Regarding the Jan. 25 article “Cram school in public junior high gets metro nod“: The term “cram school” is ethnocentric, possibly even “racist.” Private instruction to supplement the public or state school curriculum or to prepare students for entrance examinations has long been a part of the education scene in both Britain and the United States.
Accounts in British and American newspapers NEVER use the term cram school even though the local operations are doing the same thing as their Japanese counterparts and in some cases are franchised from Japan.
Using “cram school” for the Japanese case says that Japanese cram (bad) while Americans or Brits receive supplementary instruction, private tuition or whatever (good).
Moreover, what most “cram schools” in Japan do is offer slower paced and more detailed instruction than public school teachers have the time to provide. This is the opposite of cramming.
Continued use of the highly pejorative term “cram school” only for the Japanese case reveals both bias and lack of knowledge on the part of writers and should be stopped.