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The Feb. 3 editorial “Entrance exam change needed” reminded me of Japan’s continuous failure to educate its young citizens. The problem of college entrance exams is directly tied to how the system itself is structured.

I was among the last generation to experience the “drilling method” from grade one to nine. The primary purpose of this education model was to make us memorize as much information as possible. I took advantage of this system by scheduling my study plans by exam dates. All I had to do was do well on each exam.

In 2002 the education ministry changed this long-time method in an attempt to make schools less stressful for teachers and students. As a result, all textbooks went on a diet, and Saturday class was gone. But the curriculum cuts led to a gradual decline in academic performance. Now the experts in this country fear the worst outcome of this change far more than the possible effects of a return to the highly stressful and oppressive form of education.

As a survivor of the old system, I didn’t get to experience the good and bad aspects of the changes since 2002. But if the drilling method is revived, then I feel nothing but great sympathy for kids.

mina otsuka
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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