Series editor(s): Emily Hannum
Subject Area: Education
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|Title:||Educational reform, academic intensity, and educational opportunity in Japan|
|Volume:||17 Editor(s): Emily Hannum, Hyunjoon Park, Yuko Goto Butler ISBN: 978-1-84950-976-3 eISBN: 978-1-84950-977-0|
|Citation:||Christopher Bjork (2010), Educational reform, academic intensity, and educational opportunity in Japan, in Emily Hannum, Hyunjoon Park, Yuko Goto Butler (ed.) Globalization, Changing Demographics, and Educational Challenges in East Asia (Research in the Sociology of Education, Volume 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.65-96|
|DOI:||10.1108/S1479-3539(2010)0000017005 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Article type:||Chapter Item|
In response to this criticism of the schools that had been building for decades, in 2002, the Japanese Ministry of Education (MOE) enacted a collection of initiatives that aimed to better equip students to face the realities of rapidly shifting social, economic, and political conditions. Ministry officials hoped that the reforms, which were labeled the “relaxed education” policies, would induce substantial changes in the way education is organized and delivered across the country. Government reports emphasized that the prevalence of problems experienced by Japanese youths necessitated reforms that could reduce the pressures experienced by their students and enhance their interest in learning.
This ethnographic study analyzes the translation and implementation of the relaxed education policies in a sample of Japanese elementary and junior high schools. The analysis provided highlights the tensions experienced by education stakeholders as they attempt to reconcile their ideals about education with more immediate concerns about what will bring students success in a competitive academic marketplace. Particular attention is devoted to the issue of equity, and how the relaxed education programs are affecting the learning opportunities and performance of different groups of students.
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