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Excursus

Recent Changes to Japanese Education: The Yutori Reforms
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Abstract

This chapter outlines the causes and outcomes of the yutori (relaxation) education reform as the major shift in contemporary Japanese education, specifically addressing the question whether the yutori reforms have actually changed Japan’s regular schooling system so as to reduce competition for high credentials and thus possibly reduce the demand for shadow education. Based on a literature review and the analysis of Ministry of Education (MEXT) reports, the following main findings are presented:
  1. (1)

    The yutori reforms have not lessened the pressure on students to do well in school nor have they reduced the competition in the educational race significantly.

     
  2. (2)

    Internationalization (kokusaika) of Japanese education has become the major goal of Japanese politicians and MEXT officials, even at the cost of reintroducing major competition into the system and sacrificing the idea of yutori. Based on these findings, the demand for shadow education is unlikely to be reduced as an outcome of educational reformation. Instead, new demands were created over the last two decades, which are likely to be filled by the Japanese juku-industry.

     

Keywords

Education reform Yutori education Datsu-yutori Educational competition International education Internationalization PISA shock Shadow education Juku Private tutoring Supplementary Education Social inequality Japan 

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Education, Social Science Educational ResearchUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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