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Do you think the Japanese school year should start in September rather than April?

22 Comments

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YES, but only if there are no new coronavirus cases for a sustained period of time prior can Japan consider resuming physical classes in schools. If not, then how about holding online classes instead? We can't suspend school forever

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Definitely yes. The corona problem is a great opportunity to get this done. Todai tried a few years ago, hoping that everybody else would follow, but the opposition was too much. It is a major obstacle for the globalization of Japanese unis, and not only

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Yes, absolutely. There is no valid reason for keeping it in April ("the sakura bloom for entrance ceremonies" is NOT a valid reason!), and it is simply stubborn, nationalistic pride that has kept it in April this long. Japanese universities constantly lament not being able to get more international students and investment, and the main reason why is the school year. Likewise for Japanese students who wish to do an exchange for a year abroad -- they can't. Saying "It would confuse the Japanese people" means you are saying Japanese are stupid and unable to adapt. Saying, "It's always been this way," is not a reason either, but an excuse to avoid change. It WOULD be a big change, yes, and one that would cause some confusion in the first year, for sure, but with Covid-19 it is the perfect time since confusion has been already thrown in the mix.

But I suspect the powers-that-be would rather wait an entire year, asking society and kids and parents to "gaman" (while not ironically praising Japan's ability to adapt), or else ask the kids and parents to risk their lives by going back to school despite the threat not being contained, so that they can keep to the normal schedule... and they sure do love their schedules.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

For many parts of Japan, the school year already started, and quite a few places are going back after Golden Week. It’s a local decision. The national government can change the parameters with in which local schools make these decisions and create a new school year running September to July, but then what if those kids who have already been in school a month?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Japanese should have a referendum on it, let the people decide. I kinda like how the Cherry Blossoms coincide with the special event. I’d be surprised if the Japanese people voted for change.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Probably yes, but not his year as the Covid19 infections will likely spike in the fall...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

zichi: "Never heard of any problems with the April start."

Mustn't have been listening. I'm assuming you've heard of Covid-19, though. A pretty good instigator for pushing back the start of the school year, and something that can and should be continued (the year starting in September, not Covid-19).

"The grandson of a very close friend has just finished school and offered three scholarships at three top America universities, including Harvard. He must decide which one but was due to start in the going autumn. That would have given him about 5 months off before starting his uni."

This is where you should have heard of some problems, or be able to imagine them. Let's say your grandson of a friend was American and thinking of doing a school year in Japan, instead of just a term or two in the middle of the year. They are third year high school or uni, typically when kids do a long stint overseas, if at all. Now, should they wait the 10 months until the next school year starts, then return home and wait five or six months to start their final year? or go to another country where they can start it at the same time they would start it at home, and then return for the final year at the regular time?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

It makes complete sense. First change the university academic year right away. This will mean a break before classes get started, but they haven't started anyway. High schools will have a bit longer to adjust. It may take a couple of years to sort out, but it will be no bad thing to give kids a break between school and university.

In fact, leaving schools April to March and moving Universities to the Western academic timetable would be ideal. And then all students going from high school to university would have a 5 month break - ideal for work or travel.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Absolutely! Japan is far behind the modern world in many things, the arbitrary school year and mass hiring process among them. "Summer vacation", Japan style, is about two weeks. Sadly, flexibility and innovation are not popular ideas in Japan. Long ago, I taught 5th. grade in Goshen, NY. In 1979, I took many of my students on a summer long tour of Japan. They were amazed children in their host families had to attend school during the summer. Our summer vacation was 10 weeks.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

At university and higher education levels, a calendar shift may be better off and more viable. I think universities should be open to and adaptive into global standards namely timetable for the sake of active exchanges and collaborations crisscrossing national borders.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No, they will start in June and be back to normal schedule next year. There is no need to change. My kids have been getting their assignments, doing homework, and taking tests online. The teacher does Skype for each student twice a week. I'm sure if little Miyazaki is doing this then surely Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, etc are.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Definitely, yes!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The grandson of a very close friend has just finished school and offered three scholarships at three top America universities, including Harvard. He must decide which one but was due to start in the going autumn. That would have given him about 5 months off before starting his uni.

A lot of Japanese students that go to US unis will attend a Japanese uni for a term before they head off to start school in September.

Making summer vacation the end of the school year seems more beneficial for students. It means the students wouldn’t be sitting in the poorly climate controlled classrooms for all of July and August. It would also give them more time to grow mentally and physically between grades.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Very bad idea. Has a school aged child in japan died “of” or “with” this so called virus?

No.

the schools will open before September. Guaranteed.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

A lot of Japanese students that go to US unis will attend a Japanese uni for a term before they head off to start school in September.

Why? Can't they handle not being told to do for a few months?

Keep the April school start. Change uni/college start to October

This seems a decent idea as it's only really unis that lose out from starting in April. The students have to wait a few months before the semester starts, but is it really that big of a problem? They could do something else like get a job or travel. It might affect the hiring process at companies and this is somewhat relevant due to the shrinking population, but that might make hiring other types of people more attractive which wouldn't be a bad thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hate to break everyone’s bubble, but US universities don’t ‘start’ in September. You can start university whenever you want: at the beginning of a quarter or semester. Try that in Japan. Traditional start of school is Sept. but I’ve had a few friends ‘start’ in June, to get a head-start and another few start in January because they wanted a few months off.

What Japan could really do with is that ‘start’ anytime idea. No reason to demand everyone start everything at the same time. Is there?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

zichi: "Japanese students don't go to school in August, they have a summer break."

An extended break in the middle of a school year makes no sense.

"Keep the April school start. Change uni/college start to October."

If you want the nation to continue to fall behind, sure. But again, are you suggesting we wait until next year to start this school year if it continues to be postponed instead of starting in September? and if they start in September, are you suggesting a two-term school year, then back to April? What is the point of that besides being stubborn?

"The international students attending Japan for school or university in 2018 was about 300,000. About 50,000 post graduates. I think their most difficult problem is speaking and writing Japanese."

Are you saying there couldn't be more if the year stayed the same? How about high school exchanges while we're at it?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Vince BlackMay 5  04:29 pm JST

Very bad idea. Has a school aged child in japan died “of” or “with” this so called virus?

No.

the schools will open before September. Guaranteed.

What do you mean by "this so called virus"? Do you not believe it exists? The families and loved ones of the 250,000 + dead might beg to differ with you.

As for whether or not any school-aged children in Japan have died of this is somewhat irrelevant. Children are not the only ones in schools. There are teachers, administrators, administrative assistant, maintenance workers, janitors, cooks, etc. and many of them will be parents and or caretakers of elderly parents, not to mention the fact that school children may not be as susceptible to the virus but can still transmit it to others.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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