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China beats Japan in Asian university rankings

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This really should be no surprise seeing as how Japan is rolling in red tape, promoting an education system that has it's roots in the dark ages, and not promoting free-thought and expression in the classroom.

Japanese students are not taught to think for themselves and are great at memorizing things, but are lost for the most part when faced with having to think outside the box. They are great at working in a group but fail when it comes to team-work.

16 ( +28 / -12 )

>promote cooperation between the state, industry and academia to reverse Japan’s decline. Personally I think this is part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. This means that education is chosen and supplied based on some calculation of the efficacy for economic growth or other state priorities. Meanwhile, humanities and social sciences have long taken a back seat in Japanese academia. This means, because politics, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, social psychology etc are almost absent (unless they can be used as a way to present Japan's alleged uniqueness in an apparently academic way) that the tools needed to critique one's own society are rudimentary at best. What Japan needs, I feel, is more, not less, effective introspection which confronts the realities, rather than gloss over them in some attempt to assuage the insecurities.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Six universities from Hong Kong and one from Macau were in the top 100.

So....these were counted separately from the rest of the People's Republic? Why? Wouldn't that actually put China at 28/100?

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Slowly becoming irrelevant. Sad.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

I always thought there is too much emphasis on the entrance exams.

promoting an education system that has it's roots in the dark ages, and not promoting free-thought and expression in the classroom.

Exactly. In japan, the hard part is "getting into" the university. From there on, basically all they have to do is show up and they will graduate.

7 ( +12 / -6 )

From there on, basically all they have to do is show up and they will graduate.

Not just university but elementary, junior high, and hs pretty much as well. When the entire system is based upon attendance and not performance it seems like a no-brainer to me that "rankings" will fall.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

I won't quite say that Japan's educational system is as bad as what Yubaru describes. Many of China's institutions are rote learning as well. However, there has been signs that they're changing it into more like a "Shanghai model", adopting that for the entire country. But despite that, I think the underlying reason why this is happening is because a lack of interest/motivation in education and/or maybe the lack of funding in Japan? Partly speculation on my part.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Japanese students are not taught to think for themselves and are great at memorizing things, but are lost for the most part when faced with having to think outside the box.

I often feel that I have to tell my Japanese students what to do explicitly. If I don't tell them to write what's on the board in their notebooks, then they never will.

5 ( +10 / -6 )

I am a graduate of a prestigious university however the value of a degree depends more on the student's input than on the college's curriculum. I know this because I have seen excellent students at an average college and unmotivated students get a poor education at excellent colleges. The courses the student decides to take and not take, the amount of work the student does, the intellectual curiosity the student exhibits, her participation in class, his focus and determination all contribute far more to her educational outcome than the colleges overall curriculum, amenities and social life.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Not unexpected. The hunger for improving one's self in China is enormous.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The critical comments here on Japanese education might be true, but have little to do (at least directly) with university rankings. Rankings are almost entirely based on research output, meaning how many articles its faculty publish in high profile journals like Nature and Science, how many times they are cited, and factors such as internationalization. THE is a bit unique among the world of rankings in that they add a somewhat subjective factor, reputation, basically asking a large number of academics what they think of X university in general.

So a high ranking university doesn't necessarily translate in a great education. It gives you a degree with prestige, and you'll have famous faculty there, but (as for example at Harvard) these people don't actually teach you; teaching is left to low-paid adjuncts and graduate students. In Todai and Kyodai, famous Japanese professors do teach, but not a lot; they spend most of their time on research.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

All opinions sent here are rightly pointing out the problems of the Japanese education system. But the system have produced many nobel laureates and today's civilized society.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Even in their heyday in the 80's it was already identified that Japanese universities are weak at practical, communication and creative skills, as well as global and real life exposure. Rather than going after mythical slipping standards these educators are better off thinking how to make more young Japanese take gap years, study/live abroad, get real company internships and be ready to plan careers that might involve changing companies every 3-4 years.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The hunger for improving one's self in China is enormous.

Yeah, and their enrollment @ a numerous universities abroad surpass their japanese counterparts.

