Japanese people are known for
their intelligence, strong health, politeness, and wellness. But why is this
nation so unique and different from the rest of the world? We at Bright Side
seem to have found the answer: they have an incredibly cool education system!
Manners
before knowledge.


In Japanese schools, the
students don’t take any exams until they reach grade four (the age of 10). They
just take small tests. It is believed that the goal for the first 3 years of
school is not to judge the child’s knowledge or learning, but to establish good
manners and to develop their character. Children are taught to respect other
people and to be gentle to animals and nature. They also learn how to be
generous, compassionate, and empathetic. Besides this, the kids are taught
qualities like grit, self-control, and justice.
The
academic year starts on April 1st.

While most schools and
universities in the world begin their academic year in September or October, in
Japan it is April that marks the start of the academic and business calendar.
The first day of school often coincides with one of the most beautiful natural
phenomena — the time of cherry blossom. The academic year is divided into 3
trimesters: April 1 — July 20, September 1 — December 26, and January 7 — March
25. Japanese students get 6 weeks of holidays during the summer. They also have
two-week breaks in winter and spring.
Most
Japanese schools do not employ janitors or custodians. The students clean their
school themselves.

In Japanese schools, students
have to clean the classrooms, cafeterias, and even toilets all by themselves.
When cleaning, students are divided into small groups and assigned tasks that
rotate throughout the year. The Japanese education system believes that
requiring students to clean up after themselves teaches them to work in a team
and help each other. Besides, spending their own time and effort sweeping,
mopping, and wiping makes kids respect their own work and the work of others.
In
Japanese schools, school lunch is provided on a standardized menu and is eaten
in the classroom.

The Japanese education system
does its best to ensure that the students eat healthy and balanced meals. In
public elementary and junior high schools, the lunch for students is cooked
according to a standardized menu developed not only by qualified chefs but also
by health care professionals. All classmates eat in their classroom together
with the teacher. This helps build positive teacher-student relationships.
After-school
workshops are very popular in Japan.

In order to get into a good
junior high school, most Japanese students enter a preparatory school or attend
private after-school workshops. The classes in these schools are held in the
evenings. Seeing groups of small kids returning from their extracurricular
courses late in the evening is common in Japan. Japanese students have an
8-hour school day, but apart from that they study even during the holidays and
on weekends. It’s no wonder that the students in this country almost never
repeat grades in primary, lower secondary, or secondary school
Apart
from traditional subjects, Japanese students also learn Japanese calligraphy
and poetry.

Japanese calligraphy, or
Shodo, involves dipping a bamboo brush in ink and using it to write hieroglyphs
on rice paper. For Japanese people, Shodo is an art that is no less popular
than traditional painting. Haiku, on the other hand, is a form of poetry that
uses simple expressions to convey deep emotions to readers. Both classes teach
children to respect their own culture and centuries-old traditions.
Nearly
all students have to wear a school uniform.

Almost all junior high schools
require their students to wear school uniforms. While some schools have their
own attire, traditional Japanese school uniform consists of a military style
for boys and a sailor outfit for girls. The uniform policy is intended to
remove social barriers among students and get them into a working mood.
Besides, wearing school uniform helps to promote a sense of community among the
children.
The
school attendance rate in Japan is about 99.99%.

Probably all of us have played
truant at least once in our life. However, Japanese students don’t skip
classes, nor do they arrive late for school. Moreover, around 91% of pupils in
Japan reported that they never, or only in some classes, ignored what the
teacher lectured. How many other countries can boast such statistics?
A
single test decides the students’ futures.

At the end of high school,
Japanese students have to take a very important exam that decides their future.
A student can choose one college they would like to go to, and that college has
a certain score requirement. If a student doesn’t reach that score they
probably don’t go to college. The competition is very high — only 76% of school
graduates continue their education after high school. It’s no wonder that the
period of preparation for entrance to higher education institutions is
nicknamed ’examination hell.’
College
years are the best ’holidays’ in a person’s life.

Having gone through
’examination hell,’ Japanese students usually take a little break. In this
country, college is often considered the best years of a person’s life.
Sometimes, Japanese people call this period a ’vacation’ before work.
SOURCE:
BRIGHTSIDE
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.