National / Social Issues

More men pass entrance exams than women at 80% of Japan’s medical schools: survey

Kyodo

A government survey showed on Tuesday that men passed entrance exams more than women at nearly 80 percent of medical schools polled after a medical university in Tokyo admitted last month to altering exam scores to limit the enrollment of female students.

Of 81 medical schools surveyed, men have passed entrance exams more than women at 63 schools over the past six years, while women got through such exams more than men at 17 schools. The 81 medical schools include Tokyo Women’s Medical University.

The education ministry released the preliminary results of the survey after Tokyo Medical University admitted to unfairly lowering the scores of women applicants to curb their enrollment. The misconduct was severely criticized as gender discrimination.

Excluding Tokyo Medical University, none of the universities surveyed said it had ever discriminated against applicants by gender or age, according to the survey.

The rates of successful male applicants to female stood at 1.67 at Juntendo University and 1.54 at Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University and Showa University, while the average rate of all 81 schools was 1.18.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said it will send additional questionnaires before releasing its analysis on the disparity in the final results of the survey in October.

Kenji Yasuda, a senior executive of education information company Daigaku Tsushin, said the results indicate the possibility of some “adjustment” being made to enroll more male students than female.

The number of men passing entrance exams is “unnaturally high” compared to that of women and medical schools could have given male students higher scores in interviews, reflecting school officials’ own evaluations, he said.

Tokyo Medical University set a ceiling for women’s admission to avert a future shortage of physicians as a result of women doctors resigning or taking long periods of leave after marrying or giving birth, according to sources.

The score-rigging was discovered in the course of an internal investigation amid a bribery scandal involving the university’s top executives and a senior education ministry official.