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1 I Outline of Japanese School System The school system in Japan was changed from a dual system to a single-track school system through educational reforms influenced by the United States after World War II. The 6-3 school system means not only extension of the period of compulsory education from 6 years to 9 (6+3) years, but also the articulation between elementary education schooling and secondary education schooling into a single-track school system.
As Japanese society developed and became more sophisticated, the incidence of advancement following compulsory education rapidly increased (educational explosion). It became difficult to meet the actual educational needs of people under the unified school system. Educational system reforms were needed to modify the single-track school system through establishment of colleges of technology and six-year secondary schools. Japanese educational system is completely established by law. Eight different types of schools are defined as primarily legitimated schools in Article 1 of the School Education Act (e.g. lineal). School system reforms have been implemented to build a life-long learning society. Cooperation or fusion between school education and social and out-of-school education are viewed as challenges leading to a relaxation of the rules of Japanfs educational system.
2 I Outline of Japanese School System This figure shows a single-track school system in Japan.
Fundamentally, the Japanese single-track school system is made up of elementary schools, lower secondary schools, upper secondary schools and universities (6- 3- 3- 4 years). This system was modified to introduce technical colleges in 1961 and comprehensive secondary schools in 1998, which increased peoplefs options and diversified the school system. However, this modification does not mean that the Japanese school system has become a dual system.
As part of the above modification, unification of kindergartens as preschool educational institutions and nursery schools as child care institutions, and introduction of the option of skipping grades in post-compulsory educational institutions, are under discussion.
3 I Outline of Japanese School System Under the dual school system the following two systems exist at the same time. The first system is the structured system from university (the highest level of educational institutions), that is a place for the most advanced study and research, to preparatory schools (grammar schools): or a system gfrom top to bottom.h The second system introduced during the modern period involves schooling for basic education, including teaching literacy to the common people. The single-track school system integrates the top-to-bottom school system with the bottom-to-top school system. Whereas the dual school system has been common in Europe historically characterized by aristocratic and hierarchical societies, the single-track school system is typical of the United States.
From the end of the 19th century to the early 20th century in Japan, following broad calls for democratization of education, the shift from the dual school system to the single-track school system was developed as a school unification movement. At first, only the elementary school levels were synthesized. During this transition period, there was a multi-channel school structure as a transitional, middle form of the two systems. Later, changes also occurred also at the secondary school level and in the basic education system, including the establishment of a lower division level of secondary schools and a shift to the single-track school system. However, what roles secondary schools, which connect compulsory and higher education, should take is a matter of perspective of the level of the educational system.
4 I Outline of Japanese School System Public kindergarten, elementary school, lower secondary school and upper secondary school
5 I Outline of Japanese School System Kindergartens are educational facilities that are superintended by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, Sports and Technology (MEXT) for children from 3 to 5 years old, and that give young children appropriate surroundings and encourage the development of their mind and bodies. While in theory school can only be established by the state, autonomous regional entities and scholastic corporations, the present time kindergartens can also be established by religious corporations and individuals.
Day care centers are welfare facilities for infants superintended by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
In Japanfs present educational system, day care centers and kindergartens comprise a dualized structure of institutions for infants in terms of age, time for service, content of care, teachersf qualifications and precincts. Given the uneven distribution of day care centers and kindergartens, ongoing changes in mothersf work situations, and the difficulty of achieving administrative and financial efficiency of facility maintenance due to the decline in birth rates, efforts to integrate and unify the two tier system of preschool education (day care centers and kindergartens) provide a challenge. Up to the present, attempts to integrate the Course of Study (kindergarten) with the Guide to Child Care (day care centers) and to construct both facilities on the same premise are permitted in order to unify their respective administrations that represent a special area for structural reform. The approved child institution system started in October, 2006. Under this system, kindergartens and day care centers with the following functions can be authorized by prefectural governors (prefectural boards of education in certain situations) as approved child institutions. This makes it possible to provide both children who lack childcare and children who do not lack childcare with education and day care. Implementation of child rearing support (counseling for child rearing and providing of places for parent-child gathering) is hoped for.
