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Gov't proposes letting high school students graduate after 2 years

42 Comments

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has released further information pertaining to its plan to introduce a "fast-track graduation system" for high school students. Under the new system, exceptional high school students will be allowed to apply to university after two years of study.

The ministry claims the plan has been introduced to foster the growth of students who show the capacity to perform well internationally, TBS reported Tuesday. The new system also helps students applying to universities, including institutions overseas, avoid missing the application window, as it will allow high school graduates to obtain their graduation certificates earlier.

Education experts have pointed out that high school students in Japan were already eligible to apply to university after two years. However, under the old system the application process was complicated, few universities accepted early graduates and students who did so were recorded as high school dropouts. As a result, few students took up the option.

The ministry has also announced a two and a half year option, whereby students can enroll in the autumn if their grades meet the eligibility criteria, TBS reported.

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42 Comments
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I'm not American so at what age do you start what America and Japan call "high school" ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think a system has existed in Aus for a while now where final year HS students can choose to be concurrently enrolled in university also. Anyone have more info? Anyway, this is 2012 so about time some flexibility is shown. Seems a good idea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No, no, no. It might say that but it's not going to happen.

Why not?

Money. You really think they're going to let you go on ahead? 1 more year = more money.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

uhhh...public schools in japan are practically free, so i don't know what you're going on about netninja.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Money. You really think they're going to let you go on ahead? 1 more year = more money.

If this is a public school, then it costs more money to keep kids in school then to let them graduate early...so they are actually saving money.

If they do this the right way, then I think it's a pretty good idea. It will motivate kids to work harder in school, so they can get out school earlier. Additionally, you can have less crowded classrooms which can mean a more quality education.

But if they just throw kids without the aptitude to succeed in higher education, out onto the street after 2 years, then it could be disastrous.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Finally a good step in the right direction. No sense in flattening out the tall nails, when it's those that support the country. I know plenty of students in the USA that graduated highschool a year early, and I know that I would have loved the chance instead of boring myself to death even with all AP level classes.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The idea is about as controversial as a sandwich.

Students with aptitude should be fostered from kindergarten when they are found. The waste of potential in the public school system is simply outrageous. The malarkey and busy work they pump out isn't even all that good for the kids who don't have much potential.

In no way am I complaining about the idea. It is just much much less than what should be done.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

uhhh...public schools in japan are practically free, so i don't know what you're going on about netninja.

Yes, they are, but high school in Japan is not compulsory, therefore while there are public schools (and they are generally very competitive to get into as they are cheaper) there are not nearly enough of them to cater for every junior high school graduate and a large proportion of kids end up in private high schools - which ARE expensive. If they graduate a child a year early, they are unlikely to be able to fill that place for the final year - hence, netninja has a good point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wish I could be optimistic about this - but I am not. The need for everyone to be the same is so strong here - especially in education circles! And FYI, this is not new. Think we had a few such students way back when this first started 10+ years ago. The little "kids" were excluded from much of what goes on in a university. Poor kid I saw was alone all the time. Even if one of my sons were eligible for this kind of program, I would not let them enter it. Which is a sad statement to be made about education circles and Japanese society.

PS Whatever happened to the SELHI program? ;-)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So what this means is that they will graduate from the university one year younger or perhaps more, and then join the ranks of unemployment at an earlier age. Nice planning.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

As if the high-school kids aren't already feeling under enough pressure from the ridiculous system in place here....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My country has been doing that since I was at the elementary school. And they come up with this just now?

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

he a new underage kid in the class, Bullying University style!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

My daughter entered college at age 13, graduated at age 17. Early entrance was a blessing. (For her and for my husband and me!) Bored kids tend to cause trouble. Today she is 21, happy, and has been earning her own living for 3+ years!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

My daughter entered college at age 13, graduated at age 17

Doogie Howser, MD?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

uhhh...public schools in japan are practically free, so i don't know what you're going on about netninja.

Not free. Your tax money is supporting the public schools in Japan.

It is a wrong place to cut public spending. Please evaluate a success and a failure of US public school system before implementing this idea. Japanese kids are already being challenged in competitive education environment too much, I am not so sure how it works in Japan. I have a friend whose daughter went to Harvard U at age 16, but there is something missing in her. We do not know why she is the way she is today. She is now unemployed looking for a job. She is lucky if she gets a job at McDonald. Let them to be a kid first, please. What Japan needs to do is to promote more critical thinking and problem solving skills at school, IMHO.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@gogogo:

There are some differences according to the school system. Most public schools in America as well as Japan are 6-3-3 (grades 1 thru 6 are primary, 7 thru 9 are middle or junior high and 10 thru 12 are high school). Some private or parochial are K - 12 or 8 -4, Grades 9 thru 12 being high school.

