I would like to introduce Japanese education systems today. We have kindergartens, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges ( two year collages and four year collages) and graduated schools in Japan.
Basically we go to kindergarten for two to three years. In my daughter’s case she went to there for three years when she turned three years old. Our school starts on April. That is the most different part from America. After that we go to elementary school for six years. This part is also different from America. We also go to middle school for three years. We have to go to from elementary school to middle school regally. On the other hand, we can chose we start to work or keep on going to school after we graduate from middle school. When I was a middle school student, there were two to three students who started to work in each class. However, most of middle school students go to high school since my days. We go to high school for three years. It is also different. When we graduate from high school, most of us turn eighteen years old. After graduation, some of them enroll in college, and the others start to work.
As I already mentioned that high school is kind of option for us, so, high schools have various courses. We have various high schools. For instance; high schools that focus on learning agriculture, business, art, languages, music and so on. Of course, we also have some high schools that focus on studying and preparing to enroll in college. Each prefecture has such kinds of high schools.
We also have public schools, private schools and national schools. Basically everyone can enroll in public kindergarten, elementary school, middle school without taking an entrance exams. If students would like to go to private school or national school, they have to take an entrance exams. So, there are some children who go to kind of cram schools even though they are just two or three years old. In their case, they prepare to take the entrance exams of kindergarten. You might not be able to believe that, but in some major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kanagawa, Kobe, Hakata, Nagoya, we have super high level private schools. Most of the case, they have kindergarten school to college. After they can enroll in the kindergarten, it will be much easier for them to go to the elementary, middle, high school and the college without taking any entrance exam. That is why many parents who are enthusiastic to their children’s education make their children go to cram schools when they turn two to three years old.
Each prefecture has a national school. The school also have from kindergarten to college. However, most of the case, students have to take the entrance exams after they graduate from each kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school. Compared to public schools, in both private schools and national schools, since there are good students and parents who are enthusiastic to their children’s education, many students would like to go to the schools if they think about they are planning to go to high level college.
In Japan high schools and colleges are option, and we do not need to go to there. So, no matter what private, national, public both high schools and colleges have each level from low to high. Of course, high level high schools and colleges are difficult for students to enroll in. If the students would like to go to high level high school or college, they have to study hard to pass the entrance exams. Most of middle school and high school students who want to go to such high school and college go to cram school after school.
I have heard that many American people say that in Japanese college it is the hardest to pass the exam, but it is easy to graduation. I think it is a stereo type opinion. It is not easy for Japanese students to graduate from college. Especially when they major in science, compared to majoring in art, it is much more difficult. Even if they major in art, if their grades were not good, it would be difficult to get a good job. So, I guess that Japanese college students study hard as well as American students. ( I am not sure because I have no experience to go to American college, so I can not compare.) However, compared to entrance exams, graduation exams are not so difficult for students.
I think Japanese students have to think about their future since they are young. At lease when they turn middle school students, they have to start to think about their future. I think preparing and thinking about our future is good for us.
After you read this blog entry, you might think that Japanese education systems do not have free. Of course, some students study hard, but we really enjoy our school life. In addition to that, we choose our schools by ourselves. Before we enroll in college, we already decide our major, and after we enroll in college, we can not cancel and change our major. If we would like to change our major, we have to take entrance exams again.
In addition, when I was a high school student, two year colleges were quite popular among female students. Although I went to four year college, some of my friends went to the schools. There were lots of private two year colleges. However, right now two year colleges are getting down and down. Although each prefecture has a public two year college, right now they changed, and they have become public four year colleges.