Secondary education in Japan
Students who graduate from grade 9 may choose not to continue their studies, but more than 95% prefer to go to high school to prepare for university. However, getting admitted to a university is quite difficult due to the limited number of seats and high competition. In addition, not only the results of entrance examinations are taken into account, but also the student’s behavior during studies in high school, as well as community service. High school graduates pass the national test and go to universities.
Subjects in high school are divided into three categories: compulsory, moral education and additional disciplines. Compulsory subjects include Japanese language and literature, arithmetics, social and natural sciences, music, visual arts, arts and handicrafts, computer science, and physical education.
Most students also participate in various clubs. Usually they are divided into two large groups: sports (swimming, football, kendo, judo, tennis, etc.) and cultural (English, calligraphy, mathematics, science, etc).
In Japan, there are also Juku (Cram Schools), which help students to prepare for exams and memorize material passed in a regular school. Students can spend up to 12 hours a week in such schools, especially during the final exams and national tests before entering the university.
Education in Japan is of high quality and recognized world-wide. The QS international ranking has included five Japanese universities in the list of top 100 universities in the world. Japan is the 9th most popular destination for training. Over 140,000 international students from 170 countries around the world study here. Japan is a renowned leader in innovation and technology, providing students with unique opportunities for theoretical and practical training. The Land of the Rising Sun also attracts foreigners with its mysterious culture, amazing cuisine and unique architecture.
Advantages of studying in Japan
- International Rankings. Japanese universities occupy high spots in the lists of the top world universities. For example, THE (Times Higher Education) included two universities in the top 100: Kyoto University ranks 36th and Tokyo University 65th. Five Japanese universities made it into QS list of top hundred universities: Tokyo University (22), Kyoto University (33), Tokyo Institute of Technology (58), Osaka University (71) and Tohoku University (82).
- Japanese culture is one of the main reasons why international students choose Japanese universities. More than 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located here: Himeji Castle, Mount Fuji, which is considered the symbol of Japan, Itsukushima Shrine and many others. Japanese cuisine, hot springs, sakura blossom and holiday festivals — students from all over the world come here to plunge into the culture of Japan.
- English language programs. In order to study in Japan, it is not mandatory to learn Japanese. More than 800 educational programs of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral studies are taught entirely in English. Moreover, while studying, students can additionally study Japanese and, with a little effort, obtain sufficient language proficiency by the end of their studies.
- Center for Science and Technology. Japan is considered the most technologically and scientifically developed country. Japanese scientists have made a huge contribution to the development of the automotive industry, optics, robotics and electronics. Also, more than 50 largest world companies (Global 500) are located here, many of which are recognized leaders in their respective fields. This opens up unique study, internship and subsequent employment opportunities for students.
Disadvantages of studying in Japan
- Mandatory preparation for university. In case a student's home country has 11-year secondary education system, he or she must complete the 12th grade before entering a Japanese university. That can be an extra year of college or university in a home country or a long-term language course in Japan with the addition of Japan's general education program.
- High barrier of entry. In order to enroll in a Japanese university, all high school graduates must pass national exams (nyūgaku shiken). Of all applicants, only half successfully pass the tests. Another obstacle will be high competition — the number of seats in universities is limited, and the number of people wanting to study grows bigger every year.
- Japanese language. Despite the fact that the student can choose a program taught in English, most residents of Japan do not speak English. For everyday communication and a comfortable life outside the university, students will have to learn Japanese.
- The cost of training. The average tuition cost at a Japanese university is not high compared, for example, to British and American universities. However, studying in some other countries like France or Germany is much cheaper. Students pay about 7,162 USD annually. In addition, Japanese universities have a one-time registration fee of 1,687 USD and additional costs for medical insurance, textbooks, and equipment.
- Gender inequality. According to OECD, Japan ranks third among the countries with the largest gender pay gap: it is almost 25%. In 2018, a big scandal broke out when the largest medical university of Japan admitted evaluating male students’ entrance tests higher than females’ in order to “ensure more men become doctors”.
Guidance in the admission process
Our staff will walk you through the entire admission process: from choosing a university and preparing documents to enrollment and obtaining a visa. We are always in touch and ready to answer any questions. UniPage experts will always objectively assess your situation and suggest the most suitable university options.
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