6 I Outline of Japanese School System While there is a movement towards unification of kindergartens and day care centers, they remain institutionally separate and distinct because of differences in aims and age spread. For example, kindergartens remain in charge of 3 to 5 year-olds while day care centers handle 0 to 5 year-olds.
However as birth rates are on the decline, the unification of the two is sought on the grounds that local communities need to raise their finance efficiency. MEXT has admitted that kindergartens could take care of children until the evening, because regionally there is an inadequate availability of day care centers in relation to demand, with long waiting lists. Therefore, there is a need and logic to dissolve the institutional separation of kindergartens and day care centers.
7 I Outline of Japanese School System Over time the number of kindergartens in Japan has decreased and as of May 1st, 2008 totaled 13,515. Approximately, 60% of them are private, and 15% of the private kindergartens are not corporate. The number of kindergarteners peaked in 1978 at approximately 2,500,000, and has decreased to 70% of that peak today. Enrollment rates in kindergartens peaked at 64.4% of eligible children during 1979- 81, and have decreased to 59.9%. The reasons behind this trend include both declines in birth rates and the increasing availability of and enrollment in day care centers. Day care centers today total 22,000 and take care of 1,800,000 children, which is as many as attend kindergartens.
Children can enter kindergartens from 3 years age up through the end of the preschool age group. Nowadays, enrollment by 4-year olds in 2-year preschools account for the largest proportion, followed by enrollment of 5-year-olds in a 1-year preschool and then 3-year-olds enrollment in a 3-year preschools. Of the nearly 110,000 full-time preschool teachers in national, public and private preschools, more than 90% are female.
8 I Outline of Japanese School System Kindergartens usually take charge of children for four hours, either only in the morning, or in the morning through lunch time. The instructional content follows the Course of Study for kindergartens approved by MEXT, and centers on education and play in accordance with local environments.
However, through revisions initiated in 1998, the emphasis has shifted to gzest for livingh in elementary schools, improved planning and the role of teachers.
9 I Outline of Japanese School System Elementary schools established in Japan under the compulsory education system aim to provide general basic education. The State, local governments and incorporated educational institutions have the right to establish such schools. Most elementary schools have been established by local governments except for schools attached to national universities and private schools. Under the system of gspecial zone for structural reform,h stock corporations will also be permitted to establish elementary schools.
According to the School Education Act, the management of educational expenses is left to the founders of schools. However, in the compulsory education schools, authority and responsibility are shared between the State and the prefectures as higher order governments in order to both ensure common approaches to nation building as well as to maintain and improve educational standards. (School Education Act --> VI-6)
The curriculums of the elementary schools are based on the Course of Study and consist of the following subjects (Japanese Language, Social Studies, Arithmetic, Science, Life Skills, Music, Drawing and Handcraft, Home Economics, Physical Education), Moral Education (--> IV-44 - 48), Special Activities (--> IV-49 - 63) and the Period of Integrated Study (--> IV-64 - 68). With the revised Course of Study in 2002, teaching of English during the Period of Integrated Study was approved with the provision of greater leeway for local school discretion, gcreation of special curricular-oriented schoolsh is being promoted.
10 I Outline of Japanese School System The management of public elementary schools is left to the municipal boards of education as founders. However, the state (MEXT) and prefectures (the boards of education) exercise authority mainly in educational personnel management (personnel administration) and curriculum management (guidance administration). This type of management is called a multistory structure.
