Education is one of the compulsory requirements of the UN. Each nation has their own education system and curriculum. Japanese education system differs slightly with that of most countries. Japan stresses the necessity for education by making it compulsory for nine years. Their system satisfies the demand to diversify human resources generated by industrial economic development. This paper discusses Japanese schooling system in terms of school categories and governance.
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Japan has a centralized education structure that follows a six-three-three grade structure and their academic year begins in April and terminates in March as stated by Katangawa & Oba (2010). The schools are divided into different levels which include, elementary school that students attend for six years from age six-twelve years and students are categorized according to their year from year one to six. Elementary school graduates move to junior year for three years and senior high school, if they are interested and qualify since it is optional, for three years. In addition, it allows students interested in pursuing professional degree to apply for the program while in high school. Primary and secondary education are based on the School Education Law and their curriculum is governed by national curriculum that comprises of various subjects, extra-curriculum activities and moral education (Katangawa & Oba, 2010).
Categorization of schools is based on academic level and abilities. For instance, there are special need schools for students with disabilities and regular schools established on the ground of equal education opportunities for all children as depicted by Katangawa & Oba (2010). At high school level, the classification is determined based on academic levels such as high academic, regular, night school for those who did not get the chance to attend regular school due to various reasons and specialized technical schools.
Specialized technical schools established by the Japanese systems takes into account the desire of individuals interested in joining the job market. They concentrate on specialized technical skills and practical vocational education (Katangawa & Oba, 2010). The three types of these schools are based on the admission requirement. They are comprised of profession training colleges that provide training for postsecondary graduates for a duration of one to four years, upper secondary specialized training school that offers practical vocational education based on senior secondary school for more than two years and the applicant must have a diploma in lower secondary school and specialized training college, general course that offers a variety of courses like dressmaking for anyone with no requirement according to Katangawa & Oba (2010).
Japan has both public schools, managed by the government through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and private schools administered by individuals established in accordance with the requirements of the Ministry in charge of education. The ministry makes all the decisions concerning education including establishment of new education institutions, resource allocations to schools and publishes guidelines for the national curriculum of primary, lower as well as upper secondary school education that applies to preschool up to upper grades of secondary school and special education programs. Primary and secondary schools are established by the education committee or governor of each prefecture as explicated by Katangawa & Oba (2010).
The Japanese education system is unique since they have classified their schools according to abilities and academic level giving everyone a chance to learn hence favors various sectors of the economy since it takes into account every person’s interest. However, it disadvantage universities since it makes the coordination of exchange programs with other countries difficult due to their academic calendar that goes from April through March unlike other countries that have their academic calendar running from January through December.
Kitangawa, F., & Oba, J. (2010). Managing differentiation of higher education system in Japan: connecting excellence and diversity. Higher Education. doi: 10.1007/s10734-009-9262-5
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