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Education in Japan

Japan hosts one of the best educational systems in the world, though South Korea, China, and northern European countries are challenging or surpassing its test scores and ratings. Centralized college entrance examinations are a major driving force behind education, as are standardization efforts by the national Ministry of Education and the wishes of concerned parents. Schools undergo training and improvement programs for specific subjects every year. Teachers rotate between schools every 3-8 years to keep school ability levels relatively consistent, with local environments and school histories often being more of a factor in performance than individual teacher skills.

Schools follow a mandatory 6 year elementary and 3 year junior high program, with 3 year high schools and 4 year universities being optional. Kindergartens are optional from age 3, although daycare centers are available for children of only a few months old.

The number of schools in Japan has been steadily dropping, corresponding to a decrease in the youth population. Teacher count, however, has remained relatively stable.

Much information is kept privately in local boards of education and schools, but for parents and teachers, there are a number of available data sources on schools and education. Here is a sample of data based on the Gunma area.

Information on Japan

Japan ranks higher than China on the Educational Index, but lower than South Korea. Its English test scores have also been dropping relative to its neighbors.

Japan does have very good math and science scores, however, and it does have some of the top universities in Asia.

For more information on Japan, please take a look at the Statistics of Japan, published by the Statistics Bureau.

Information on Gunma

Gunma ranks 10th in the National Achievement Test of 2012, which tests for Japanese and mathematics comprehension and application. It ranks slightly behind Tokyo, but ahead of its neighboring prefectures. Its score was 55.36, slightly above the national average.

Gunma ranks 35th in number of elementary schools, at just under 17 per 100,000 people, with a rank of 7 for 5.9 children per 100 people.

Gunma has the lowest educational expenses of the 47 prefectures, at 100,000 yen per household. Saitama ranks first, at 296,000 yen per household, which may be affected by the cost of private tuition.

Gunma has higher book expenses than other prefectures, but less expenditures on students and school activities as well.

Information on Ota

Asahi elementary and junior high are considered the best public schools in Ota. Generally, schools nearer to the station have better students and higher test scores, although Kuai is sometimes an exception.

Ota also hosts Gunma’s only international school, which has a program largely in English.

Schools in Ota have greater earthquake resistance than the national average, but less technology.

Schools in Ota range from over 100 (Higashi) to just less than 1,000 (Yabuzuka) as of 2014.


Information on Tatebayashi

Schools nearer the city center generally perform the best, with the 2nd elementary and 2nd junior high scoring highest in Tatebayashi.