distribution
undifferentiated system with no special programs
short-answer, multiple-choice type examination
focus on group responsibilities
'life studies' and 'integrated studies'
strong encouragement of inquiry learning
moral and social education
emphasis on cooperation, helping others, interdependence
individual academic assessment
- cram schools
kokoro no kyoiku
lifestyle guidance
bullying and 'classroom collapse'
focus on personal development
economic crisis
ideological conflict
foreign policies
declining population
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