I attended a College Prep from grades 9 thru 12 but the 12th grade curriculum was essentially freshman college.

I think this is a good move for the Japanese but the testing would have to more than the rote "remember the answers" in place now. Even at the freshman level, there are lots of essays in university and it would be a big blow to the students confidence to start university early and then not be able to keep up.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think what people are missing is that only the EXCEPTIONAL students would be considered for this. That means they don't consider high school to be "challenging". So the worrying about school being "challenging enough as it is" does not apply in these kid's cases.

Where I live, an alternative to graduating early is the International Baccalaureate Program. From middle school, kids who are identified as "advanced" are encouraged to enter the IB program. They get some upper-level courses for the remainder of their public school life, but stay in their own age group otherwise. By their senior year in high school, they are taking some college-level courses that are accepted for credit at most colleges. My stepson graduated high school with almost a full year's-worth of college credits already attained.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm not American so at what age do you start what America and Japan call "high school" ?

High school in Japan and Europe roughly covers the 2 first year of US uni.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

If this is to be instituted then they also must as well consider the automatic promotion of JHS students and ES students based upon age. Their promotions are based upon age and NOT performance.

Plus everyone has to remember as well that HS is not a part of the compulsory education here in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Cos: That's quite a ridiculous statement. I helped my son with his studies in Japanese high school and it was no where near university level.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm not American so at what age do you start what America and Japan call "high school" ?

For Americans, high school typically entails the last three years of public (or private) schooling before attending a college or university. High School Seniors are typically 18 years of age when they graduate from 12th grade. I threw all those "typically"s in there because each state and each municipality can set their own rules for public schooling. Some municipalities have a 4-year high school (enter at age 15) but most appear to be 3-year high schools (enter at age 16). There's a couple of schools in our area, however, that are just "Secondary" schools and take kids from 7th grade on-up within the same campus. The common denominator is they ALL finish high school at age 18 (unless they're "held back" - a euphemism for having to repeat a grade.) The obvious exceptions would be the over-achievers who can make the minimum credits necessary for a high school diploma during their Junior year and graduate at age 17.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So in other words, universities, which are suffering from lack of income, will allow students to pass the rote memory exams after only two years instead of three?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"I'm not American so at what age do you start what America and Japan call "high school" ?"

The system in Japan is based on the American system, save for the start and end of the school year. Basically 6-3-3 (elementary, junior, high-school) for a total of twelve.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Whatever happened to the SELHI program?

Was scrapped. Utter waste of money too!

Don't think this is a good idea. Going to be even more pressure on kids to do well. Besides shouldn't Japan be worrying about the quality of their high schools and universities over this? They add more classes and more vocab to learn but yet, teaching qualifications are a joke to get. They add more uni classes as they are worried about quality and yet... do nothing about the hiring practices.... They add English to ele schools but don't have the teachers to teach it properly.... What difference does this make?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

tmarie: "Going to be even more pressure on kids to do well."

No kidding. I bet there's a Hashimoto-juku requirement to 'enable' them to fast-track.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If they are mature and intelligent enough go for it !!!!!!! I like to see a motivated and driven kid. Teaching them is a real pleasure.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Motivated and driven? Wrong country my friend!

Smith, that made me laugh. And then shake my head as I wouldn't be surprised.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

High school in Japan and Europe roughly covers the 2 first year of US uni.

Yeah, my wife thought the same thing when she came from Russia. She thought her son would waltz through U.S. schools with no problem because Russian schools were so much more advanced. She immediately entered him into the middle school-Level IB program as soon as he reached the required grade-level, where he was almost removed from the program five different times due to low grades. It required a ton of tutoring to get him to where he managed to ultimately graduate while still in the program.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think the real challenge from this will not so much come from the students who can do this, but will the universities admit them. You can see how sometimes in Japan, if one does not do things the "proper way" they are normally considered too different and seen as an outcast. So will the univeristies honor these accelerated graduates?

On the other hand, those who commented that this would cut into the high school fee racket, I don't think so. The best thing for all of these "jukus" to do is get ahead of this, and say that their program is the best at this and watch the lemmings run for them.