Where I come from, southern CA, has seen an alarming rise of Chinese university students during the past couple decades. Whereas, the # of japanese students seem to have declined during the same period.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

At the same time, Japan's low birthrate is constricting college enrollment, both inside and outside the country. The size of Japan's high school graduating class has shrunk by one-third in the past two decades. When you combine a big decrease in the student population with a big increase in the number of Japanese universities and couple that with rising tuitions in U.S. colleges, you can understand why priorities have changed.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Rather than going after mythical slipping standards these educators are better off thinking how to make more young Japanese take gap years, study/live abroad, get real company internships and be ready to plan careers that might involve changing companies every 3-4 years.

You know as well as everybody else this does not describe what Japanese companies expect. And nobody in Japan with a full-time job changes companies every 3-4 years.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yes, Schopenhauer, but other societies are also "civilized" without such a system and have produced proportionally more Nobel laureates.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Call me jaded but I couldn't help but wonder if there was any 'cheating' going on in those results. I mean we are talking about China here and if it makes them better than their neighbours, well, I'm sure we know where this would go. Let's look at China's track record on telling the truth, getting caught copying, making things disappear and then lying about it. I'm not saying China is anything like FIFA but... BUT,...

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

This is going to make some people mad. It's not surprising, though, given Japan's education system and the inability to change, and how, despite promising to welcome more foreign exchange students they do not do a very good job of putting that into practice (and just the other day there was an article on how tough it is to get a job for exchange students). It's a typical "government promises this but then lets the schools and companies follow if they want to" problem, and now Japan is losing top spot in everything; the economy, electronics sales, education rankings, etc.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Nobel laureates, chosen by a committee in Norway, yay.

How'd that "Scandinavians showing Obama the path to righteousness" thing work out?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Yet all of you want desperately to live in Japan (not in China/Korea) surprisingly!

I hate living here. But hey, duty calls. And where I call home, is where both Chinese/Koreans "desperately" want to be. Not so surprising tho-

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

The problem for the majority of families in competitive China, these educational costs represent up to higher percentage of their annual household income. Many students are clearly bright and hard working, but they have trouble thinking creatively or outside the box. Chinese education typically encourages students to stay in the box and not question authority. There is growing concern, among parents, employers and policymakers alike, that the system’s emphasis on rote learning and high stakes exam taking does not foster the mental agility and innovative flair that the future economy will need. The big problem is that while China is churning out plenty of university graduates, they don’t have the skills they need to satisfy potential employers, and they lack technical training, can’t speak English well enough, don’t know how to work in teams or think critically, can’t problem solve creatively, and don’t have soft skills.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Yubaru says in the first comment on this, "Japanese students are not taught to think for themselves."

I would like to be a little more sever and edit this comment to say, "Japanese students are taught not to think for themselves."

It seems they are taught not to think, but to believe, not to ask questions, just to absorb everything they are told.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I work in the university system here. Monbusho's answer to increasing standards at universities a few years ago? Increase the number of study weeks from 12 to 15. That was it. Basically the same "fix" they are trying in the high school system. "Because more of the same thing that is not working is always a good solution"...said no educator ever.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japanese university churn em out, you just have to remember one book, turn up to class, pay the money and you graduate.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

There are almost no students in japanese universities

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Those rankings are really not ranking much, it's mostly based on the number of published papers and the budget ... Not all univ are research centers ....

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Slowly becoming irrelevant. Sad.

People here are coming down hard on Japan here but why do care so much about prestige of another Asian university? I doubt a company in Japan will refuse an applicant because their university is ranked lower than a university in another country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There are too many universities in Japan and a lot of them are poor quality. The entrance exam is the be all and end all or tertiary education - the actual degree course is just a case of turning up and remembering stuff.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

It's amazing how many people here are attributing Japan's relative decline in rankings to their "rote learning systems" and "not being able to work in teams" or being "free thinkers" - the standard arbitrary knee jerk generalisation those who have no idea how these systems work tend to fall back on.. By that logic, it would imply that China has all these 'traits' in abundance and that Japanese education systems should become more like China's, with their reputation for free thinking and non-rote learning?

