Quality and Equity
Japanese Education in Perspective

By Nico van Oudenhoven and Rekha Wazir
December 2005
Distributed by
ISBN: 9044119036
283 pages, 6 ¼ x 9 ½"
$69.50 Paper Original

Japanese schools belong to one of the most highlighted education systems in Asia. However, researchers, policy officials and the wider public, in Japan and abroad, often hold different views about Japanese education. Some praise it for its high enrollment figures, high levels of student performance and for being egalitarian. Others criticize the approach to learning for its emphasis on a one-sided instilment of knowledge, its rigidity, and its low levels of student performance and inequality of educational opportunity. Many of both advocates and detractors, however, assume that schools in Japan perform equally well, teachers teach equally well and that students are treated similarly across schools, in particular at the compulsory education level. This study examines how well Japanese schools perform, whether all Japanese schools perform equally well and, if not, what make Japanese schools perform differently. The results show that many assumptions and observations of advocates and detractors are exaggerated and misleading.

Chapter 1. Japanese Education: Facts, Myths, and Issues
Chapter 2. Towards a Conceptual Framework
Chapter 3. Japanese Education in an International Perspective
Chapter 4. Quality and Equity at the Lower Secondary School Level
Chapter 5. Quality and Equity at the Higher Secondary School Level
Chapter 6. Meanwhile the Kaleidoscope Continues to Rotate


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