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Entrance exam competition heats up

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Entrance exams for schools have been a symbol of the education system in Japan. The most competitive are entrance exams for private junior high schools, according to insiders. February is the season for exams, when children and especially their mothers go into competitive overdrive.

“About 70% of my students take entrance exams for private junior high schools. Half of them take days off in the week leading up to their exams,” said a teacher at a public primary school in Tokyo's Minato Ward. “Mothers often call up, saying they don't want their kids to catch the flu or something like that. Class numbers go down considerably."

According to major prep school Nichinoken, 21-22% of primary school children in Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures, take entrance exams for private schools in February. The company says the competition is getting more severe amid the economic downturn because mothers want their kids to go to better schools.

A 35-year-old mother says, “I have told my child not to attend PE class since January. I can't believe the school lets kids wear T-shirts and shorts for PE in winter. My child has been studying at prep school six days a week and for 10 hours a day in weekend. I don't want him to catch a cold on the day of the exam.”

Another teacher at a public school in Chuo Ward says mothers make lots of requests to the school. “They worry about the flu. One mother requested that all the teachers wear high-tech masks for flu prevention.”

While mothers desperately care about their children's health in the exam season, Sachiyo Sueki, a representative of prep school Mirai Juku, says mothers should behave as usual. “There is a lot of useful information on how to help their children study. But mothers are often confused by all the advice on how their children should prepare for entrance exams and some of them panic. I would advise them to just treat the exams as any other exam and not put pressure on their kids or confuse them.”

Children, however, have to fight not only pressures from their mothers but also competitors who take exams just as part of the prep schools' business strategy, rather than for any academic goal.

One insider at the education industry says, “For private prep schools, the number of their students who passed the exams of high-ranked schools, such as Kaisei in Tokyo, Nada in Hyogo and La Salle in Kagoshima, is important to show their merits as a school. For this reason, major prep schools send the brightest children to sit for the exams of those schools. The prep schools pay all the transportation, hotel, food and exam costs.” He says those kids will not go on to those private schools but just take part in the exams as if it were a leisure activity.

Private schools, of course, know about such candidates and give more admission offers to candidates than they actually plan to accept. Kaisei school, for example, gives more than 400 offers, even though they plan to accept only 300 students.

Some people say that such strategy by prep schools causes children to fail exams. One insider says, “The most vulnerable are children who are on the border line. Children who have been making efforts to succeed ultimately fail just because of a school's business strategy. It is a tragedy. Only those who have willing to go on to the schools they are applying for should be allowed to take entrance exams.”

The competition, however, has both positive and negative aspects. Nobuyasu Morigami, a representative of Morigami Education Institute, says: “Even if their children fail the exams, parents should not show their disappointment. What is important is to encourage children to go on to any school positively by telling them they can change their lives by themselves, even though they might not be able to go to their first choice school. Failing an exam is not the end of their lives.” (Translated by Taro Fujimoto)

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Entrance exams way to better japan in the age of unlimited education via evergrowing online libraries with 1 billion users netcitizen power. Though some education on net,may not so good,in future the internet/PCs complemented educations/exams will dominate in all fields of study world.

Still too little japan entrance exam students in JT discusions so japan education is not linking too much with english speaking international people.

Passing in exams,does not make well rounded people and remove all their dysfunctional traits. Dysfunction in society going up via the exam/paper chase .

President Obama did not use his legal education books only to be elected as a president of USA. He could have made more money as lawyer but he'd rather be a president,with lower income dollars.

Dysfunctional traits will be less if we follow careers not for money power, rather for reasons to provide more functional value without wealth reasons, in line with our natural distinct talents.

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You do not catch a cold from cold weather. Jeeze! You catch it from germs.

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( Yeah !!! I really don't understand it either ??? It's a challenge !!!! ) Life is a big challenge !!! ) A 35-year-old mother says, “I have told my child not to attend PE class since January. I can’t believe the school lets kids wear T-shirts and shorts for PE in winter. My child has been studying at prep school six days a week and for 10 hours a day in weekend. I don’t want him to catch a cold on the day of the exam.”

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All of the third-year junior high students in the area where I live are REQUIRED to get the flu vaccination because exam season is right in the middle of flu season. We just had our 'ippan' exam yesterday - at least 30 kids were in a separate room because they had the flu. I can understand some of the worries that parents have.