It would seem we should be looking at these sorts of education deficiencies at home before generalising about other countries..

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Wow! That's gotta sting! What's the bet Japan reintroduces compulsory Saturday schooling in an attempt to counteract this? More is not better! Better is better! I work in a quite famous and high level private high school and under the school's syllabus my job is just to write answers on the blackboard. It's pretty easy for me, but it's not education. I spoke to the principal about creating a humanities course with critical thinking exercises, researching and creating presentations. He just looked at me as if I was from another planet! The Japanese educators will never understand that, memorizing facts is not learning!

6 ( +10 / -4 )

All I read from JT "experts" is that Japan is a backwater, underdeveloped in anything they do.

Yet nobody cares to explain why and how come such a backwards country and people managed to produce the still third largest economy in the world, dominate the field in precision machinery, applied mechanics, composite materials, miniaturisation, robotics (in spite of a certain "expert's" assertion to the contrary).

All in a place where education is so bad, the only thing one needs doing in order to graduate is show up after paying the fees! No brains or any sort of knowledge required at all!

And they still have Tokyo Uni as the top dog in Asia!!!

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

'Not unexpected. The hunger for improving one's self in China is enormous.'

That's the key. I remember one Chinese coworker telling me that in previous generations the ambition of most Chinese students at elite universities was to become a CCP stooge/bureaucrat whereas now it's to become a businessperson which students see as a career open to all and with far greater rewards.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I spoke to the principal about creating a humanities course with critical thinking exercises, researching and creating presentations.

@Disillusioned. Great suggestion. Too bad there hundreds of "あたまがふるい" principals like him in this country. If I were him, I would've gave you 2 thumbs up and a pat on tha' back.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Just to set the record straight, there is nothing wrong with the quality of Japan's top universities. That being said, however, as an old professor of mine at Hongo TAFE famously said, "you could drop a bomb on 90% of the institutions in Japan" and not impact the level of basic academic research.

To give you a bit of background, Tokyo University has been working actively for a number of years to improve both its international presence and to influence academia in Japan. Some of you might remember that it tried to establish a two-class system (with a second intake in autumn of each year) about 5 years ago. Unfortunately, vested interests (big business) saw such a policy as disrupting the traditional practice of spring-time recruiting. Todai also has an extensive international program running from its Komaba campus. It also has been a key player in pushing forward the world's most elite alumni association (IARU) which held its first booze up/get together here in March (a wonderful event).

Speaking more broadly, however, as somebody with extensive contacts among the top shelf of Japanese academia (universities like Tohoku, Hokkaido, TIT, Tsukuba, Hitsotsubashi, Nagoya, Kyushu, etc.), I have been told that there is a recent worrying trend of gifted students not being willing to pursue post-graduate studies overseas - mainly because such studies are perceived to put them outside the recruitment pool. In other words, a gifted student can easily find employment if they get a PhD from a second-rate Japanese university, however, many Japanese companies are wary of employing somebody with a PhD from MIT. To give you a specific MIT example, their sister institution here in Japan is TIT, which is probably in the top 5 scientific institutions in Japan. However, despite MIT offering a full scholarship to some lucky TIT graduate to pursue study in the US, every year it is really difficult to find somebody to fill the spot).

Moreover, it has to be realized that these international rankings take universities in overall terms. They don't take into consideration that in certain disciplines certain departments of certain institutions led the field by a massive margin. Indeed, here in Japan there are about 10 Nobel Laureates still waiting for the call in topics such as chemistry (materials science, bio science, etc.).

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Perhaps some people think it is good if an education system and people's lives are tools of the state, which in Japan's case is opaque and corrupt (eg the amakudari/butter story yesterday). I had not considered that possibility. If so, then the Japanese education system, through university, is certainly one of the best. Such people will also like China's.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

China taking over in every aspect... Sooner or later, I think Japan will look up to China in place of the US. Japan have done that in the past for 1000s of years.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I am a graduate of a prestigious university however the value of a degree depends more on the student's input than on the college's curriculum. I know this because I have seen excellent students at an average college and unmotivated students get a poor education at excellent colleges. The courses the student decides to take and not take, the amount of work the student does, the intellectual curiosity the student exhibits, her participation in class, his focus and determination all contribute far more to her educational outcome than the colleges overall curriculum, amenities and social life.