Educational personnel are categorized as municipal officials. However, municipal boards of education have limited rights. These include submission of personnel reports on teachersf service and supervision of teachersf service to prefectural boards of education on personnel. Prefectures handle personnel matters including appointment and dismissal, the quorum and the emolument burden (Teachers salaries given by prefecture --> II-28). Furthermore, the state (MEXT) assumes financial responsibility for 1/2 of actual emoluments and outlays for teachers supported through prefectural funds based on the System of the National Treasury's Share of Compulsory Education Expenditures. Following the revision of the Course of Study in 2002, educational contents are primarily left to each schoolfs discretion. However, determination of the criteria and the character of the Course of Study and the administrative framework for textbook authorization have been retained by the state. In many cases, prefectural boards of education organize gstandard curriculum,h and help shoulder the guidance administration function through their roles as supervisors of small municipalities.
11 I Outline of Japanese School System The number of elementary schools in Japan is about 22,000 at present, and 99% are public (municipal-run, town-run and village-run) schools. The present number of students in Japan is about 7,240,000, and the number of teachers is about 410,000. Since primary education is compulsory and the enrollment rate is almost 100%. However, the scale of enrollment has been changing due to declining birth rates. The present number of schools is about 88.6% of that of the peak year (1955) while the current number of students is about 57.5% of the peak year (1960). The number of teachers has increased by 14% compared with FY1960.
The proportion of women to the number of teachers has increased consistently to the present level of 62.8%.
12 I Outline of Japanese School System The period of integrated study is a new concept established by the Course of Study which was adopted and implemented starting in 2002. However,it determined only the number of hours of schooling, leaving the contents and methods to the discretion of local schools. Specifically, there are four pillars identified with the eperiod of integrated study,f namely international understanding, educational information and technology, social welfare and human rights. These are carried out from elementary school levels (from the 3rd grade) through upper secondary schools.
These pictures shows scenes from the period of integrated study: the theme of this period is ginternational understanding.h
13 I Outline of Japanese School System Lower secondary schools were established following the extension of compulsory education from 6 years to 9 years under post-war educational reforms of compulsory schools. Lower secondary education consolidated advanced courses of national elementary schools and youth schools existing under the old system. The objectives of lower secondary schools are to cultivate qualities essential for effective citizenship. These are based on elementary school education and cover basic information on occupations, respect for diligence and awareness of differing skills, inculcating the ability to determine courses of action along with self and emotional control and a sense of fair play in social activities. (School Education Act -->VI-7)
As compulsory education, the educational contents of lower secondary schools are required to be similar. At the same time, since educational contents should have sufficient flexibility to be relevant to a studentfs courses after graduation and facilitate self growth during puberty, electives are provided.
The basis of public lower secondary school administration is similar to that in elementary schools, since both are compulsory municipal schools.
14 I Outline of Japanese School System The management of public elementary schools is left to municipal boards of education as founders. However, the state (MEXT) and prefectures (the boards of education) exercise authority mainly in the area of educational personnel management (personnel administration) and curriculum management (guidance administration). This is called a multistory structure.
Educational personnel are categorized as municipal officials. However, municipal boards of education have limited rights; they submit reports on teachersf service and on supervision of teachersf service to prefectural boards of education on personnel (Teachers salaries given by prefecture --> II-28). Prefectures have responsibilities over personnel affairs, including appointment and dismissal, the quorum and the emolument (financing) burden. The state (MEXT) finances of actual emoluments of teachers supported also by prefectural funds based on the System of the National Treasury's Share of Compulsory Education Expenditures (--> II-32). Following the revision of the Course of Study in 2002, the educational contents are primarily left to each schoolfs discretion. However, determination of the criteria and character of the Course of Study and handling of the administrative frameworks for textbook authorization have been retained by the state. In many cases, prefectural boards of education organize gstandard curriculum,h and and also handle the guidance administration function as educational supervisors of small municipalities.
15 I Outline of Japanese School System The number of lower secondary schools in Japan is about 11,000. Approximately 93% are public-municipal schools because lower secondary schools are compulsory educational organizations. The proportion of private schools is 6.2%. Almost all of the private lower secondary schools are linked to upper secondary schools and are part of an integrated system of six-year secondary educational organization. The number of students in Japan approximates 3,600,000. the number of full-time teachers is 250,000 with the current proportion of female teachers, at 40.7%, continuing to increase. Lower secondary schools are affected by the decline in birth rates no less than elementary schools. The current number of lower secondary schools is about 81.1% of the peak in 1955, while the current number of students is 64.8% of the level of the 1965 peak.