The only really big losers in all of this will be the bright kids. Getting pushed ahead too fast in order to only hit the "wall" at an earlier age. I always have said that sometimes, it seems as if Japan is "moving slow in the fast lane" on some issues.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about making the April 1 cut off date for school entrance more flexible? There was a neighborhood boy, just a couple of months younger than my son who may have been a born genius but was a year later entering school. Elementary school was much, much too easy for him. He was bored and frustrated and just could not sit through a day in school. He always loved learning and actually loved juku. Unfortunately he started to hate school and has been ground down by jumping through the junior high hoops. The system did a really good job of dragging him down. I am sure he will not have to write the high school entrance exam next year but the last thing he needs is another one, two or three years of learning how to march in line. It makes me so sad to see him now as his bright energetic inquisitive eyes have lost their fire.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wish I could have been offered that option, but I came from a lousy public (4 year) high school in the deep south of the US.. I did, however, enroll in and take a few university classes my senior year of high school.

I think this is good.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

The system did a really good job of dragging him down.

You have to put a good majority of the blame on his parents. While the system is far, far from perfect, if this boy was truly that intelligent his parents should have recognized his talents and gotten the boy into a better school, and have him challenged more through his day and not just from school.

Parents too many times drop the ball and dont spend enough time with their children to realize their abilities or lack of, it goes both ways!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well said Yubaru - don't blame the school for the parents not getting off their butts and finding an appropriate school for him!

Would I want to be teaching a 17 year old with a group of first year uni students? Not really. They are already immature and have social issues. Having some freakishly smart (or crazy student kid) isn't going to make the classes any less painful the first few months. It isn't just about study skills and intelligence. Maturity and socialization pay a part in this and well, frankly, I doubt kids who've been pushed like this could cope.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree with tmarie here, the kids here are immature enough and dont need to be put into a university environment. Kids here develop, socially speaking and unfortunately generally speaking as well, more slowly than their counter parts in other countries.

I agree too that kids who were pushed to finish early probably had very little social interaction that could prepare them for college.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, the "better schools" are even worse. Private elementary schools have rules upon rules upon rules to enforce memorization and marching in line are really expensive, are full of rotten apples and he would have had to move out at age 6. His parents would have faced arrest if they had pulled him out of school and educated him at home. The local schools were the best choice as the days were "short" and he only had to spend 5 minutes commuting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

His parents would have faced arrest if they had pulled him out of school and educated him at home. The local schools were the best choice as the days were "short" and he only had to spend 5 minutes commuting.

Sorry but I can not accept this as an excuse. I've got three kids, my oldest went to the local Japanese ES but after graduation we put her into an "unauthorized" American school, unauthorized as in not under MEXT control. The local and prefecture BOE threatened us with legal action, but common sense got the better of them and they relented. One has to understand that gimu kyouiku means the parents have a responsibility to send their children to school, it does not tell them WHICH school. There is no legal requirement to send them to the area school.

5 minutes commute? This is bs to me too. We send(t) our children to a school that is close to an hour away from home. It's for their education, not my convenience.

Parents have choices, not the children. Parents out of their own convenience choose to put their children in certain schools. Sacrifices have to be made if they were truly concerned. I know, and I am now thankful because my eldest son was accepted at MIT for University. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Which will tell you something in and of itself if you know about or have heard about the school. My son is VERY intelligent and we took the pains and effort to give him the best education that we could find. We are not rich by any means, and we HAVE sacrificed a lot for our children's education, yet it can be done if their is the will.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Cos: Where did you get that idea. Not true at all. American universities are rigorous.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This may be a good way to get young people into the workforce earlier to support the asian population.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are just so many things wrong with this. Many of the students graduating now dont know how to join the work force now. Last year and this year many of my students told me how they are amazed at how sensitive and robot like the new employees are. Also, none of them are self thinkers. And you want to make the age younger?

Where are the jobs coming from for these young graduates? Basically, highschools will be turned in to 2 year cram schools right? Then aren't you just creating another bad situation by directly separating children? You are just gonna split the children in two groups directly. Children, in japan already are committing suicide over difficulties with tests and studying. Now they will be worry about whether or not they are smart enough...sorry...able to memorize enough to graduate early. (I say memorize, because most schools dont push creativity or learning things on your own)

Its sad, I predict that suicide will increase. Bullying will increase. Just a new thing to stress about: "Which group am I in?" Many these kids get high test scores but they dont know how to live, nor do they have common sense. They just accept and do anything someone older or above them says.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is not really a new policy. Japanese high school students do little or nothing in their final year except either look for a job or study outside of school for university entrance exams. For the students who gain uni admission through one of the numerous quasi exam avenues, "admission office" and such, that require merely that the applicant sit in a chair in front of one or two university professors and avoid releasing excess quantities of bodily fluids, their studies are over for the year.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

yea japanese high school isn't compulsory sooo I think they're almost all privatized. they won't let go of that money

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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