Monday, September 22, 2008

Education in Japan

The popularity of private schools has been heated up recently in Japan.

One of the reasons has been thought to be that parents are disillusioned with the public mandatory education in Japan. Now it is a 9-year education system of elementary and junior high school. One of the biggest parents’ dissatisfaction with public schools is serious bullying at school: some naughty students bully other weaker students persistently after school and even during classes.

Thus, many bullied students of elementary and junior high schools feel very stressful mentally and, in the worst case, they kill themselves. Also, public schools have another serious problem: the classes are disturbed by some crazy students, and they are seriously difficult for teachers to fix.

Moreover, some of them do much violence to teachers and in result some of the teachers have been terribly distressed with them. So they cannot conduct their classes and thus the classes are more likely to be of lower quality. The mass media in Japan has called this situation “the collapse of classes” and should be solved as quickly as possible by some public policies.

For the above reason, many parents are eager to take their children to private schools that offer a better education to their children. Of course, private schools have also a problem of bullying and violence, but they generally try hard to solve it in order to keep their reputation high in the society. There the market mechanism is going well.

In contrast, public schools have no incentive to solve these serious problems. That’s why any effective policies must be needed to solve them!

On the other hand, parents try to educate their children better by themselves: home teaching is one of their solutions.

In Japan, parents seldom teach their children because they usually have jobs and no time to teach. (It costs a lot for parents to teach their children!) Alternatively, they hire a home teacher.
It’s kind of outsourcing.

I have been a home teacher for 6 years and have taught an elementary student whose purpose was to enter a private junior high school. There I could touch on parents’ feelings about the preparation for the entrance examination and I could understand the present situation of public schools.

From that experience, I began to think that home teacher is a realistically effective solution as a supplement to education at school and sometimes as an avoidance of some difficult problems at public schools, such as bullying and violence.

Needless to say, most of parents feel much more painful to hear that their children are bullied at school and have troubles in studying there. In this way, home teacher is a good way to help children study. However, to learn how to do with the social relationship with other people, schools might be an important way for children.

We have to face the fact that some parents can’t hire a home teacher for their budgetary reason. It’s another serious problem because their children are less likely to have a good education and thus to have a good future career.

It would be better for home teachers to be subsidized by the government, I guess, but it's not possible for the government to do so.

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