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Education System in Japan

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Michael Willoughby

Education System in Japan

        Education systems differs throughout the world. They have different views and ways they teach the students, mostly because of the cultural differences around the world. Japan is a country that takes education very seriously. The high school drop out rate is less than 2% nation wide. (Mandrapa) The minister of education in Japan supervises school curriculums, textbooks, strictly to keep all education up to date and properly taught. In this essay, I will explain about how the Japanese education system works and explain about the unique school customs and system they enforce.

        In Japan, the government keeps an strict eye on the local public school systems in Japan. this helps both the teachers and the students to stay on track and is being taught what they are suppose to be taught. In America, the local school district or the state regulates their curriculum. there are no real strict inspections unlike the Japanese school system. These differences in education happens because of the difference in some cultural values and aspect. japan is a homogenous country. their goal in education is to simply spreading the knowledge from the teacher to the student. Students don’t have any freedom or choice in class, and doesn’t focus on the students discovery or developing their personal skills. They enforce the idea of unity and being same as the community which ultimately is comfort. On the other hand, American is a heterogeneous country, were students are taught the idea of individualism. This is because of the different races throughout the country.

        In japan, the school year starts in April and end in May. Their summer vacations are as short as a month and has less break days compared to the schools in America. This gives students more school days to learn new and more school material. Instead of 6 years of elementary school, 2 years middle school and 4 years of high school, Japanese students attend 6 years of elementary, 3 years middle school and 3 years of high school. Japans education is compulsory for the first 9 years but more than 98% of the students attend high school. Japan has one of the best educated population in the world(Namiko).

        Now, lets look at some of the interesting customs and rules Japanese school has. In Japanese schools, every student is required to wear a uniform provided by the school. Female students usually wears a white shirt with long socks and a skirt (sailor-fuku). Male students often wear  long pants, white shirt and a blazer (gakuran) during winter. Elementary students carry a unique school bag called randoseru. These bags are often bright in colors, which helps the student be noticeable when commuting. The bag also fits every necessary materials for school. When students arrive to school, they all must change in to their inside shoes. These are called uwabaki in Japan. This helps to keep the school a cleaner and nicer environment for the students to study.

        Unlike the yellow school buses in America, the Japanese students do not have school bus. Most students travel by walking. Most schools wont allow students to ride their bike to school unless you are in high school. What students do is gather up in a designated spot with other neighbor students, and walk together to school. This makes students look after each other and keep safe with big numbers. In some community, adults help guide the students to school. They use a yellow flag, thats attached to many cross walks to help student cross streets and get to school safely. Students are taught traffic laws and safety form a very young age.

        At the beginning and the end of class, students greets the teacher to pay respect to the teacher. Kiritsu (stand up), Kiwotsuke (stand straight), Rei (greetings), Chakuseki (sit). This helps the student focus and switch in to school mode after their breaks between classes. In America, students usually sing the national anthem at the beginning of the school during assembly but no greetings to the teacher.

        The Japanese school has a very unique lunch system as well. Unlike the American schools with cafeteria and cafeterians, The students are the schools cafeterias. Every week, different students from the home room classroom is chosen to become a kyushoku-toban (lunch duties). These students deliver food to their classroom and serve it to their classmates. They all wait till everyones food is served then say their blessings and students get to eat. This kyushoku-toban system helps the kids to build a sense of service in their community. They also on some occasions, are taught about the benefits of eating healthy and the importance of healthy food.

        Another very unique thing the Japanese school has is souji-touban (cleaning duties). In American schools, every school has a janitor, who cleans the classroom, toilets and maintains the school in shape. In Japanese schools, there are no janitors. Students clean their own school. Everyday after school, their is a time dedicated to cleaning their school. Students are assigned different places of school to clean. This helps the students to use the school nice and cleanly. This enforces the philosophy of many hand make less work. It also teaches students the importance of teamwork and working with other students.



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