Japan's universities can't win

Aug 24, 2014

Japan's universities can't win

by Takamitsu Sawa

In view of the disparity in professors' pay between Japanese and American universities, the notion of elevating Japanese universities' global rankings simply by bringing in outstanding "foreign talent" as instructors and researchers is a castle in the sky.

Aug 16, 2014

Student absenteeism on the rise

Absenteeism for compulsory schools in Japan rose in fiscal 2013 for the first time in six years. Some of the students absent for 30 days or more feel permanently behind and give up going to class.

Aug 3, 2014

Japan has a word to add about teaching math

by Walt Gardner

Before critics conclude that Americans suffer from an incurable case of innumeracy, they might want to ask if the long-standing poor performance of U.S. students in international math test competition, compared with Japanese students, is the result of the way the subject is taught ...

Aug 2, 2014

More students opt for fifth year

According to a recent survey, many of the 103,000 Japanese students who opted for a fifth year of university study last spring did so to continue hunting for a job.

Jul 7, 2014

High test scores, low expectations

by Walt Gardner

Young people in Japan, like their counterparts in the U.S., know that high scores on tests have little to do with their job prospects. So why do a higher percentage of American students still report being hopeful about their prospects for a good life?

Jun 21, 2014

Struggling with gender identity

The education ministry's first-ever survey on gender identity disorder reports a minimum of 606 children across the country who deserve, and greatly need, attention and care.

May 24, 2014

Stop the bullying of LGBT students

A recent survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Kanto area finds that 70 percent were bullied during their school years. Learning respect and tolerance for individual differences should start earlier.

May 10, 2014

Good example of English use

Perhaps an education ministry division's decision to begin conducting its meetings in English this month will help shake loose Japan's grammar-translation paradigm, which does little to compel students to communicate and understand English better.

May 9, 2014

Japan should treat test scores with discretion

by Walt Gardner

Although the education ministry's decision to allow local boards of education in Japan to make public the results of achievement tests for individual schools appeals to those who are frustrated by what they perceive as a lowering of standards, the tests are far too ...

Apr 28, 2014

Stressing over test scores

The education ministry's new policy of letting municipal boards of education release the results of nationwide achievement tests for individual public schools risks distorting the approach to education in Japan.