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What makes the Japanese school system unique and interesting?

This week, we learned about contemporary education systems. Our teacher mentioned that Japan has one of the best education systems in the world. Recent studies have also ranked the Japanese middle school age children as the best in literacy and skills. Therefore, our teacher gave us an assignment to write about one of the education systems that interests us. I am interested in the Japanese education system. So, I need quick help from someone who has experience with the Japanese school system. I need to understand this pretty well for me to prepare a presentation. Please help me by answering these questions: What things that make their school system unique? How is their junior school different from the German school system? What can we learn from the Japanese system of education?

Naomi Doyle

in Schools

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Donald Ward on January 31, 2018

I have had a chance to compare between our system and the Japanese system of education. Through this analysis, I got to learn very interesting facts about the Japanese system that other school systems ought to adopt. For, instance their junior level education lasts six years.

In a Japanese schools system, a mathematics lesson commences with the teacher greeting his or her students. The teacher goes further to ask the students if they are able to solve the question he or she put on the board the previous day. The teacher then introduces the day’s topic. For instance, solving equations with multiple fractions. The Japanese teacher then instructs his or her middle school age students how to solve the sum. The first student to complete the mathematics problem carries his or her hand up. The teacher checks the answer and circles. Circling it means that the answer is correct. The student then stands and takes the role of the teacher. The Japanese hold the belief that a student retains around ninety percent by teaching others what he or she has learned. On the contrary, if a teacher lectures as it happens in most middle schools and high schools in the world, the student only retains forty percent. This portrays that learning is more effective if leaners discuss mathematics problems and teach each other. So, if learning mathematics is like learning any language such as German or French, then why not teach arithmetic as if we were teaching social studies?

When it comes to learning language, Japanese children have to learn more than 26 letters. Unlike parents from other parts of the world, Japanese adults know the importance of their children learning all these characters, and using them in both written and spoken communication. Because the Japanese system emphasizes on quality teaching, their children learn 1006 kanji characters before leaving their junior schools. In addition, they learn 1130 additional characters by the time they complete the compulsory education. Besides kanji, Japanese have two sets of phonetic scripts, namely katakana and hiragana. Each of these two phonetics has 46 characters which serve as syllables. The Japanese combine these characters with specific dots to mark changes on the original sound changes. Amazingly, the Japanese use these characters and the dots to cover all aspects of their modern language. So, if you thought that any language could be difficult to a Japanese, you are wrong.

Finally, the Japanese education system is divided into:

  • Elementary school which takes six years
  • Junior high school which takes three years
  • Senior high school which is also three years
  • University education which lasts for four years

In conclusion, allow me to mention that Japan’s population ranks among the best educated, with 100 percent enrollment rate in compulsory grades, and zero illiteracy level.

Tad Fraziera year ago

I am delighted to learn about the Japanese school system. Their literacy and enrollment rate is so amazing. Comparing this to my country is a pity. I look forward to a day when the education system of my country will attain such a status. However, for most countries to attain this kind of education status, holistic change is required. The change must start from the infrastructure and end with the human personnel. Teacher-training will need a serious upgrade. Schools will have to be equipped with the most relevant and student friendly learning resources. Teacher-student
relationship will need to be casual and warm too. Such a type of relationship will boost the student’s self-esteem, as this is key in performance. However, although the Japanese system looks super, it is only good for their context. So, if any country has to learn from them, then thorough modifications are required to suit the specific context and situation. In a nutshell, such a change is therefore expensive hence unattainable for most third world countries.


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