Education in Japan is free

Japan's education system

Education System

The Japanese school system is often referred to as the 6-3-3-4 system, according to the number of years one attended the respective schools, and in this form arose in its main features in the early post-war period. The Japanese education system is divided into kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school and university. There are both public and private schools. School holidays are the same throughout the country - there is no regulation in Japan that corresponds to the German “stay seated”. School uniforms are common in middle and high schools, but seldom in kindergartens and elementary schools. Schooling is compulsory for nine years and attending school is free during this time. Unlike in Germany, the Japanese school year does not start in summer, but on April 1st.

Since education is very important in Japan, the illiteracy rate, for example, is below 5%. However, there are also downsides to the education system: Many students complain about the unusually high pressure to perform that is exerted by schools and parents - sometimes as early as kindergarten age.

Attending a kindergarten is not part of compulsory schooling in Japan, although over 90 percent of all children attend one of the two types of kindergarten, yochien or hoikuen (“after-school care”) for a few years. in the hoikuen children from the age of two months are cared for, im yochien Admission is only possible from the age of three. Learning Hiragana, one of the two syllabary scripts in Japanese, begins in kindergarten.

As soon as a Japanese child has reached the age of six, it is subject to compulsory schooling and usually attends the public elementary school in their community. The duration is six years. The proportion of private primary schools is less than one percent.

Middle school lasts three years. If you want to attend a prestigious private school, you have to take an entrance exam before entering. As with elementary schools, however, private schools are also rare in middle schools. As a rule, uniforms are compulsory at Japanese middle schools. Compulsory schooling officially ends in Japan after the age of 15 with the completion of middle school after grade 9.

Although attendance at secondary school is no longer compulsory, around 97 percent of all pupils still attend the three-year secondary school. Both an entrance examination and the payment of a fee are compulsory for attending secondary school. Both the level of difficulty and the level of the school fee vary greatly depending on the reputation of the school selected. A quarter of the students attend private schools. Graduating from high school allows formal entry into a university, but there is no final examination. In addition to the general high school, there are also special technical colleges that do not prepare so much for university education, but rather impart subject-specific knowledge.

Although the proportion of all students who start studying after completing secondary school has been particularly high in recent years and is now over 50 percent, admission to a (above all respected) Japanese university is usually very difficult . The entrance exams are considered to be particularly tough and it is not uncommon for Japanese students to spend all of their time and energy preparing for this exam for months. Because once you are enrolled at a well-known university, all doors are open to you in your later career.

Universities mainly offer two different types of study: the four-year course, which ends with a bachelor's degree and followed by a master's and doctoral degree, and the short course, which lasts only two years, ensures a quick career start and is mostly popular with women who do not want to stay in the labor market for long, but later retire from their work early because of the household and child-rearing.

An important part of the Japanese education system are the "juku", the so-called Paukschulen, which are completely unknown in the German education system. These private institutions are intended to complement the teaching of the regular schools and specifically prepare them for the entrance exams of the next higher school type. As early as elementary school age, a third of Japanese students are sent to these institutions by their parents, whose lessons often take place in the late afternoon and / or evening and therefore leave little free time for the children and young people.

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