Back in the olden days when I was a student I saw this many times, people who work do well, those that get by etc. And all this applies when applying for jobs once you graduate, BUT this doesn't apply much in Japan sadly, the Uni/Collage on your diploma here does most of the talking sadly.

Yeah, yeah, yeah! China is so much better than Japan in absolute everything! Japan's education is so easy that you only need to show up for classes in order to pass!

etc etc....

peeping T,

I think deep down what many on jt loath is seeing Japan continue to decline rather than prosper in many area, this one education, clearly there is dire need for a restoration of sorts. I like many others I think can vision a Japan that is MUCH BETTER than the current one & all too often Japan either does next to nothing or takes the wrong roads, its getting painful for me to witness Japan's decline in so many areas, today compared to around 20yrs ago, its a completely different place!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Peeping_Tom oh and its your perfect example of denial that is what posters prey on, Japan is dropping across the board in almost every aspect of daily life compared to other countries, except maybe annime and all things cute. If you denial wasnt so sad it would actually be funny.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Too bad there hundreds of "あたまがふるい" principals like him in this country.

That would depend on their age. I think you want 考え方が古い (kangaekata ga furui).

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I think the Japanese need to apply this: "Study smarter/ more efficient, not study harder" or "Work more efficient, not work harder". Really, the Japanese need to learn to start apply efficiency between time and the total amount of works they needed, or else Chinese and Korean will leave Japanese far behind. Sorry to see the bad decline condition of Japanese education. They really need to reboot the education system.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'll bet this revelation stings a bit. :)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japanese students are not taught to think for themselves and are great at memorizing things, but are lost for the most part when faced with having to think outside the box. They are great at working in a group but fail when it comes to team-work.

Absolutely. It may also be because students at Chinese universities actually have to finish all assignments and pass all their exams to graduate. Whereas in Japan merely getting a place at university usually guarantees graduation by default

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The Japanese school system today is not designed to meet the challenges of tomorrow by just memorizing but as someone posted requires expression and critical thinking. That is often lacking from many high level educated Japanese that come out of Tokyo University including those with Master's degrees. How often does that one rare individual acquire the disconnect only to be slapped down by the old dark age shadow boss system. Yep, again and again..

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Sooner or later, I think Japan will look up to China in place of the US. Japan have done that in the past for 1000s of years.

I think you'll find many Japanese people would rather commit "honourable" suicide rather than look up to China. Being inferior to another Asian country in any way is anathema to them - yet they can't bring themselves to do what is necessary to do anything about it. The Yamato "gambaru" spirit won't work here

1 ( +8 / -7 )

People are using this opportunity to vent their feelings about the Japanese education system along stereotypical lines, but as far as the essence of the situation is concerned, isn't something like this bound to happen eventually as China modernizes? China has about 10 times Japan's population, and when it gets to Japan's overall level of development should be expected to have about 10 times Japan's top-tiered universities.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I have always been underwhelmed by Japan's university system. For a country as wealthy as Japan has been for the last few decades, no Japanese university ranks among the world's top 20. My own university is usually listed among the top 3, yet I often hear Japanese people say "so-and-so is amazing, he graduated from Todai..."

When I do business with people in Japan, I am often amazed at how little they know or understand, even about Japan itself. Worse yet, the courses Japanese students take are generally irrelevant to whatever profession they are working in. Software companies hire people with degrees in agriculture, pharmaceutical companies hire people with degrees in French Literature (and who somehow still can't make a simple correct sentence in French). It's bad enough when the quality of education is so poor that after studying French Literature for 4 years you still can't order a meal at a restaurant in French, yet many graduates never get a chance to put their education to use. That being the case, what is the point in going to university in the first place? Why go to the great expense and bother of studying a subject, and never being able to put that study to use? Welcome to Japan.