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The ironic thing is that there are far fewer children now and any kid that wants to go to university can go for sure and if kids want to learn, they will learn without somebody on their back. It is similar to a bouncer keeping people in line when the bar is 3/4 empty. "Oh look, there is a line, it must be a great place." Let me tell you, the beer is just as cold and the woman are just as easy across the road. You kid is just as smart no matter what school they go to. I could write a long, long list of young people I know that were forced to go to juku since grade one, 7 days a week all year and they are no better at school than their classmates (possibly worse) and in the end 99.99999999999% don't get into Todai. I could write an equally long list of kids that never went to juku and are at the top of their class, well rounded and get into "top" universities. It is incumbent upon Japan to give as good an education possible to as many people as possible and not try to ration out knowledge to a chosen few! All, 100%, without question, EVERY child that graduates junior high school should be guaranteed a seat at a prefectural high school. What kind of idiotic country does not allow a child to get into a public high school if they have graduated junior high school in good standing but got influenza on the one f'n day that they have an entrance exam. The same idiots that run prefectural high schools, administer pubic junior high schools and public elementary schools. If the prefectural board of educatio has a problem with the quality of students entering prectural high schools it is the fault of the prectural board of education for not doing there job properly in administering the junior high schools that they also run!!@!!!

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These are not even news back home.

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it is just a gut-wrenching, hairpulling, money-making scheme by japan inc. what`s new???

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Jesus this parents are insane. Asking teachers to wear masks?? Pathetic. Mind you, what do you expect? Mommy needs to show everyone how good a job she's done by getting Taro into a good school.

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Non News.

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I think what Nobuyasu Morigami said at the end of the article is sooo true and what is truly important. I hope that more children and parents can keep their eye on the big picture. Not all kids can get into their first choice but that in no way devalues them as people. Think about the worlds most successful people like Bill Gates who dropped out of college or people who never even went to college and went on to have very successful lives. Besides, it's the strong that makes us better people - that causes us to grow. A child failing to get into a college is the test of unconditional love for all parents.

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Catching a [i]cold[/i] due cold weather is one of the greatest myths of out time. Then again, the locals will believe anything if told often enough as seen with the common belief in blood type 'traits'.

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With the declining birthrate the examination system has become something of a joke, even for some Japanese. From the universities, which are increasingly desperate and cash strapped to get bums on seats, back down to the junior high schools, the standards are going down. Students know they can get into a university. It is just a question of which one. And they know everyone graduates all through the system. So many arent really under pressure to study hard. And it shows. The Japanese govt needs to bring in a standards-based approach and start failing those who don't meet set standards. But that won't happen which is why no foreigner with kids I know wants to send their kids through the system. Because it is crap!

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lack of sleep due to studying for entrance exams late into the night is a sure fire way to weaken the immune system and make you susceptible to exam day illness

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Catching a [i]cold[/i] due cold weather is one of the greatest myths of out time. Then again, the locals will believe anything if told often enough as seen with the common belief in blood type 'traits'.

Both right and wrong, but mainly wrong. Colds are caused by viruses - we all know this. However, you are far more likely to catch a cold in winter than in summer, much the same with influenza. The idea that this is because people spend more time inside in winter has been totally rejected by scientists.

It appears that we actually have cold viruses a lot of the time, but exposure to cold weather means that the virus is likely to become active and our immune system less able to fight it.

Scientific studies have shown that people exposed to cold temperatures are far more likely to contract a cold subsequently.

So basically the Japanese mothers are right and you are wrong. Presumably a Westerner, you have ignored the blindingly obvious fact that you always get colds and flu in winter and not summer just because of the word "virus" and that is like science, thus ignoring centuries of useful practical experience.

Typical Westerner.

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The moms are more excited about the exams than their own children...how about the dads??lol...

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A 35-year-old mother says, “I have told my child not to attend PE class since January. I can’t believe the school lets kids wear T-shirts and shorts for PE in winter. My child has been studying at prep school six days a week and for 10 hours a day in weekend. I don’t want him to catch a cold on the day of the exam.”

This is something they should be doing in College, like is required at U.S. and other western universities, not when they're 10 years old...

We all know that basically showing up for class is all that's required to sail through with any degree at Todai or any of the other highly sought universities in Japan....

They certainly don't learn critical thinking...

What a waste...

"Mom Look, I can read and write 2200 kanji's... I can pass the Todai exam...!"

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Both right and wrong, but mainly wrong. Colds are caused by viruses - we all know this. However, you are far more likely to catch a cold in winter than in summer, much the same with influenza. The idea that this is because people spend more time inside in winter has been totally rejected by scientists.

You're partially right, True most colds and virus's are picked up during the winter, but it's NOT due to people spending more time in doors...

It's because the humidity is typically much lower during the winter, and subsequently, your body's primary natural defense mechanism, tiny hair follicles, located primarily in the respiratory tract, nose, mouth, throat, also ears, become dry and do not function as effectively.

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