Classrooms in Japan । Fahmida Mehreen
Japan is an epitome of success in the modern world. It has exceled in all scopes, starting from infrastructural development to live-changing technologies. People in Japan are highly progressive. It is needless to say, that at the root of its success lies it’s well-defined and well-structured education system.
Education system in Japan focuses not only on good grades, but also aims to develop students with high intelligence, good manners, and sound health. In Japan, children usually start schooling from the age of 5-6 years. School year is from April to March. As explained by Tokyo International Communication Committee, children who have their sixth birthday on or before the first day of April, get admission in first grade of elementary school. Schooling system comprises of six years of elementary school, three years of junior high school, and three years of high school. The interesting fact is, in Japanese schools the students do not take any tests until grade four when the students reach the age of ten years. During the first years of school, students take small tests and quizzes. This is so, because it is believed that a student should be focused on character building and good manners during the primary years of education. Students are taught behavioral traits like perseverance, self-discipline, and fairness which help to shape their personality. At the end of high school, students take a big test which decides their future. Students apply for colleges of their choice and a score requirement is given by the colleges. It is a highly competitive exam and statistics show that approximately 76% students make it to college after high school. However, even this percentage is much higher compared to many other nations in the world.
Besides studies, Japanese schools engage students in multidimensional activities. Students mandatorily participate in cleaning their classrooms, cafeterias and even toilets. Students are divided into small groups and are assigned tasks on a rotational basis. This practice injects the idea of utilizing time and doing own works while respecting the jobs of the others. It also teaches them teamwork and collaboration. Classrooms in Japan follow both orthodox style with writing board and chalks and also electronic aids for interactive learning. Classrooms are furnished in a manner that students feel at ease, mentally and physically.
Additionally, students are offered after-school workshops, particularly in junior high school. It is a common practice that students stay back in school for co-curricular activities till late in the evening. Standard school hour in Japan is 8-hours a day. However, students are assigned with home-works and projects which they complete after school, over the weekends, and during holidays. These tasks are not burdensome; rather, enjoyed by the students. As a result of this steady study practice, it is very rare for Japanese students to repeat grades in schools.
Many schools in Japan teach calligraphy and poetry besides conventional subjects and languages. Japanese calligraphy, called Shodo, is a popular form of art in Japan. On the other hand, Haiku is a form of poetry that expresses deep thoughts in simple words. Japanese schools enlighten their students about these powerful centuries-old tradition and cultures.
Coming to school etiquettes, in Japan students wear uniform to school. Uniforms are called seifuku in Japanese, and can differ from school to school. Traditional uniform in Japanese schools is military-style dress boys and sailor-style dress for girls. For physical education, uniforms like track suits which are called randoseru in Japanese are commonly needed. Trend of uniform is prevalent for the purpose of removing social barriers by promoting sense of community and preparing the children for work mood. Besides uniforms, grooming habits are also crucial in Japan. In the past, any form of piercing, tattoos, hair colors, etc. was not allowed in school. However, during recent times these rules have been slightly relaxed. Yet, going overboard in fashion is not allowed in schools. Even though more or less similar scenario is seen in schools in Bangladesh, such aspects are much different in schools in the western countries.
Schools provide lunch to the students which are eaten in classroom along with teachers which contributes to build positive relationship among peers and also with teachers. A healthy meal consisting of fruits, bread and cheese are served. In some schools the meal is subsidized, while in other schools the students pay a minimum amount. The food is prepared by qualified chefs and healthcare professionals in public elementary schools to ensure proper nutrition for the students.
Overall, the education system in Japan is dynamic and robust. The students are mentored to be extraordinary from a very young age. Thus, as evident, Japanese students are outstanding performers. This is resultant from appropriate coaching and apposite discipline which are instilled in them through good practices and conducts. It can be said that the visionary education system of Japan is exemplary and can even be replicated, as applicable. The technology-infused country is developing ideal citizens, and not robots, for the world.