Japanese graduates are ill-prepared to meet the challenges of a dynamic and competitive world, which is part of the reason Japan's economy remains un-dynamic, and uncompetitive.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

The generations who rebuilt Japan saw a growing economy, companies which valued them and the rewards in their pay packets. The people at college now are seeing a Japan government geared towards supporting and getting the votes of these now retired people while they see a future of stagnating wages and worsening conditions. Be ambitious? Well, maybe they'll be able to buy a smartphone.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

isn't something like this bound to happen eventually as China modernizes? China has about 10 times Japan's population, and when it gets to Japan's overall level of development should be expected to have about 10 times Japan's top-tiered universities.

Other European countries like the UK, Germany and France have a smaller population than Japan, yet their universities are higher ranked. The "bigger population" argument doesn't wash here

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If and when China starts to invent new tech rather than copy and stealing from others, this criteria of ranking states more of the image than substance. Freedom of information and openness of liberal education in Communist China?? CCP's model of governing also pose a serious question in most part of democratic countries. If desire to speak Chinese, making money out of dealing with China, I guess heavy smogs are waiting for you. China needs a real democratic reform to live peacefully with the rest. While many Chinese seek to move abroad, this ranking serve communist party very well.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

China has about 10 times Japan's population, and when it gets to Japan's overall level of development should be expected to have about 10 times Japan's top-tiered universities

Nonsense. The UK has a much smaller population but many more top ranked universities. This isn't about numbers, its about quality.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Its obvious result as Japan funding in education and scientific research is decreasing while in China its increasing. I have met many old Japanese profs who are now working at reputed universities in China. Finally money wins! and has nothing to do with population or student's abilities.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Christopher Glen: ... It may also be because students at Chinese universities actually have to finish all assignments and pass all their exams to graduate. ...

Also at least a couple have mentioned to me the "repeat an entire year of classes if you fail one class" rule. Because there's no mix-and-match of classes, apparently.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

On a purely anecdotal level, when I'm in China, the people there seem to have a drive, a will to succeed and to thrive, that I don't see in Japanese people. I suspect it's because the Chinese have seen their country go from a poor starving nation to a successful thriving economic superpower in the past 30 years, while the Japanese have seen their thriving successful nation collapse into stagnation, and the young people here don't see that putting in additional effort pays out with additional benefits.

This is why I think the Chinese university system is probably coming out with better ranked universities - the students are driven to study hard and do as good as they can. Here in Japan they know that for the most part, even if they study hard, their 'reward' is to become a salaryman/ol in a company, working lots of unpaid overtime.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

KiyoshiMukai: "There are almost no students in japanese universities"

So it's just highest pr capita before and after, more or less? That's not saying much.

Kazuaki shimazaki: hat did I tell you? A knee-jerk reaction to China urpassing Japan in yet another field. You're suggesting w don't talk about Japan's education system on a thread that is literally about just that.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The THES rankings are primarily a reward for English language publications, notably in STEM subjects, and for international exchanges between faculty and students ( there is also the more subjective 'reputation' factor). That is at least a clear objective, and so, in my opinion, ambitious Japanese universities should know perfectly well how to meet the criteria. However, I don't think that Japanese HE is the disaster area that its fiercer critics say that is: in the postwar period, it has arguably worked well at a national level as a vehicle for social mobility and technology. The difference is that in this age of neoliberal 'global universities' there is much more pressure on individual institutions the world over to compete in an international but Anglophone market, regardless of national policies. Japanese universities are generally still too conservative and nervous to have come to terms with this. It is less a reflection of their undergraduate pedagogy (which I agree is debatable) than of how they better organize research projects.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

from experience, i think one thing that many japanese universities don't understand is the meaning of "diversity". many professors i had came across with don't really understand that term in reality.

the use of new technologies in classrooms is also very lacking in many places/universities, because many lecturers themselves still think that the old way of doing things - where they themselves dominate every discussion with no powerpoints - is very good and somehow should not change.

many (university) courses are just about discussions, no field trips, no group/team work, no use of other mediums like movies, etc -- very repetitive and uneducational in this new era. the ranking therefore rings no surprise.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Everybody's comments on education in Japwnese classrooms are interesting, but let me say it again: the rankings have nothing to do with education! It is all calculated on the basis of the number of publications and other measurable factors that ALL have to do with research, not what happens in the classroom.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

How can they be wrong? Japanese just don't like " other" people, and it shows.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

'Do the Japanese can REALLY speak anything other than Japanese?'

