Tuesday

Extra education people pay for

It seems possible, as a minimum, that the supplementary private education that students have in Japan is one of the reasons that Japan does well in international assessments of standards. There was an article about these schools, the Juku, in a recent edition of the Economist. It seems that there is an expert on the subject of Juku. Here is his evidently knowledgeable blog posting on the Economist article. And here is the blog generally.

Here is an excerpt from his posting:

When Kenn refers to surveys in Japan that attribute juku attendance to shortcomings in education systems (an element of the article that has been picked up by some Twitter reactions to it already), I would offer a qualification – an important qualification, I think – that it is perceptions of shortcomings in Japanese education that seem to be driving parents and students to juku. Whether such shortcomings exist in an empirically demonstrable way is much less clear, and it is always interesting to note that it is not only perceived shortcomings in public education, but in private schools as well. Private school students in Japan also attend juku in large numbers after all.

I would suggest although it may not be possible with current means to demonstrate that the public education has shortcomings, it is worth considering the possibility that the parents have some understanding of what is going on!

It seems to me that so-called supplementary – nearly always private – education is quite a big story around the world. Huge amounts are written by educational experts, many of who are in mainstream public education and they normally write about public education. But there is another world out there and parents in many places are voting for it with their wallets.

  1. In Japan, hard work and the parents are important in education. Maybe we should try these things.
  2. More people saving to pay for private education
  3. Getting around the failures of state education
  4. Private education for all
  5. Education policy: Labour/Conservative…what’s the difference?
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2 Responses to Extra education people pay for

  1. One must always be careful about what is perceived as valuable in educational attainment (by which I mean academic exams and qualifications) and what is really useful and valuable. This will vary enormously from one pupil to another. There is an interesting article in the Times Educational Supplement for 6th January this year entitled ” ‘Ordinary’ jobs hold their own against education and training”. The evidence is that, at a time when the government wants to require all 17-year-olds to stay in education or training even if they are in work (next year) young people in jobs without training tend to earn as much and stay as employable as those on vocational courses at work.

    We have entered a make-believe world in which all education has to be institutionalised – otherwise it isn’t education. This is how the educational establishment extends its influence and control by picking up on any perceived educational shortcoming and obliging us – by law – to submit ourselves to the power of professional educators – even when they themselves have been responsible for the shortcoming (whether perceived or real) in the first place.

    While typing this I’m listening to a discussion on BBC Radio 4 (Women’s Hour) in which a parent is expressing puzzlement at an OFSTED report on her child’s school in which, as a reult of measuring different things from last time, the school, which had previously been rated ‘good with outstanding features’ is now failing in spite of being judged to have improved since the last inspection.

    The whole business of measuring academic prowess in pupils AND in measuring ‘schools’ (how you can measure the ‘performance’ an inanimate institution I’ve never been able to understand) is so flawed and based on such appalling generalisations about what a particular young person ought to be able to do at a particular age – and on a particular day as to be absurd.

    That is why I advocate that formal schooling should end at the age of 14 or so – when the pupil has passed a School Leaving Certificate – a certificate of competence to deal with the adult world NOT of academic prowess, and real education begins. [See 'Wot No School: how schools impede education' by Jonathan Langdale and John Harrison].

  2. I would suggest although it may not be possible with current means to demonstrate that the public education has shortcomings, it is worth considering the possibility that the parents have some understanding of what is going on!

    This is certainly very true, but it’s also true, and in the case of the continuing boom of juku in Japan, very true, that parents are susceptible to unfounded beliefs about public policy just like everyone else. Once a widespread perception, for example of a decline in academic achievement, takes root, this perception has a much greater impact on decision-making at all levels, than any evidence supporting or contradicting this wide-spread perception might have.

    t seems to me that so-called supplementary – nearly always private – education is quite a big story around the world. Huge amounts are written by educational experts, many of who are in mainstream public education and they normally write about public education.

    I am surprised to see that you think that there are huge amounts written on this topic. Within academia at least, there is very little that’s written on this topic. My sense that this is in part because most of my fellow academics who work on schools don’t consider juku to be part of their domain and thus ignore it. Further, scholars who focus on lifelong learning don’t do research on kids, so they generally don’t look at juku, tutoring services, etc. Add to this that in places like Japan, the existence of juku is still regarded as something unfortunate by most academics and policy makers (as it is interpreted to hint at failures in conventional schools) and thus not an issue that young researchers, until recently, were eager to pick up.

    But there is another world out there and parents in many places are voting for it with their wallets.

    Absolutely, and that makes the apparent global growth of supplementary education an important phenomenon to study.

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