Education in Japan vs. Education in United States essay

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In all the different educational systems throughout the world, there are different views that are taught and seen; different ways that educational systems are run and paid for; these are all part of the educational system. Everyone is learning. Whether what they learn is accepted by others or not, they are pursuing a greater lifestyle. All the countries are shaping their students for one thing, the future. In this essay, I will describe the evolution of the educational system and compare modern education in Japan with educational system in United States of America. A Ministry of education system was created during 1871 during the Meiji government. A new educational system was created, while all domain schools and a great majority of private academies disappeared. Based on the French model, a system of nationwide education was achieved. In 1907, a system of free and mandatory primary education was established. Above primary education was a system of schooling similar to the German gymnasium and the French lycee. They boys and girls went to separate schools after elementary school (Kleiner, p. 8). After World War II, American occupation restructured Japan's educational system once more into six-three-three-four system. The numbers corresponds to the number of years each student has to take for elementary school, junior high, senior high, and university. The system was made coeducation throughout, and was made free for the first nine years. Japan's educational system did not borrow everything from other countries. There were some significant differences that were very progressive. Instead of involving religion in early education like the West, the educational system was of secular and egalitarian nature during Meiji Japan(Kleiner, p. 12). Also unlike the western countries during that period, Japan emphasized elementary education more than higher education. This gave the overall Japanese society a strong educational foundation. Besides the university level, modern Japanese education is intense. Children attend an extra half-day of school per week compared to the United States. The vacations are much shorter and there are fewer breaks during the school year. Homework is assigned daily. The students are much disciplined and study very hard. Success in career and life is determined by success in education. Top positions in companies and government are recruited directly from top universities.

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It is very difficult for a person to get a successful career with limited education. Because the educational system is based on merits, students need to take an examination in order to be admitted into top schools. Competition is very tight to get into distinguished high schools and universities. Therefore, entrance examinations are very important. These examinations place a tremendous amount of pressure on students and there families preparing for the exams may start as early as kindergarten for some children. Some students also have extra tutoring. The family would pay extra for these services. Children are given adequate room to study even though much family live in small sized apartments. Because these exams are considered to determine a person's entire career, family life is greatly affected when exam time draws near. Life in the family would be centered on helping the student study (Altmanm, p. 25). When a student is not accepted to the top universities, they may either take a cram school or enter a less prestigious university. Public universities like Tokyo University are ranked as the top schools. Unlike the prestigious universities in the United States, Prestigious universities in Japan costs less money than the poorer rated private universities Japan. Some wealthy students may buy their way into less prestigious private universities. ...

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