Lower secondary schools comprise the highest level of compulsory education. The proportion of attendance in upper secondary schools is 97.0%. By adding the number of students who attend specialized training colleges, this proportion continuing on with schooling after graduation from lower secondary schools rises to 97.7%.
16 I Outline of Japanese School System Lower secondary schools in Japan are compulsory and are a part of secondary education. Because of this, a common curriculum is set for all students, while at the same time meeting the requirement to deal with studentsf varied interests and abilities. Class instruction based on level of achievement (--> VI-35) has been widely adopted. With the introduction of course selectives, schools are better able to handle the varied interests and abilities of students.
17 I Outline of Japanese School System While continuity between lower secondary schools and upper secondary schools is not guaranteed, nor compulsory, the proportion of students going on to upper secondary schools is 97%. Public lower secondary schools are established by municipalities as components of the compulsory educational system while public upper secondary schools are established mainly by prefectures as non-compulsory education school. Achievement tests are required to enter upper secondary schools. The negative effects of these tests on education and instruction at lower secondary schools has been criticized despite the fact that virtually all students proceed on to secondary schools. Since lower secondary schools and upper secondary schools are integrated in many private schools, a shift in studentsf and their parentsf preferences from public to private secondary schools has been occurring. Given the above situation, comprehensive secondary schools have been defined as the tenth type of schools (at the time) in Article 1 of the School Education Act, under the revision of the Act undertaken in 1998. Comprehensive secondary schools are six-year-schools that are divided into a lower division (three years) and an upper division (three years). While it is still possible to transfer to lower secondary schools and upper secondary schools in mid-stream, the key feature of comprehensive secondary schools is their six-year integrated curriculum.
18 I Outline of Japanese School System There are three types of comprehensive six-year-secondary school education. Each type permits exceptions in curricula development. Secondary schools were established as a new school system to facilitate unified education. In public schools, local entities may establish all schools except type C ( tie-up-type), because lower secondary schools are established by municipalities and upper secondary schools are established by prefectures. An exception occurs for designated cities that are allowed to establish both lower secondary schools and upper secondary schools. Due to large differences between the teacher system and the financial system, municipalities encounter numerous difficulties. Cooperation between schools established by municipalities and schools set up by prefectures, and between national schools and prefectural schools is permitted and encouraged in the tie-up-type.
Cooperation and interaction between kindergartens and elementary schools, elementary schools and lower secondary schools, and upper secondary schools and universities has been promoted because of the necessity to ensure that studentsf progress in learning proceeds as smoothly as possible.
19 I Outline of Japanese School System Since the comprehensive six-year secondary school was only first established in 1999, the numbers of schools and students are small. However, the establishment of additional six-year secondary schools is likely to accelerate since there are movements promoting establishment of such schools in each prefecture. Cooperation between kindergartens - elementary schools, elementary schools - lower secondary schools and between lower secondary schools - upper secondary schools will become an increasing reality.
As discussed when initially formulating this system, since the number of six-year school is limited, there is a risk that they might become gschools for eliteh oriented to university entrance examinations. As a matter of fact, there are some cases of comprehensive six-year public schools with too many applicants. Careful oversight by the boards of education is required.
20 I Outline of Japanese School System Physical prerequisites are necessary to establish a secondary school that integrates a lower secondary school with an upper secondary school, such as ensuring that their facilities are located on the same premises. The school in this picture was newly constructed in 1994 and it is the first comprehensive six-year secondary school in Japan.
21 I Outline of Japanese School System The upper secondary school was established as an individual organization follow-up to nine-year compulsory education based on educational reforms implemented after World War‡U. Later, educational institutions subsequent to compulsory education were diversified through institutionalization of colleges of technology, specialized training colleges and comprehensive six-year secondary schools. The institutional framework of upper secondary schools themselves diversified through rapidly increasing advancement rates to upper secondary schools along with the diversification of students.
