Japanese people are known for their health, intelligence, wellness and politeness. We always hear about Japan and the amazing work ethic that the people have. What makes Japan so unique and different from the rest of the world? We believe it stems from their incredible education system.
Here are 7 unique ways the Japanese education system differ from ours.
1. Manners are taught before knowledge.
In Japan, young students don’t take exams until they are in the fourth grade. They are occasionally given small tests, but nothing too drastic. The reasoning behind this is because they believe the first 3 years of school is not to judge the child’s knowledge, but to establish manners and to develop their character. The students are taught to respect everyone, be gentle towards animals and respect mother nature. The students are also taught to be generous, compassionate and empathetic.
2. Most Japanese schools don’t employ janitors or custodians. The students clean the school.
The students clean the classrooms, cafeteria and even the toilets themselves. As for the cleaning duties, the students are divided into small groups and assigned specific tasks that rotate throughout the year. They believe that requiring students to clean up after themselves teaches the students to value their school. It also teaches them to work in a team and to help one another.
3. After school workshops are very popular in Japan.
For Japanese students to get into a good junior high school, students typically enroll in a preparatory school or attend private after-school workshops. Students returning from their extracurricular courses late in the evening is a common sight in Japan. What’s even more shocking is that students in Japan are expected to study even during the holidays and the weekends. With all of the preparations, students in this country almost never repeat grades in primary, lower secondary, or secondary school.
4. Nearly all students wear uniforms.
Almost all junior high schools require their students to wear school uniforms. The traditional Japanese school uniform consists of a military style outfit for boys and a sailor’s outfit for girls. The uniform policy is intended to remove social barriers among students and get them into a working mood. The uniforms help the students get into a working mood because when they wear the uniform, they are reminded that they are students.
5. The school attendance rate in Japan is about 99.99%.
Be honest, we’ve all played hooky at least once or twice in our life. However, this doesn’t happen in Japan since their students don’t skip classes, nor do they arrive late for school. Japan claims that around 91% of the students in Japan reported that they never, or only in some classes, ignored what the teacher lectured. How many other countries have such a strong statistic?
6. A single test decides the students’ futures.
Near the end of high school, Japanese students are required to take an important exam that decides their future for higher education based on an exam score. The exams are so hard that the period of preparation for entrance to higher education is often times called “examination hell.” Every college in Japan has a certain score requirement and if the student doesn’t score high enough, they are rejected. The competition is very competitive — only about 76% of high school graduates continue their education.
7. College days are the best days. It’s often times regarded as a holiday.
Due to the college entrance exams being so difficult, Japanese students typically take a break after being admitted to college. In Japan, college is considered to be the best years of a person’s life. People often call this period a “vacation” before joining the work force.