I agree with the anonymous writer of the Nov. 8 letter “Lots of playful college students.” It is quite hard to get accepted to a college in Japan, but once you get in, you do not need to study that hard. Therefore, it is understandable when someone from another country observes that “Japanese students are lazy, they are always just hanging around.”
What I noticed when I was in Australia was the eagerness of students. The state library, which was close to my language school, was always filled with students who were studying with a pile of books beside them. By contrast, in my Japanese university library I tend to find students who are sleeping. It does not surprise me anymore, but I am sure most people from overseas cannot believe this scene. Of course, there are a lot of bright and hardworking students as well as lazy ones.
I think it would be a good idea for the government to give a scholarship to those students who reach 600 in TOEFL. This would definitely motivate students. If Japan really wants to change its education system, especially at the university level, it needs to take radical measures. Japan has to take a risk.