The Importance of Nighttime Course
Education in Japanese High Schools
- Miyako Tachibana
Haneda High School,
Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 12 (2002), 224-5.
In general concern, one
strength of the Japanese people is based on the school system, however the
systems cause problems that we need to consider. I will give some
information and present a proposal.
I am a high school teacher in Tokyo. I don't use
English so much in my daily work. I will give you some information about some
problems being faced in Japanese high schools. A wide spread concern is that
one of the Japanese people's strengths is based on the school systems, however
the systems cause dark effects as well.
First I wish to briefly explain Japanese school
systems. Mandatory education is a 9-year program. Students have to attend from
the age 6-15. After the age 15 students who want go onto higher education have
to pass the entrance examination.
The senior high school course is a 3-year program, nobody cannot skip the
course before college education. Therefore the first academic barrier of
Japanese children is at the age of 15.
High schools are classified into 5 courses.
General course for preparing college education technical course for basic
technical work, business course for basic paper work, agricultural course for
basic agriculture work, and night course for daytime work student. The General course
requires a higher score in exams than any other courses.
In the case of Tokyo the student population
ratio of each courses is general is 65%, Business is 10%, technical is 8%,
agricultural is 7%, and night time is 5%. The majority of students take the
general course but the general course is also classified into different levels
depending on the range of student's achievement. 98% of middle school graduate
students go to high school.
Now we have ethical and social problems. There
are family and school violence including murder, bullying (Japanese ijime)
which sometimes leads to suicide, drug addiction and under age girl
prostitution. These symptoms cause students to drop out of high school or
refuse to attend school in lower level education.
From my point of view, the causes of these
problems are not simple. But losing traditional Japanesemorals is one of them, for example,
expressing respect to senior age persons. To work well together as a team. and
changing of sense of life expectations especially in the younger ages.School teachers have tactics for
improving these symptoms in class and school extra curricular programs. However
there are no clear changes.
I think a lack of optimistic hope in Japanese
society is another reason for the problems. There is a prolonged recession due
to the high increase of senior citizens and expanding foreign population, high
decrease of child population and less tax revenue. Even more in public schools
local education boards have a strong power, each school has very little
autonomy. Those factors contribute to the rise in the number of mental
disorders and apathy among teachers and students.
If we really want to overcome the current Japanese school issues,
it is not going to be easy.
Teachers and students need more flexibility in education style and
curriculum content. Also to
realize the acceptance of diversity and sense of value, each person has a
different criteria for achieving happiness in life. These are general in the
world, however I feel Japanese society is not generous compare to other
Now let me describe one
aspect of compulsory education in Japan. It is a 9-year program, and we also
have a special education system for mentally or/and physically handicapped
children. This system is also a 9-year program.
time course education began in 1947.
In the beginning, the aim
of the course was to provide upper secondary education for working students.
But since the early 70s the purpose of
the nighttime course has changed.
Now it is for the mentally or/and physically handicapped, foreign
working students, people who didn't have adequate educational opportunities in
their youth, and dropouts from the daytime program.
benefits of nighttime course include: Low cost without reducing the quality of
facilities and materials; Greater flexibility; More committed teachers and
staff. Because of the worsening Japanese economic condition, bureaucrats intend
to reduce educational budgets including funding for night time education.
However, the importance of these special programs remains high.
should encourage greater sensitivity of the diversity of our students'
individuality. This will help foster understanding and acceptance of all
minorities: handicapped people, foreigners, and students from diverse social
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