Japan has the fastest growing economy out of all the nations in the world. It is most likely that the main reason behind Japan’s success is the contribution of the Japanese school system.
The Japanese school system varies from the other education system on many levels. The system plays a key role in building one of the most elite education systems. The very reason they are such a small country and have such an impeccable horizon makes everyone curious about the Japanese school system.
If you, too, are curious about what makes the Japanese school system different from the rest, read on to find out!
Japanese School System
The Japanese education system of school is divided into three levels – elementary school, junior high school, and high school.
The first nine-year school, elementary and junior high school, is mandatory for the Japanese people to attend. However, even though many don’t need to attend high school for better education.
All the native Japanese must complete the lower secondary level, also known as junior school. However, more than 94% of the students complete upper secondary school before becoming an active member of society or continuing their studies.
Around the age of six, every Japanese child enrolls in elementary school. Over the next six years, the child attends school and learns basic Japanese, mathematics, arts and crafts, music, science, and social science. Many elementary schools are now validation English as a learning subject too.
In elementary schools, the students learn to co-inhabit with other children from their age group. After-school activities involving cleaning the school classes together with the peers help them to imbue discipline.
Physical education is the core focus of the Japanese school system, which commences in elementary school.
Generally, in elementary schools, the students have a homeroom teacher that takes responsibility for all the learning. It’s help student to have a consistency in learning while the teacher gets time to understand each as an individual.
Activities like a school trip and annual sports days harmonize the team spirit of the class while giving out the adventurous and fun experience for childhood.
Junior High School
The next three years after completing the elementary division, the students entered middle school. In middle school, the students instigate extracurricular activities by becoming part of different clubs.
In middle school, activities like a cultural festival, trips, club activities, and many more group activities become a recreational opportunity for them to understand life.
The club activities play a prominent role in developing the interest and career direction for many students. It gives a wide and clean opportunity to students for sharpening and polish up their talent.
English and foreign languages are mandatory in middle school while they focus on moral ethics and physical education.
The upper secondary education is further divided into three options-general schools, college of technology, and specialized training colleges.
While many opt for general high school after middle school, few students choose the other two options while mixing with the workforce.
The high school continues with the middle school learning pattern while adding additional subjects to learn.
The university takes the student as per their score in the entrance exam. Cram schooling becomes the part of many students life who wants to attend reputed universities.
Vocational training also intact with the high school curriculum for understanding the Japanese workforce before taking part as a society member.
While many countries follow a similar school structure for educational purposes, but learning process of the Japanese school system is what makes the difference.
Japanese School Life
As a student in Japan, a person learns a lot more than just books. Education in Japan realizes the need for a cultural and moral foundation to develop a passionate young man.
The school in Japan takes various measures to learn out of context yet relatable with life experience.
Japan school starts with the season of a new beginning with beautiful cherry blossom carries by the wind. In April, the spring season, the school commences the academic year till March.
The students get two major vacations. One in August as they have summer break this time while the winter break starts around the Christmas week till the first week of January.
In general, the Japanese school’s curriculum activities take in between 7-8 hours. In this course, the students attend six lectures and have a lunch break in-between.
After the sixth lecture, the student gets involved in after-school activities. After-school activities mainly revolve around cleaning classes, preparation for events, and club activities.
It is one of the common practices of Japan to involve the students in club activities. The club activities include sports, traditional and modern music, arts, crafts, literature, and technology.
The students can join the club with their personal choice and interest. Most of the club activities occur after school hours. After cleaning the classrooms, the students can stay for the respective club activities.
Almost all the general high school has student council body. Many of the events and activities have been overseen by the student body. The student council even manages the funding for the club and festival.
In high school, a student starts understanding the concept of authority and power. The member of the student council learns the management and working with the system. It matures their mind and helps them understand how the workforce handles the various aspects of undertakings.
The core focus of Japan school system is practical learning. Instead of the scholarly language written in books, the school tries its best to learn things practically.
Many historical and mathematical tricks have been taught to a student with the help of a picture. Many high schools provide vocational training to students in their school years while creating many opportunities for creative students to participate in many competitions.
Every school trip is unique and has its knowledge-gaining opportunities for students. In the course of school and field trips, children experience spending nights without their families.
Other experiences like camping formulate them to do things on their own. They learn to put on the tent and cook by themselves while their teacher supervises them.
The students often divide into groups and take the charges of the activities. Many group activities and games are not only fun and better physical learning for them as a human.
Focus on Culture
While the Japanese school system creates the best use of technology for the learning process, they never neglect their culture.
The children learn about Japanese culture from elementary school. Activities like calligraphy, greetings, and haiku are parts of their mandatory curriculum. In high school, the school holds cultural festivals where students set up various food stalls and entertainment performances.
The culture is an integral part of their lifestyle, and they make sure the children abide by the cultural values from the beginning of their school life.
International Teacher and International Student
There are around forty international schools in Japan where the whole curriculum structure is in English. As Japan is famous for its education system, many foreigners enroll in Japan’s international school.
Moreover, for better English faculties, the government initiated Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. According to this program, native English speakers come to Japan and teach English to the students.
Role of Government
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology systemizes the context and content of the various subjects from elementary through high school. The government body oversees all the curriculum activities of the Japanese schools.
The Japanese school system is at such a high stake because of the unique learning pattern. The government plays a crucial role when it comes to providing facilities for education.
Almost every district has at least one or more elementary, lower and upper secondary schools for education. Due to numerous schools, the parents often enroll their kids in the nearby public school as the education of every public school is similar.
Due to this very reason of nearby schools, almost every school student walks to the school. Even the elementary students walk to the school while many teachers and parents take the responsibility of supervision.
Additionally, the government is trying its best to build more vocational schools and junior colleges to get more practical learning in school life.
The best thing about the Japanese school system is that they focus on learning more than teaching. The education system result is good because they believe books are crucial to give them a basic understanding, but practice is what will make a student perfect.
Japan has around 99% literacy rate, thanks to the strong fundamental foundations of their education system. The practice that they have developed over the years has set their education system as a prominent lifestyle structure in every citizen’s daily life.
Everything in the Japanese school system is more than wondrous. Understanding the Japanese school system can help us all take education more seriously and develop a better idea of learning.
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