Regarding the editorial headlined “Japan’s woeful school funding” in the Dec. 20 edition, while the proportion of the finances spent on Japanese education is the second-lowest of all advanced countries in the world, an audit of the education ministry’s self-awarded funding is likely much higher, but also much harder to obtain the details of.

Equally disturbing is that the low funding for education is distributed in such a way that the main stockholders in the equation — the public paying increasingly high taxes — gets minimal say in and return for its compulsory investment.

Most educational institutions carry top-heavy bureaucracies offering questionable benefits. For every full-time teacher being axed or just not replaced, nonteaching staff numbers remain far less affected overall as their total numbers has long far exceeded those even in countries spending proportionately more on actual teaching staff.

Worst of all is that no matter how well or badly a teacher may teach, their effort or lack thereof is not commensurate with their salary, thus undermining any motivation that might remain to excel.

The dearth of Japanese universities ranked in the world’s top thousand is a sad testament to a blueprint that can only achieve mediocrity or worse.


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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