Education through middle school is compulsory in Japan, where schools remain structured after the American model. Following elementary education at kindergartens and day-care centers, children move on to primary schools, where they complete 6 grades in preparation for junior high.
At junior high school, the focus for the next 3 years is increasingly academic. 95% of middle schools are state-funded and the 96% of their pupils opt to study further. Teachers have typically completed major courses in the subjects that they teach, and over 80% of these have completed a 4-year college degree too.
lmost 3 million Japanese students are enrolled at the nation’s colleges and universities at any one time. Most study full-time where popular undergraduate courses are social sciences (business, law, and accounting) and also engineering, humanities and education. There are 96 national universities, 39 public universities (established through local government) and almost 400 private colleges.
The top-ranking tertiary education institution in Japan is generally held to be the University of Tokyo illustrated opposite.
Although high school is neither compulsory nor free, 94% of junior high school graduates choose to enter institutions of which half are privately funded, and half are owned by the state. There they enter a general stream that after grade 9 divides into vocational and university entrance categories.
Students who choose not to enter university almost invariably undergo some form of vocational training. There, standards are high too, and success capped by internationally recognized certification.