Why Has Japanese Educational Reform Come to a De Facto End?

  •  Mamiko Takeuchi    


A reform of public education in Japan took place from the 1980s, coming to a de facto end in 2013. The reform, which affected large numbers of Japanese children, focused on creating a more flexible, relaxed form of education by reducing the amount included in the curriculum. However, the effects of this reform have been ambiguous, and we therefore aimed to assess them more accurately. We assessed the effects of the reform by looking at the private educational costs of households during the reform period, using the data from a time series survey conducted by the Japanese government. Our evidence shows that the auxiliary study expenses of children in public junior high schools increased steadily, and the proportion of children from households in the highest income group attending private junior high schools also rose during the reform period. This evidence indicates that the reform had unexpected results. It may have triggered a widening of children’s academic ability gap depending on household wealth. There is also no comprehensive evaluation of how pressure-free education affected the academic results of Japanese children. We drew some lessons from this experience to suggest what is needed for successful educational reform.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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