I know quite a few who understand its grammar rather better than you. Perhaps UK schools and universities are the ones in need of serious attention given that sentence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This really should be no surprise seeing as how Japan is rolling in red tape, promoting an education system that has it's roots in the dark ages, and not promoting free-thought and expression in the classroom.

and this is different than any other asian university? so you think china is rolling in free thought? do you ever have anythign positive to say about the country you're living in? just once?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

t's all Japan is more rotten than a third world country, Japanese can't think for themselves (not the one I have here in my house though, and she speaks English brilliantly in spite of the fact that NO Japanese can learn it claims, etc. etc.).

Excuse me for thinking this was about your wife. Now since you say otherwise, this comes across like you are keeping a pet and not a person.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

is it necessary to compare the standard with chinese, if the chinese have improved then it is good news because quality education bring intellectuals and intellectuals always prefer peace and harmony. similarly if the japanese education system have flaws then they should also improve it is always win win situation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All educated Japanese people I have met are very independent thinkers. Why should they not be? Are you? Does not your govt. control your thinking?

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

The headline to this article draw the ugly "vultures". Its simply astounding the applause heard by gaijin here whenever articles make a negative view of Japan. Any good news about Japan and its either a manipulation of the statistics or questioning of the sources.

Looking objectively at the collective 1970's stereotype negative opinions here about Japan I am more concerned about the education levels and standards of my fellow gaijin..

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

divine intervention

Its simply astounding the applause heard by gaijin here whenever articles make a negative view of Japan.

You have a point. Whenever there is news about Japan is declining economically or academically, many English speaking posters bashed Japan mercilessly. I guess many of them frustrated about their career prospects in Japan.

There is no doubt that China has lifted education standard and competitiveness. However some of the students will cheap anything for gaining entry into one of the top university.

Due to one child policy, that grown up child has to shoulder the burden of changing the fortune of his or her family. Parents even helped their children for cheating.

Competition is fierce and cheating scandals are wide spread in Chinese college entry exams. Some Chinese students with high academic achievements are not pure and decent as Snow White.

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/28/world/asia/china-exam-cheats/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2656298/Revealed-The-James-Bond-style-gadgets-used-pressure-Chinese-students-desperate-pass-exams-including-radio-vests-pin-hole-cameras-earpieces.html

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/08/china-deploys-drones-stamp-out-cheating-college-entrance-exams

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Yubaru,

With all due respect, yer having reading comprehension issue pally!

She's my live-in girlfriend and, has been so for 12 years. And counting!

She's not a "mate"!

And don't pretend you don't get my posts.

On second thought, maybe you simply don't understand.

ANSWER THE QUESTION I POSED!!!

In law (my field) we have something called "to adduce adverse inferences".

You’d a ripe candidate!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

divine intervention: "Any good news about Japan and its either a manipulation of the statistics or questioning of the sources."

Not true at all, unless there is genuine reason to question, and that goes with anyone and anything, and not just Japan. On the contrary, here you are taking an article about China ranking higher than Japan and instead of addressing it try to flip the story to be about what posters think of Japan, not about the fact that Japan has slid in the rankings, nor bother to ask why. But you want to talk about trying to undermine the credibility of sources? just look at any single thread where an element of society is criticized here, by even Japanese people, and suddenly they're all bought out by some Chinese or Korean group, it's all untrue, etc. etc. I could give you heaps of examples of this, and also lots of examples of "your fellow gaijin" praising Japan when there is good news, but I'll just allow you to peruse the constant calls for Japan to reiterate past apologies before you maybe take a bit of a rethink on your comment.

