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View Full Version : Unifying elementary and middle schools in Japan into a 9-year system? (Japanese)



happytime
June 12th, 2014, 17:49
This article (http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20140612-00000013-wordleaf-pol) just popped up on Yahoo Japan.
I can't say that I understand all of it (given that I don't really know anything about government and politics in general. I'm sorry.), but it seems like during a recent Government-hosted Education Revival Meeting, a motion was made to allow local governments (local authorities? I forget the word JET uses for it) to be able to choose between the regular 6 grades elementary-3 grades junior high-3 grades high school system (6-3-3) or a 9-year unified elementary-middle school system. The unified elementary-middle school system would be split up according to the needs of the area (5 years-2 years-2 years, 5-4, or 4-3-2 -- the last one being the most common of the lot), and schools under this system could either have separate campuses for each grade, or just take the big "Gakuen" title and house all grades on the same campus.

The article lists some of the pros and cons of this new system voiced by the members of the meeting/committee:

Pros:
- Regions would be able to choose a system that better fits their needs
- Planning for Academic Improvement would become extremely natural

Cons:
- Students could grow frustrated at some point during those 9 years
- Students' social relations would become fixed/solidified
- the possibility of the undesirable rise of "Elite" entrance exam-only schools.


It probably won't have any effect on JET participants whatsoever (at least for now -- since there're only some 100 schools doing it this way for the present), but I just thought it'd be an interesting topic for discussion. I'm not good at politics/government/real stuff, so naturally, I'd like to turn the discussion over to you guys! If you guys are interested.

Do you think anything will change with this new system?
Does it even make a difference?
Do any of you ITIL JETs work at a school with this or another "different" system?

coop52
June 12th, 2014, 18:12
There are a couple of schools in my area that already do this since they don't have the student numbers to justify having two separate buildings and staff. It seems to work ok, not sure how it'd work on a larger scale though.

happytime
June 12th, 2014, 18:50
Ah! Very true! Inaka schools hadn't even crossed my mind. That would make a lot of sense.

I guess my thinking just immediately jumped to big schools. I went to a small private school for elementary and middle school (for 8 years - 1 year less than the proposed system) and it was not a particularly enjoyable experience. I mean, no one ever offered me drugs or tried to beat me up, but it messed me up socially, y'know? Being stuck with the same bunch of kids can be a blessing or a curse.

Gizmotech
June 12th, 2014, 19:51
It doesn't strike me as a bad idea. I mean I grew up in the (standard?) 8-4 split (8-5) when I did it. It makes a bit more sense to me.

mothy
June 12th, 2014, 22:40
6 years of shit or 9 years of shit and they still end up learning shit.

happytime
June 13th, 2014, 02:35
True, true.

Meh, I guess I was just getting worked up over nothing.

Antonath
June 13th, 2014, 08:42
One problem I can see is that the change from Elementary to JHS is a marked boundary, past which they are expected to be a bit more well-behaved, act a little more mature, etc. Without the change of school, I can see them still being in Elementary mindset when they hit SHS, which would be hell for the SHS teachers. JHS mindset is bad enough, the last thing we need is brats that still think kancho is funny.

BeckyJones
June 13th, 2014, 08:56
One problem I can see is that the change from Elementary to JHS is a marked boundary, past which they are expected to be a bit more well-behaved, act a little more mature, etc. Without the change of school, I can see them still being in Elementary mindset when they hit SHS, which would be hell for the SHS teachers. JHS mindset is bad enough, the last thing we need is brats that still think kancho is funny.

college students still think Kancho is funny.

webstaa
June 13th, 2014, 09:04
I don't think the cons are as bad as it sounds for most inaka schools. I went to a small K-8 private school (literally one-story, one long hallway) - mostly it was the JHS students didn't see the elementary students except for coming to school and during lunch (JHS students ate lunch first, then the elementary students ate lunch.)

Heck, in my town that would work great - there is a huge plot of land from the abandoned (shut down) high school - (JHS uses the gym for club practice). If they hadn't just finished repairing the ES and JHS buildings from the last of the 3.11 damage, then they'd probably go to that format.

Ini
June 13th, 2014, 09:07
Whose going to pay for the new textbooks? Wouldn't it just be easier to keep the current system but house them in a single campus? Plenty of places already do this.

kenkennif
June 13th, 2014, 13:38
Instead, they should combine JHS & HS and get rid of that ridiculous High School Entrance exam.

I think Elementary schools in Japan are really good the way they are mostly, they're quite a nice environment for young children - However, JHS is broken in my opinion and a large part of that is the HS Entrance shit.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
June 13th, 2014, 16:08
I work in a combined jhs/shs school. It has some benefits.

Ini
June 13th, 2014, 16:10
13 year olds in short skirts?

themightyquinn
June 13th, 2014, 16:29
I've worked in a couple of ES/JHS schools. They've all had redundant staff, separate JHS & ES koucho and kyotos, separate head teachers. The staff savings was maybe 1 or 2 general office staff.

My first year I was worried about the 6th graders making that transition, but the moment they put those JHS uniforms on they really seem to straighten out and knuckle down.

The only issue I've really seen is that a crop of really shit 7th or 3th graders has the potential to poison the atmosphere for years to come. One of my schools had a group last year, that just got more and more shit as they progressed through JHS. From ok with the occasional outburst in 7th grade to full rebellion in their last year. It wouldn't have been so bad, but they'd often go visit the 5th and 6th graders and the attitude really trickled down through the ranks.

I guess if they were a combined campus but separate buildings that that might help, but I'm of the opinion that the last thing most of Japan needs is to build even more schools. So much money could be saved if they did away with the idea that every kid needs a school in a 10 minute radius even if it means having just as many students as staff.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
June 16th, 2014, 05:25
13 year olds in short skirts?

Not one of the ones I was thinking about, surprisingly. I think the main one is probably that students are less likely to dick around at the end of jhs, because they know they're going to be stuck in the same building with the same teachers next year.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
June 17th, 2014, 13:38
Meh, I guess I was just getting worked up over nothing.

I wouldn't say that - any change in the structure of an establishment you work in, even a seemingly cosmetic one, can have interesting knock-on effects.