The gthree principles of upper secondary schoolsh (small school district system, co-education system and comprehensive course) were formed as an institutionalized framework when the upper secondary school system was established. This institutional framework, however, subsequently diversified. There are four types of institutions: a) full-time course, part-time course (day/ night/ day and night), correspondence course classified by the form of class, b) graded course, credit course (used together except for a quasi-credit system at the university) classified by the form of accreditation or completion, c) ordinary education course, specialized education course, comprehensive course classified by major, and d) general course, advanced course (one year after graduation from a general course), specialized course (one year after graduation from lower secondary schools) classified by educational level. Specialized education courses comprise vocational education courses. There are agricultural courses, technology courses, commercial courses, fisheries courses, home economics courses, and nursing courses in vocational education programs. (School Education Act --> II-37)
22 I Outline of Japanese School System Education which addresses the needs of studentsf needs and that is relevant to studentsf individual situations has become a basic feature of Japanese education since 97.7% of lower secondary school students receive upper secondary school education after graduation from lower school levels. Therefore diverse educational opportunities are provided following completion of lower secondary schools. These include colleges of technology, upper division of comprehensive six-year-secondary schools, specialized training colleges (upper secondary course, upper secondary specialized training colleges), and miscellaneous schools. This is in addition to the conventional main stream progression from lower secondary schools to upper secondary schools. Moreover, upper secondary schools themselves have been promoting integrated department and credit system schools since they could not accommodate the diverse range of students who go to upper secondary school within the conventional framework of gfull time school, part-time courseh and gordinary course, vocational courseh.
23 I Outline of Japanese School System The enrollment rates in upper secondary schools in Japan reached 97% in 2002. While the upper secondary education is not compulsory, it is regarded as equivalent to the compulsory education and has required special arrangements in order to accommodate the diverse range of students enrolled. Advanced courses (vocational courses or comprehensive courses) have diversified and have been established in the credit system in upper secondary schools. Nowadays, diverse options and flexible responses are needed due to the decreasing demand for part-time courses for working students arising from economic growth accompanied by the increasing demand for correspondence courses for school students choosing not to attend full time.
In addition, approximately 2/3rds of students proceed to the tertiary educational level consisting of universities, junior colleges and specialized training colleges. This situation demands that adapted guidance be provided that addresses studentsf interests, aptitudes and competence.
24 I Outline of Japanese School System There are six types of courses in upper secondary schools, namely Agriculture, Industry, Commerce, Fisheries, Home-Economics, Nursing, that comprise specialized education courses for upper secondary schools. Each course has distinct divisions with a total range of 400 divisions.
25 I Outline of Japanese School System While the colleges of technology might appear to be similar to special / vocational schools that has special curriculums and specialized training colleges under the old Japanese educational system, they are completely different institutions. During an early stage of era of high economic growth Japan, demands for technical experts to function as gmiddle man powerh for industries grew. Colleges of technology were first established in 1967. In their five-year educational programs, the first three-years correspond to upper secondary school and the last two years correspond to junior college. The advantage is that these colleges provide five-years of systematic technical education. The disadvantage is that they become fixed on training of mid-level technicians as the demand for highly skilled technicians by industry becomes stronger.
The colleges of technology represent a new type of educational institution that were added after the enactment of the School Education Act. They became an exceptional element of the single-track school system linking upper secondary and higher education. In addition, since it in practice it was difficult to transfer to universities during the early phases of these institutions, there was a concern that the single-track school system would become a double track one. However, this concern has receded as the flexibility of Japanfs educational system had increased and the diversity of higher education has been promoted.
Although the educational content of the colleges of technology during their first three years of instruction was based on upper secondary school curricula and standards, they do not conform to the guidelines of the Course of Study. Also although they are categorized as institutions of higher education, they are completely different from universities as they do not have faculty meetings for educational and organizational management. This makes their systematic characteristics unclear, having features of both upper secondary and higher education.