Heck, you want to see exactly what you're talking about but in terms of hypocrisy? just take a look at the article where South Korea won the DARPA contest, and some of the comments directed towards China simply for the fact that they are ahead in this ranking.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Another sad reality for declining youth population for Japan. Why would government care to fund higher learning institutions if they have no need? Japanese Universities should offer discounted classes to seniors so they can utilize and enjoy education (good for mental stimulation). Such measure can add more value to universities and thus get more funding from government as well as increase quality of curriculum for young students both local & foreign. Japan needs to realize that it will have no future if it doesn't invest in the next generation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

On the contrary, here you are taking an article about China ranking higher than Japan and instead of addressing it try to flip the story to be about what posters think of Japan, not about the fact that Japan has slid in the rankings, nor bother to ask why.

Speaking for myself, I did expect some of you to take that angle, which is legitimate. However, I was disappointed to see that was pretty much everything on offer.

The fact of life is, while Japan's education system have some problems, they have been "there" for decades now, so a drop in relative ranking is better explained by China getting better rather than Japan getting worse or its problems exploding all of a sudden. Since the change is in China, why is everyone making this a bash-Japan party (and you can't deny it, most of the comments here are critical of Japan)?

Further, it is hardly a closed secret that China is also exam heavy and goes for more rote work ... in short, it is more of a Japan model. Maybe the relative scarcity of higher education in China is still getting them to prize it more than the average Japanese student (and of course, the fewer people make it to university, the more you can really make it into an elite institution). But that's about all that can really be said about where China gets it right.

If anything, the only really major, coordinated push by Japan in the education field these past few decades that really come to mind is the so called yutori-kyouiku movement, which is an attempt to make it more "Western-style" (fewer study hours, a bit more freedom in class ... etc). If there is a drop in Japan's standards (rather than China getting better), it'd be because of that, but that'd also suggest that the Western ideas which many of you are pushing are not looking to solve Japan's problems. Oh, the irony.

Personally, I think the best response to such an article is to quietly congratulate China of its "coming-to-age" as a power worthy of the 1.2 billion or so souls within its borders.

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I don't know where this racist drivel about "rote memory" and "not taught to think comes" from. Have any of the people making these statements actually attended Japanese schools and universities? I have two children in Japanese public schools. They've had less rote memory work than I did attending a church run school in the US in the 1950s. I have been teaching in Japanese universities in Japanese to Japanese students since 1997. At least in my field (sociology), students have great latitude to think for themselves and develop their own projects and ideas.

Further, as some commentators point out, getting into top Chinese universities is quite similar to getting into top Japanese universities and has nothing whatsoever to do with the rankings. Moreover, because of the steep decline in the number of eighteen year old Japanese, only a small number of Japanese universities are really selective with rigorous entrance examinations. Most Japanese high school students can coast into a college much the same way Americans who go to non-elite institutions do. For most Japanese high school students, the fact that some Japanese universities have very rigorous examinations is totally irrelevant because they make no effort to get into those institutions.

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On a purely anecdotal level, when I'm in China, the people there seem to have a drive, a will to succeed and to thrive, that I don't see in Japanese people. I suspect it's because the Chinese have seen their country go from a poor starving nation to a successful thriving economic superpower in the past 30 years, while the Japanese have seen their thriving successful nation collapse into stagnation, and the young people here don't see that putting in additional effort pays out with additional benefits.

We are in agreement

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NovenachamaJUN. 12, 2015 - 07:50AM JST I am a graduate of a prestigious university however the value of a degree depends more on the student's input than on the college's curriculum. I know this because I have seen excellent students at an average college and unmotivated students get a poor education at excellent colleges.

This all goes without saying, but that's not really the problem with Japanese universities as nothing is required of the students to begin with and most are incurious as elementary and secondary school and Japanese society in general beat this out of them. In fact, I think you'd find a professor out of work or thoroughly ostracized in his (rarely her) department if he did set standards in a Todai, Waseda, etc. classroom equivalent to what one sees at Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Georgetown to name just four of the three dozen or so universities in the U.S. that are heads and shoulders above any school in Asia.

That being said, I've never read anything positive about Chinese universities from Western academics who have taught there. This is less a problem of Japanese schools slipping than the fact that East Asian universities in general follow the same general policies for admissions and performance once in school.

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