103. Problems of education after World War 2     and in the future in Japan

         Japanese version, here
Shoji Sugita

   The main reasons for the problems educational in Japan stem from very fast economic progress
   and technological development post WW2. This progress was possible because of the very low
   percentage of military budgets - only 1 % of GDP for a long time. Therefore, Government could
   have supplied a lot of budgets - 99% of GDP to the other areas, for instance, education, industry,
   technology, social welfare, transportation and so forth.

   These problems also come from a kind of cultural diseases in developed countries. There are many
   so called "extravagant sons or daughters" and people are so enjoying concerned about a lot of
   entertainments, but there is a lack of concern for morality. Many people now show less respect for
   elderly and authorities. Money is the top priority in their lives. Japan has been infected by these
   cultural diseases and there're difficult to cure.
   More, there has been peace for long-time in Japan, so it causes tension to realize the real world
   could be weaker and weaker. Many are used to averting their eyes from the situations in the world,
   and keep a brave spirit. Some Japanese say, "Japan is a safe, peaceful country in the world. No problem,
   no probem", selfishly. It's a problem for the world.

  How to change Japan

   It is somewhat difficult, but anyway there would be some necessary tension, and cause from reduced
   economic growth, unemployment, trade deficits and so forth, but chiefly caused from wars and military
   activities outside of Japan. Now the Japanese people are discussing the dispatching of self-defence
   forces for Iraq. How many soldiers, how will the areas there, safe or dangerous or how good their
   eqipments is and so forth. If some soldiers die or get injured, the tension suddenly rise up.

  How to change education in Japan
  1. There should be more competitive public schools
. For instance, more school choices, more
   civilian principals, a little more difference between salaries of good teachers and average teachers

  2. Competition between public schools and cram schools and prepschools
   Since the War, there have been a lot of cram schools for elementary and junior high school students
   and prepschools for senior high students in Japan, and recently the businesses have become equally
   concerned for growth, but on the other hand, power of public schools is going down so much. So, actually
   the power of Japanese education is not going down so much, but the situation is sever for poor
   families, so they have to change the situation.

  3. Establish systems of commendation for good teachers or good schools.
    Therefore, it would be better to establish "School Foundation" in public schools and appreciate their
    excellent achivements and commend them with extra bonuses or so. Of couse, the accounts of
    the Fund should be clear, fair and effective.
  4. Re-training of teachers
   At present, re-training systems are not very effective for teachers. There are a lot of lectures that
   are almost abstract, idealistic and speeches made by some famouse people. School boards have to
   update the systems and focus to be more practical trainings. For instance, to operate computers skillfully,
   practical English, useful technologies and techniques for counselling the students and so forth. Lastly
  they should provide more money for the trainings.

  5. Students' discipline
   National laws prohibit teachers to administer corporal punishment to students and also suspensions
   from the elementary and junior high schools. In many cases class envornment and school environment
   is becoming worse. Principals and teachers should administer other disciplinary methods, for instance,
   in-school sespensions, detentions after school, community services etc.

  6. Establish charter schools
   There are no charter schools in Japan, so Japan must establish charter schools for very nervous
   or very tallented or students with very bad behavior newly.

  7. Make new systems of skipping grades
   At present, any smart senior high studens cannot skip a year or two years to go on to Universities,
   public or private, till the age of 18 except in a very few cases. It's too severe for these excellent
   students. Japan has to make a new law so it will be possible to enter Universities at a little younger age.

  8. Some other issues on education
     Class size

   In Japan the problem of class size is not such a big problem. For there are already less forty students
   per class at most schools and generally, somewhere less than 30. Of course, about the size, the smaller,
   the better, but preferable above 25 students per class.

    Juvenile delinquency
   It is a big problem in Japan, too, but the most important factor of the problem is how the teachers
   treat such boys and girls with affection and confidence.
 Considerable points of Japanese history and Japanese national character
  1. Meiji Restoration

   As I described before in another article, The Meiji Restoration of Japan around 1860 was one of the
   most rare revolution in the world history. For "Samurai" destroyed their own classes by themselves.
   At that time they observed the situation of China and Asian countries that had been invaded by European
   countries and the U. S., and thought the following:
   If Japan would have been continued the system of Shogunate which appreciated the Bushi-class at the
   highest, Japan would be invaded by foreign countries like them. So, they destroyed their own systems 
   by themselves and studied a lot of knowledge, culture and civilization from European countried and the
   U. S., and built rapidly a new modern country. This proves Japanese in essence are intelligent and brave.

  2. Delicate feeling and skillful achievement in group
   Foreigners have to appreciate their delicate feeling and skillful acomplishments in group. So for instance,
   it is better to have a little difference between salaries of very good teachers and the average ones and
   the skipping grades to enter Universities one or two years earlier than most students.

  3. "Invasion by Japan"
   The opinion of "Invasion by Japan" will act as thorn in their throat in the future on two points. One
   of them acts as Japanese self-controlled on activities overseas and the other acts as their patriotism
   particulary against China. They say, "China always interferes with our demestic affairs, saying " Invasion
   by Japan". These both will effect educational issues, too.

10/15/2003 Described