26 I Outline of Japanese School System The biggest problem encountered by the colleges of technology in the Japanese school system, is that the element of the dual school system was brought into the democratic 6-3 single-track school system that was put into practice under the educational reforms instituted after World War II. The 5-year systematic curriculum that corresponds to three years of upper secondary education and two years of lower higher education do not correspond with the curriculums of upper secondary schools, universities and junior colleges in Japanfs single-track school system. This made transferring to colleges of technology for high school graduates and transferring to universities for graduates of colleges of technology difficult. In other words, colleges of technology tended to become gdead endh institutions because they were seen as schools goutsideh of Japanfs 6-3-3-4 single-track school system.
This problem got serious with the increase in the demand for transfers to universities by graduates of colleges of technology concurrent with advances in the structure of industry. It was solved with a revision of gCriteria for University Establishment,h which facilitated the transfer of units which students attained in colleges of technology to universities. In short, a shift from a gdual systemh of schools to gdiversification of educational opportunitiesh occurred involving genlargement of choicesh. However, this development raised questions regarding the social functions and viability of the colleges of technology.
27 I Outline of Japanese School System The number of colleges of technology has remained basically unchanged since 1985. About 90% of all colleges of technology are national institutions while a few of them have a community and private status. While the number of students also has remained almost constant, student advancement rates to universities have increased rapidly following restructuring of the institutions, and the numbers and rates continue to increase. At present, more than one in three graduates from colleges of technology moves on to university education.
28 I Outline of Japanese School System (1) Tokyo Metropolitan College of Aeronautical Engineering
(2) School emblem of Tokyo Metropolitan College of Aeronautical Engineering
(3) Aeronautical, Mechanical and Electronics Engineering Gallery
(4) Experiments in Advanced PhysicsiDepartment of Aeronautical Engineering, 4th gradej
29 I Outline of Japanese School System Under the School Education Act, gUniversitiesh are regarded as one form of educational institution, including gjunior collegesh and ggraduate schools.h Due to declining birth rates in Japan resulting in a decreasing population of persons under 18 years old, the relationships between these three institutions have been changing. Enrollment rates in post-secondary schools reach approximately 70% of the university age population. Under circumstances in which more than 70% of students register to attend private universities and more than 90% register to attend private junior colleges, securing entrance to post-secondary education is problem to many students. The abolition of junior college and their conversion into universities, the reorganization of technical fields in response to studentsf interests and needs, the reformation and transformation of national universities into national university corporations, and the establishment of professional schools in graduate schools represent broad national trends. These trends, in turn, impact upon the quantity and quality of higher education.
The aforementioned reforms were required because of the increasing sophistication of the Japanese economy, the increasing transformation of Japan into information society, and the need for universities to respond to internationalization and globalization. Various issues that have arisen linked to this restructuring of he character of Japanese universities. One is that Japanese universities have often been described as gdifficult to enter and easy to graduate.h Others include the need to improve the efficiency of the distribution of of higher educational costs, and the need to develop improved evaluation systems and independent administrative systems.
30 I Outline of Japanese School System Until recently, there were three forms of universities in Japan, national, public and private (incorporated educational institutions), and their legal characteristics were clearly distinguishable. However, under evolving national reforms concerning administration and finance, reducing the number of teachers, improving the quality of universities, and make the allocation of state funds became major tasks. After April 2004, all national universities changed their mode of establishment and currently are now structured as gnational university corporations.h Their management has become similar to that of private universities to the extent that educational personnel are no longer considered as public servants and the university accounting systems have changed to that of enterprises.
The management of the incorporated national universities is left to directors under the leadership of the university president. Participation by outside members is substantial, as they account for more than half of the members in the supervision and administrative conference. As a result of this change, management by gfaculty meeting,h decision-making bodies that used to have authority over university personnel and financial affairs as well as educational research, will undergo change.
