Japanhas one of the best educated populations in the world. There is zeroilliteracy because of 100 percent enrollment in compulsory grades.The education system includes 6 years in elementary school, 3 yearsjunior high school, followed by 3 years of senior high school, andfinally 4 years of university. The elementary and junior high school,which takes nine years, is compulsory in the country. While seniorhigh school is not compulsory, the enrollment rate is 96 percent andabout 46 percent of those who graduate from high school go to collegeor university. The ministry of education ensures that the level ofeducation is uniform throughout the country. There are three terms inwhich all the students are required to attend. Students take theircourses in fixed classrooms expect for laboratory work and practicaltrainings. In the elementary education, one teacher is responsiblefor teaching all the subjects in a single class. In high school,however, teachers specialize in different subjects (Ishikida, 2005).
Theclassroom instruction in Japan is uniform across all levels and ishighly scripted. Teaching is coherent and it draws on a wide range ofpedagogical traditions. Teaching focuses on covering the fit forpurpose curriculum developed over time, and transmission of knowledgeessential for preparing students for the end of the term and nationalexams. To achieve this, teachers rely heavily on work sheets, textbooks, and examples. They emphasize on practical examples andpractice that creates long lasting experiences. Teachers furtheremphasize mastery of particular procedures and the capacity torepresent problems in a clear manner. The institutional environmentincorporates a top down approach in which the teacher is accountabledepending on the performance of students.
Unlikemany countries such as the United States, teachers in Japan do notemphasize much on homework. Although they give their studentshomework, they do not spend much time going over them. Instead,teachers spend much of their tome discussing the new concepts andhelping students to familiarize with them. In addition, teachersencourage whole class group discussion. This makes learners as activerecipients of knowledge as well as constructivists, where theyconstruct their own knowledge. In order to pass information, teachersuse various teaching practices that capture the attention of studentsand ensure that they remain focused. Afterwards, the teachersevaluate the gained knowledge of students by giving them a chance topractice. Students can brainstorm either individually or in groupswhere they discuss what they learned. The teachers are very devotedto their students and move around to ensure that all students haveunderstood whatever they were taught. This means that education islearner centered the reason why Japan education is of high quality.Japan students take unified education system to evaluate theirknowledge and determine whether they will go into another level.These exams are highly valued and are taken at the end of the year.
Japaneducation system emphasizes on quality education. Likewise, people inthe country acknowledge the importance of education hence, the 100percent enrollment. Teachers in various levels are trained andcertified in colleges and universities to ensure that they arequalified to impart knowledge on students. The performance ofstudents has a great impact on promotion of teachers. This explainsthe great commitment that teachers show towards their students.Although there may be some flaws in the system, Japan’s educationsystem is one of the best in the world (Ishikida, 2005).
Ishikida,M. Y. (2005). Japaneseeducation in the 21st century.New York: iUniverse.