The proportion of children in Japan who dislike studying surges after they enter junior high school, reaching 60 percent in their second year, a new survey has found.
The survey, released last week, was conducted by the University of Tokyo and Japanese correspondence education service provider Benesse Holdings Inc. between July and August in 2015 and again in 2016.
The survey showed the 2016 ratio of elementary schoolchildren who didn’t like studying was lowest for first-graders, at 21.2 percent, and highest for third-graders, at 35.9 percent.
But the figure reached 45.5 percent for junior high school first-graders and 57.3 percent for second-graders. The percentage remained at around 60 percent for students in the higher grades up to the senior high school third year.
Meanwhile, between 6.3 percent and 17.6 percent of elementary, junior high and high school children said in 2016 that they had come to like studying, although they hated the previous year.
These children tend to be “highly motivated to learn and inventive about ways to study,” according to the survey report.
The average daily time spent studying by junior high school students who became fond of learning was two hours and 12 minutes in 2016, up 35 minutes from the previous year. Of those, 26.8 percent logged improved academic results.
The survey found 72 percent of junior high school students who started to like studying said they studied because they were happy to gain knowledge.
Of junior high school students who continued to dislike studying, meanwhile, only 36.8 percent had the same view.
On ways to study, the survey found 73.7 percent of junior high school students who became positive about studying said they checked what they did not understand. The method was employed by only 46.8 percent of junior high school students who continued to hate studying.
Of junior high school students who became positive about their studies, 70.1 percent said they reattempted questions they could not answer correctly at exams and 65.5 percent said they studied with their friends. For junior high school students who remained negative, the proportions were 53.1 percent and 51.3 percent, respectively.
The survey covered elementary, junior high and high school students across the country and their guardians, excluding first-to third-graders.
Valid answers were given by about 16,000 respondents, including at least 11,000 children, each year. The two-year survey tracked the same respondents.