The autonomous management by incorporated institutions involves setting a target and a plan every six years. However, there are some misgivings about the relationships and interactions between the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on the one hand, and the university corporations, particularly with regards to management capacities.
31 I Outline of Japanese School System The number of universities in Japan has increased constantly, but the number of national universities began to decline in 2003 through a process of amalgamation. The number of junior colleges in Japan has also been declining since 1995 due to mergers with universities, as well as abolishment. Although the number of university students has increased to the present, it is certain that the number of students will begin to decline in the future due to expected declines in enrollment rates and a declining population of 18 year olds. Also the number of junior college students has been decreasing rapidly since the peak year in 1995, and has almost halved at the present. By contrast, the number of graduate school students has doubled during the last ten years, and continues to increase thanks to the establishment of professional graduate schools.
There is a large discrepancy in the number of university teachers when comparing national and public universities on the one hand, and private universities on the other, particularly in terms of the ratio the number of students per teacher. The figures are: 10.2 students per teacher for national universities, 10.8 for public universities, and 24.6 for private universities. This is problematic given the fact that many teachers at national and public universities also teach in graduate schools and that the majority of departments in private universities are for liberal arts.
32 I Outline of Japanese School System Japanfs national university entrance examination system is totally different from that of a private university. National universities carry out two examinations of their own along with the results of the examination administered by the National Center for University Entrance Examination (NCUEE). While private universities basically select students using their own examinations, the number of private universities which use the examination administered by the NCUEE has increased in recent years once private junior colleges started to use the NCUEE in 2004.
33 I Outline of Japanese School System Special needs education for challenged children was introduced into the formal school system through the legal confirmation of right off all Japanese citizens to receive education after World War ‡U. As a result, compulsory education was guaranteed for school-aged challenged children although the support network for maintaining such education was not evenly promoted. Schooling for the challenged became a part of compulsory education in 1979. During that time, the conditions and philosophy of education for challenged children changed from segregation involving different methods and opportunities to broader patterns of integration with ordinary children. At the present, the key challenge is to define and operationalize what universal education for challenged children should be.
Conventional criteria for schools, classrooms and guidance often are not appropriate for meeting the educational needs for children with multiple and diverse disabilities. Therefore some composite schools with the functions and facilities to meet such needs have been established since the revision of School Education Act in 2006 under the framework and auspices of special needs education.
34 I Outline of Japanese School System Prefectural governments are required to establish schools for special needs education. Based on the levels of impairments, special needs education classes are established in ordinary schools. Disabilities are divided into six categories: intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, health impairments, partially sighted, hard of hearing, and others. From the perspective of integration, special resource classrooms are provided for challenged children who originally attend ordinary classes, and educational visitation, in which teachers visit studentsf homes to instruct them, is arranged for severely challenged children who have difficulty attending normal schools.
35 I Outline of Japanese School System The number of schools for the blind (current special needs education school for the visually challenged) and the deaf (current special needs education school for the aurally challenged) in Japan has hardly changed over time. However, the number of schools for the challenged other than the blind and for the deaf (current special needs education school for the mentally challenged) has been increasing since their formal establishment became compulsory in 1979. The number of students in schools for the blind and for the deaf has decreased to about 1/3 of 1950 levels. The reasons are not only that the total number of students in Japan has decreased, but also that the number of blind or deaf children have declined due to advances and improvements in medical science. The number of students entering schools for the challenged other than the blind and the deaf has increased since 1979 because of the increase in the number of children with multiple and severe disabilities attending school. This is because of a decrease in the number of children not attending school as education became compulsory, an increase in the number of children with multiple and severe disabilities and the establishment of a new category for disability.
The number of teachers has increased in absolute terms as well as the ratio of students to teachers for all three types of schools for challenged children. Currently, the average number of students per teacher is 1.14 for schools for the blind, 1.37 for schools for the deaf and 1.62 for schools for the challenged other than the blind and the deaf.
