The coronavirus pandemic has been very disruptive, including to Japan’s schools. When I read in the news that as far as California is concerned, all schools in the state will not reopen this academic year, the idea occurred to me that beginning the Japanese school year in April should be changed.
Starting school in September would benefit students. Children, for example, would no longer have to be plagued by severe weather like heavy snow during the exam season for school admission, usually held January through at least the beginning of March.
Since in most of the world, including the United States, the first semester usually starts in September, it would be easier for Japanese students to apply for schools for either international exchange or study abroad. Children would also take their summer break from mid-May to August, so seniors would get a solid 3½ months preparing for admission tests.
I am sure that changing the school year would also have negative facets, such as less vacation time throughout the school year, but the current nationwide closures might be a great opportunity for schools to change the way they operate. In any event, I hope the world returns to normal quickly.
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.