36 I Outline of Japanese School System (1) School buildings for the challenged and school buses. All teachers stand in front of the building to meet their students every morning.
(2) Students come to school by way of school bus.
37 I Outline of Japanese School System Specialized training colleges and miscellaneous schools are not regular schools, and are not defined in Article 1 of the School Education Act. Nevertheless, school establishment criteria and curriculum are stated in the same article. In other words, these colleges and schools differ from private supplementary schools run by individuals, as they are categorized as gnon-regular institutional schools.h Whereas for the schools defined in Article 1 of the School Education Act, founders are confined to the State, local governments and incorporated educational institutions, specialized training college and miscellaneous schools can be established by the other entities.
The specialized training colleges are defined as having a certain scale and standard among existing miscellaneous schools. They were formalized institutionally in order to expand learning opportunities at the upper secondary educational and higher educational levels covering broad technical skills, qualifications and liberal arts.
(--> II-36)
38 I Outline of Japanese School System Specialized training colleges are divided into three courses (upper secondary course/specialized course/general course) based on the requirements of students. The highest level of such courses is defined as a specialized course (the term is more than two years after completion of upper-secondary education). Students completing the course can transfer to universities or colleges. It can be said that there is an institutional equivalency between upper secondary specialized courses and upper secondary schools, and between specialized courses and universities and colleges. In recent years, the number of students who graduate from universities or junior colleges and enter specialized training colleges has been increasing. Therefore specialized training colleges are providing diverse opportunities for education for Japanfs life-long learning society.
Specialized training colleges are required to meet set criteria for establishing special training colleges as specified by an ordinance of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, as gnon-regular institutional schoolsh.
39 I Outline of Japanese School System Specialized training colleges were established on the basis of miscellaneous schools. There were slightly fewer than 1,000 schools at the initial stage of the institutionalization in 1976. While the number of schools has continued to increase, in recent years this number has remained constant. Since some of the miscellaneous schools have converted to specialized training colleges, and the number of the former has been decreasing consistently.
The number of students attending specialized training colleges has decreased since 1993 due to declining birth rates, while the number of specialized training colleges has remained constant. The number of miscellaneous schools has declined to 1/6th or less of their peak once specialized training colleges were established.
40 I Outline of Japanese School System (1)Buildings of specialized training colleges
(2) Students of architecture studies are operating CAD (computer-aided design)
(3) Students of graphic design studies
(4) Training room for welfare information studies
(5) Motor-mechanic studies; the right side is a lecture room and the left floor imitates a selling agentfs room. Because specialized training colleges must teach not only modern technology but also knowledge for selling according to social needs, computer are required basic knowledge in each of the studies.
41 I Outline of Japanese School System It is said at international meetings that education largely contributed to the modernization of Japan. However, the development of the Japanese social system before the Meiji period contributed to the modernization of Japan involving a shift from the feudal period to a modern state. Moreover, the spread of the eTerakoyaf as educational institutions for the people leading to the worldfs highest educational enrollment rates largely contributed to the establishment of Japanfs modern public educational system. The establishment and the development of the modern public educational system in Japan during the Meiji period went through 3 stages. These were (a) the introduction of the developed western model during the early Meiji period, (b) the establishment of a Japanese style system by Arinori Mori, the first Minister of Education, and (c) the provision of free tuition for compulsory education accompanied by the extension of compulsory education parallel with improvements in enrollment rates. After that, by intensifying eImperial nationalism and framing the objectives of education in terms of national control over values, Japan efficiently achieved such objectives within the framework of establishing a ewealthy nation and strong armyf and a modern capitalist state. Japan also became a politically and economically homogeneous nation but education then moved towards militarism both prior to and during World War ‡U. During this period, education was extremely controlled by the prevailing militaristic ideology that lacked rationality. Finally, this educational system collapsed. After World War ‡U, under the leadership of the United States, reforms promoting democratization of education were instituted. The sovereignty of the people in education and educational rights were ensured and these reforms in turn contributed to social reforms and social development during the post-war period.
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